SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, plans to release a television set-top box that would stream video over the Internet into customers’ homes, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The device, due later this year, will connect to televisions, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about it. It will also provide access to Amazon’s expanding video services, which include the Amazon Video on Demand store.
Amazon would move into closer competition with Apple, which sells its own set-top box called Apple TV. The device would also compete with products from Roku and Boxee, as well as gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony that deliver video programming. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is pushing the company into a broadening array of hardware, including tablets, electronic readers and a planned smartphone.
“It would certainly make some sense,” said Jason Krikorian, a general partner at venture-capital firm DCM, and the former co-founder of Sling Media, who does not have knowledge of Amazon’s plans. “They have a ton of content (and) an existing billing relationship with millions of users.”