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Amazon shows Apple TV competitor to developers, release imminent - report

post #1 of 52
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Launch preparations for Amazon's long-awaited entry into the streaming set-top box market are nearly complete, as the e-commerce giant is said to have begun distributing preproduction hardware to select developers ahead of an early April debut to take on the Apple TV, a new report says.

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The streamer -- under development for at least a year -- will likely be bundled with access to the company's Prime streaming library, according to The Wall Street Journal. Brick and mortar retailers including Staples and Best Buy have reportedly signed on to carry the device beginning next month, though pricing is still undecided.

The Android-powered set-top box is said to bear a variation of Amazon's signature "Fire" branding, and the fact that it has made its way into developers' hands could mean that Amazon plans to give users access to a third-party App Store.

An April rollout could put Amazon's entry on a collision course with the next-generation Apple TV, which some believe might be introduced around the same time. With both products expected to offer similar functionality, content -- an area in which the companies have taken diverging tacks -- may be a key differentiator.

Seattle, Wash.-based Amazon has chosen to follow the lead of video streaming rival Netflix and bankroll exclusive original content, though Amazon's efforts have achieved more modest success. The internet retailer is also rumored to be in negotiations for a streaming music service similar to Spotify that would round out Amazon's media offerings.

Conversely, Apple elected to partner with content owners and is thought to have been in negotiations with cable giant Time Warner in an effort to bring live television content to the next-generation Apple TV, though it is unknown how those negotiations may have been affected by Time Warner's recently-announced merger with Comcast. Apple's iTunes Radio, meanwhile, is now the third most popular streaming music service on the internet just six months after its debut.
post #2 of 52
Oh, sure... why not. Everyone's making one.

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post #3 of 52

Dang, the expected form-factor looks so familiar. . .

There's also claims one of the biggest focuses will be streamed gaming. That could be a biggie.
Edited by Gatorguy - 3/18/14 at 8:46am
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post #4 of 52

What's sad is that if Apple had simply released a channel store years ago they'd own this market right now, no one would be able to touch them. But for some reason they seem to be pursuing the content rights model as opposed to sticking with their traditional high markup hardware model.

 

Chuck in some extra memory, double the price, enable the app store and sit back as Billions of Dollars of additional revenue falls your way.

 

Why on earth has Apple not done this yet? It really blows my mind!

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post #5 of 52

If this has Amazon Prime Video and Netflix from the get go and will offer a channel store I'll flog my ATV 3 and jump ship straight away.

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post #6 of 52
Just rebrand the Roku and be done with it, Amazon.

I predict Amazon will be manufacturing electric cars by 2025. It's called Jeff Bezos' secret fear of missing out.

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post #7 of 52

Amazon prime video service will be a big draw, I use it now and its a pretty good competitor to netflix. I wish apple would do a subscription service like this. Also I wonder if amazon's music service will be like iTunes radio/Pandora or more like Spotify/beats. If its like spotify/beats and comes with amazon prime then I'm canceling my Beats subscription.

Again, i'd go with apple if they offered such a service, but so far it does not look like they will.

The Streaming gaming part sounds like it will be onlive like (PC games streamed from the cloud) Depending on the games this could be huge (amazon obviously has the backend know how to do this with AWS) haven't gamed on my PC in a long time and don't plan on upgrading my Xbox 360 any time soon so I think this could be another avenue, again depends on the game support

post #8 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

There's also claims one of the biggest focuses will be streamed gaming. That could be a biggie.

Yeah I can't hardly wait to suffer high ping times in single player games. 1wink.gif

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post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by peteo View Post
 

Amazon prime video service will be a big draw, I use it now and its a pretty good competitor to netflix. I wish apple would do a subscription service like this. Also I wonder if amazon's music service will be like iTunes radio/Pandora or more like Spotify/beats. If its like spotify/beats and comes with amazon prime then I'm canceling my Beats subscription.

Again, i'd go with apple if they offered such a service, but so far it does not look like they will.

