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Amazon thinks outside the box for streaming service, plans Chromecast-like dongle

The set-top box saga just got a bit juicier. Or is it really a dongle saga now? 

According to a report by TechCrunch, Amazon (like Google and Roku before it) is allegedly pursuing the dongle/flash drive-style form factor for what was, until now, thought to be a forthcoming set-top box. Also explored in TechCrunch’s report (which cites anonymous sources “familiar with the device”) is the possibility of full PC/Mac game-streaming support coming standard on the device, a blurb that should connect some dots for those following the Amazon set-top box thread closely — last week the alleged photo of a game controller that Amazon might be planning to bundle in with its box/dongle began surfacing on the Web.

Like Steam and other services such as the lesser-known Desura, Amazon already sells digital download copies of PC and Mac game titles directly from its site, so it’s not too much of a stretch to theorize that Amazon might be trying to compete for more than just living room dominance — the colossal company could be aiming at the desktop realm, too.

According to one of TechCrunch’s unnamed sources, the streaming games would likely resemble something along the lines of OnLive (which botched its entry into the game-streaming game), with the titles streaming via Amazon’s services at 30 frames per second — a feat not out of reach as Amazon already has massive server farms that sit behind the scenes of its cloud and digital content services.

Looking closely at all of the different elements that Amazon has simmering in its cauldron, one can begin to see a Google-esque kind of all-encompassing service stretching across a variety of platforms and media: Amazon MP3 (and its potential blending into the Prime service), films and shows via Amazon Instant Video (and its exclusive original content), eBooks and the Kindle Fire, and now a new TV dongle (with third-party app compatibility), plus PC and console gaming — not to mention the tiered access Amazon could implement through Prime membership to generate even more cash.

If executed correctly, Amazon could be giving more than just Google and Netflix a run for their money. 

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