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Amazon’s set-top Apple TV competitor looks primed for an April 2 launch

This year has been a busy one for Amazon, so far. The media giant has already unveiled more original content for its Amazon Instant Video service, and teased at a Chromecast-esque dongle in the works. Today, the company announced an invitation to an “Update” on its video business set for April 2nd, which many predict will offer the unveiling of its answer to the Apple TV and Roku devices — Amazon’s very own set-top box.

Amazon invite

The device has been highly anticipated since Amazon first mentioned news of its development just over a year ago. And in less than a week, the world may finally be able see what the company has spent all this time developing.

The set-top box, initially slated for release this month, is positioned to compete directly with Roku, Google’s Chromecast dongle, and Apple TV, which secured its spot in the living room streaming hierarchy with $1 billion in revenue last year.

Similar to Roku’s game plan, revealed earlier this month, Amazon appears to have a chosen a dual-device strategy for taking on its rivals — rather than betting on either the dongle or the bulkier set-top box, the company chose to develop both, and allow its customers to choose their preferred streaming method. Google and Apple acolytes currently have only one choice.

Amazon has indicated that its box will have third-party app compatibility for services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, possibly nabbing more than just its own Amazon Instant Video users. The box will likely come with its own remote control, but Amazon could also just let users launch apps from mobile devices by including some form of send-to-screen technology, effectively making any tablet or smartphone a potential remote.

Many of these questions won’t have definitive answers until (we hope) April 2 — a short wait considering the preceding year’s rumors and pushed back release dates. Stay tuned as we cover the press release in detail next week.