The Streaming gaming part sounds like it will be onlive like (PC games streamed from the cloud) Depending on the games this could be huge (amazon obviously has the backend know how to do this with AWS) haven't gamed on my PC in a long time and don't plan on upgrading my Xbox 360 any time soon so I think this could be another avenue, again depends on the game support

I am not sure that Amazon is going to be particularly successful at this, but I agree with you that the streaming/subscription model is something that Apple should (and could) have adopted ages ago.

 

Additionally, they could be working harder and faster to get international rights.

 

Their tardiness on both fronts is both disappointing and surprising.

post #10 of 52
Apple should have done this over a yr ago. They could have dominated the market. Now it will be more difficult. They will be late to the game.
post #11 of 52
Apple should have done this over a yr ago. They could have dominated the market. Now it will be more difficult. They will be late to the game.
post #12 of 52

Time for Bilderberger Bezos to sic the DoJ on Apple . . . again!

post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post
 

What's sad is that if Apple had simply released a channel store years ago they'd own this market right now, no one would be able to touch them. But for some reason they seem to be pursuing the content rights model as opposed to sticking with their traditional high markup hardware model.

 

Chuck in some extra memory, double the price, enable the app store and sit back as Billions of Dollars of additional revenue falls your way.

 

Why on earth has Apple not done this yet? It really blows my mind!

 

You seem to ignore the fact that they would need agreement from the owners of the channels. Content providers are very wary of letting Apple control the industry, even if it would be a net benefit to them.

post #14 of 52
Originally Posted by schlack View Post
Apple should have done this over a yr ago. They could have dominated the market. Now it will be more difficult. They will be late to the game.

 

They did it in 2007. Enough with the FUD.

 

Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
You seem to ignore the fact that they would need agreement from the owners of the channels. Content providers are very wary of letting Apple control the industry, even if it would be a net benefit to them.

 

Why ARE people such idiots, anyway?

 

“Oh, no! Apple is going to completely destroy television as we know it! No one will be using cable or satellite when they’re done! How will we get money?”
*six months later*
“Oh, wait, we get money from Apple. More, in fact, than before…”

post #15 of 52
Good luck Amazon, hopefully this will put a little pressure on Apple to evolve the current AppleTV.
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post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post
 

What's sad is that if Apple had simply released a channel store years ago they'd own this market right now, no one would be able to touch them. But for some reason they seem to be pursuing the content rights model as opposed to sticking with their traditional high markup hardware model.

 

Chuck in some extra memory, double the price, enable the app store and sit back as Billions of Dollars of additional revenue falls your way.

 

Why on earth has Apple not done this yet? It really blows my mind!

 

Apple can't control that. It's up to the channel providers to allow a standalone subscription model. Problem is cable companies are basically in bed with the content providers so I highly doubt we will see anything like that from anyone in the near future. Providers like HBO are hesitant to offer a subscription service online because it will undercut their cable subscription business. Online streaming would cost less compared to what you would pay to subscribe to HBO with a cable/satellite company. But imagine if Apple somehow was able to have exclusive rights to HBO streaming without users being current subscribers. That would be huge for both HBO and Apple. 

post #17 of 52

So how long after Amazon releases whatever they're going to release before they sue Apple for attempting to corner the market on streaming content?

post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Dang, the expected form-factor looks so familiar. . .

There's also claims one of the biggest focuses will be streamed gaming. That could be a biggie.

Is that really how it looks?

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post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
 

 

You seem to ignore the fact that they would need agreement from the owners of the channels. Content providers are very wary of letting Apple control the industry, even if it would be a net benefit to them.

If Apple was to release a Channel Store it would be up to the content providers to explain to the clamoring hoard why it is that they are not offering their content onto the ATV. Just as with the iOS ecosystem I personally do not believe that it would not take long for their content to appear.

