Amazon, which is increasingly becoming a media company, too, is looking to extend its line of custom Android tablets with Android-based TV set top boxes, too, according to new rumors.
Bloomberg’s sources say that the box will plug into the TV, and it will give you access to Amazon’s Instant Video service, which is free for all Prime subscribers. This puts it in competition with devices such as Google TV boxes, Roku, Boxee and Apple TV. It’s not yet known if it will actually uses the same custom version of Android the Kindle Fire is using (although with an optimized UI for TV’s), but I’d say that’s a pretty safe bet.
Google hasn’t put a whole lot of effort into their Google TV platform yet, and it’s possible Amazon could show them the way, just like it did for the Nexus 7, although Google is also preparing a major upgrade for Google TV at Google I/O. However, the UI changes might not matter much if Google just lets it grow on its own, instead of setting up all kinds of partnerships, and bringing in the content and possibly even the apps and games for it, making it an OUYA alternative, too. At least then people would have more than one reason to buy a Google TV.
There’s also one important question that needs to be raised about Amazon’s upcoming set top box. Will they only allow their own services, or will they allow competing ones like Hulu and Netflix, too? I think they might, because just like with the Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon wants its own devices only as an insurance policy, but it will keep putting its services on everything, and it will probably make other apps and services available on the set top box, too.
Amazon has also started producing its own shows lately, much like Netflix, so it seems pretty serious about this entertainment market. All these “new” media disruptors, could start replacing the old content providers, and provide better content at much better prices, now and in the future, which is always a good thing for us consumers.