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Report: Amazon preps streaming set-top box for holiday 2013 release

According to a report within the Wall Street Journal recently, Amazon is currently preparing to launch a set-top media streamer before the end of the year similar to devices like the Roku 3 and Apple TV. Previously reported as a device limited only to playing Amazon content, new details indicate that it will also include other competing video and music applications. While these applications haven’t been specifically named, it’s likely that applications that appear on the Kindle Fire tablets, such at Netflix and Hulu Plus, will also appear on the streaming set-top box.

With the code name “Cinnamon,” Amazon has given media application developers a deadline of mid-October to submit apps that would work on the set-top box. Amazon representatives have also been speaking with cable television providers in order to provide access to applications similar to software like HBO GO. It’s possible that the set-top box would have interactivity with Amazon’s line of Kindle tablets, potentially acting as a second screen remote control or allowing users to stream content to the set-top box using technology similar to Apple’s AirPlay or Google’s Chromecast.

Up to this point, Amazon has relied on offering access to Amazon Instant Video through an application distributed on third party set-top boxes, video game consoles and smart televisions. With a platform dedicated to Amazon content, the retail giant could offer a more attractive platform to Amazon Prime customers. Currently, Amazon Prime customers can access a library of content for free similar to Netflix’s streaming library. A dedicated set-top box would also provide a new platform to distribute original Amazon programming. 

While an Amazon spokesperson “declined to comment” on the release of the set-top box, people familiar with the project point to a late 2013 release in time for the holiday shopping season. There’s no price attached to the device at this time, but it’s likely that it would fall in the $50 to $100 range based on the pricing of competing products.

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