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post #20 of 52
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Originally Posted by Boltsfan17 View Post
 

 

Apple can't control that. It's up to the channel providers to allow a standalone subscription model. Problem is cable companies are basically in bed with the content providers so I highly doubt we will see anything like that from anyone in the near future. 

 

It's not only that but you also have cable companies (comcast) owning content providers (NBC Universal)

post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
 

 

Content providers are very wary of letting Apple control the industry, even if it would be a net benefit to them.

 

 

Yep, look at ebooks. 

post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by razorpit View Post

Good luck Amazon, hopefully this will put a little pressure on Apple to evolve the current AppleTV.
Huh? There have been numerous reports this year that Apple does have a big update planned for Apple TV. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple announces it at WWDC.
post #23 of 52
I wondered why Amazon Instant Video was not available on Apple TV, maybe an Apple decision, so they are rolling their own instead?
post #24 of 52

So much for all the wonderful products Tim Cook said Apple would be releasing this year. Here we are with Spring around the corner and… nothing so far. No iPhone, no iPad, no iWatch, no Mac, no iTV, no iPod, no nothing.

post #25 of 52
Remember that AppleTV is a hobby for Apple. It's not a way for them to test the water for a potential "all in" investment. They know that everyone and his brother is going to blindly follow their lead regardless of the potential profitability of the market so they carefully protect the investments that are most important to them. Apple TV is not one of those. It fills an incremental niche that makes iTunes customers happier with their investments in the Apple ecosystem but it's not a game changer. The fact that Amazon and Google are jumping in whole hog is unsurprising because they can't seem to come up with any game changing products or services of their own, so copying Apple's hobby projects are better than what they can do on their own. It's kind of sad when you think about the tens of thousands of spectacular minds that those companies have in house - yet this is all they seem able to do? Me too innovation?

Also, don't judge Apple's motivations based on the value systems of other companies. They are not out for world domination or to bury their competitors who play fair. They highly value their competitors because their competitors (the ones who play fair) provide a means to benchmark the value of Apple products and services that are built to Apple's standards. So far this strategy of playing by their own set of rules seems to be paying off fairly well. Not that Apple doesn't have its share of swing & miss products, like Ping, but in areas where they go "all in" they seem to do well. Apple TV in its current form is not an "all in" effort by Apple.
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
 

So much for all the wonderful products Tim Cook said Apple would be releasing this year. Here we are with Spring around the corner and… nothing so far. No iPhone, no iPad, no iWatch, no Mac, no iTV, no iPod, no nothing.


Well it's a good thing that there's still three more seasons to go in the year

post #27 of 52

Apple might do well to surprise announce the 4th generation Apple TV the day before Amazon's announcement.

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post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by schlack View Post

Apple should have done this over a yr ago. They could have dominated the market. Now it will be more difficult. They will be late to the game.

Are you so sure?
Being first didn't stop Andy "I guess we're not gonna ship that phone" Rubin's Android from steamrollering over the iPhone--at least if you believe The official Fandroid Version of the Apple-Is-Losing story.

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post #29 of 52

Amazon is the only player that can beat Apple at Apple's Game.  Because they are all about the customer experience.

This is to be expected.   As movie theaters die, and bandwidth becomes commodity, content on demand will be a battle between Apple, Cable, and Amazon.

 

Netflix is a one trick pony competing with the networks.  Apple and Amazon are competing against all distribution/payment networks.

post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

Amazon is the only player that can beat Apple at Apple's Game.  Because they are all about the customer experience.
This is to be expected.   As movie theaters die, and bandwidth becomes commodity, content on demand will be a battle between Apple, Cable, and Amazon.

Netflix is a one trick pony competing with the networks.  Apple and Amazon are competing against all distribution/payment networks.

It's not a 2 or 3 horse race, yet. There's also PSN, Xbox Live content, Redbox, and Google Play.

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post #31 of 52

I have an Amazon Prime account and Netflix. Amazon Prime needs work. The software is not sophisticated enough to determine one's internet connection and adjust the video quality accordingly, which Netflix excels at. Amazon is also trying its hand at original programming. I watched one of the shows, I think called Bosch. It was pretty good, but unlike Netflix's very good original content I have been waiting weeks for the next episode. Netflix has it right, release everything at once. I also am on the $49 dollar Amazon plan, I would not pay more when the selection on Netflix with a few exceptions is better. Prime shipping is not a big draw for me, when Amazon has other free shipping options. 

 

With all that said, I also do not understand why people care terribly about the lack of an Amazon app on the Apple TV. It would be nice, but it is not a deal breaker for me. Just download the Amazon app to one's iPhone or iPad and stream it via airplay. I do this, and it works fine. Sure, I have to pick up my other iDevice, but it still works great. 

post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


It's not a 2 or 3 horse race, yet. There's also PSN, Xbox Live content, Redbox, and Google Play.

 

I just canceled my X-Box live membership. I can't stand how Microsoft wants me to pay a yearly fee to watch content from services like Netflix. Sure, I get multiplayer gaming is included, but that should be its own fee. I am curious to know how Redbox's streaming service compares with Netflix. I hate Verizon, so I am hesitant to give it a try. 

post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


Are you so sure?
Being first didn't stop Andy "I guess we're not gonna ship that phone" Rubin's Android from steamrollering over the iPhone--at least if you believe The official Fandroid Version of the Apple-Is-Losing story.

 

It also didn't stop Apple from releasing its own phone when there were plenty of other options. The strength of Apple's TV in my view is the tight integration with Apple's other products. Air play is a huge feature that works extremely well with Apple's other products. Often times when my girlfriend and I are competing for high scores on games like Subway surfer we will stream the games to the TV, lots of fun. 

post #34 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

I wondered why Amazon Instant Video was not available on Apple TV, maybe an Apple decision, so they are rolling their own instead?

I assume there's no Amazon channel on AppleTV because they are direct competitors to the iTunes store in pay per view stuff.

 

I just Airplay Amazon Prime from my iPad or iPhone. I have Prime and Netflix because they don't compete so much as compliment one another.

post #35 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post
 

 

I just canceled my X-Box live membership. I can't stand how Microsoft wants me to pay a yearly fee to watch content from services like Netflix. Sure, I get multiplayer gaming is included, but that should be its own fee. I am curious to know how Redbox's streaming service compares with Netflix. I hate Verizon, so I am hesitant to give it a try. 

Precisely why I went a a Playstation. Ridiculous to pay a yearly fee just to use an app like Netflix that has nothing to do with gaming. 

post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Dang, the expected form-factor looks so familiar. . .

There's also claims one of the biggest focuses will be streamed gaming. That could be a biggie.

Is that really how it looks?

Where does it get power? I assume that plugs into the HDMI. Is there a cable that plugs into the USB for power?

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post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Where does it get power? I assume that plugs into the HDMI. Is there a cable that plugs into the USB for power?

If it's like the Chromecast it looks like it can get power over HDMI (which seems to be rare) or with a micro-USB-to-USB-A cable (likely provided) which plugs into the back, opposite end from the HDMI connector.

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post #38 of 52
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
Where does it get power?

 

Bezos sacrificed half a dozen virgins last week to store some up. He should invest in a more efficient ritual. A good virgin should be able to power the entire first run of these devices.

post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If it's like the Chromecast it looks like it can get power over HDMI (which seems to be rare) or there is a small port on the device for a power-port-to-USB cable.

Sorry, earlier I missed your question about the image I linked. MStone mentioned it too. No, the image simply represents what the Amazon TV form is expected to be based on "those in the know".
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post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Sorry, earlier I missed your question about the image I linked. MStone mentioned it too. No, the image simply represents what the Amazon TV form is expected to be based on "those in the know".

So it's expected to be a rebranded Chromecast with Amazon's SW? Not a bad way to go since Chromecast works great but I would have expected Amazon to do their own thing, not pull a MS/Creative Zen/Zune.

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