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Summary:

Amazon’s TV streamer will have apps for Netflix and Hulu Plus, and will possibly support DIAL, but don’t hold your breath for a YouTube app.

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Amazon’s Roku competitor, which could be unveiled any day now, won’t just peddle the company’s own video streaming service: The device will also have apps for direct competitors including Netflix and Hulu Plus on board, according to multiple sources.

Amazon originally intended to launch its TV box in time for last year’s holiday season, but the launch got held up for unknown reasons. At the time, the New York Times reported that Amazon intended to ship the device with Netflix.

I’ve now confirmed that this will indeed be the case, and that Hulu Plus will be available through the device as well. However, some mid-sized, more niche-focused video publishers told me that they haven’t been asked to join. Netflix wasn’t available for comment on the subject, and Hulu and Amazon didn’t reply requests for comment.

People in the know have told me that the device will ship with a traditional remote control. But Amazon recently also joined the ranks of companies registered to use the DIAL multiscreen protocol, which makes it likely that users will also be able to launch streams from services like Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix straight from their phones.

Amazon has been working on a set-top box for a couple of years now, with most of the actual development happening at the company’s secretive Lab126 R&D unit. Lab126 hired a number of people who previously worked on Logitech’s failed Google TV companion box.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon is also using Android as the foundation for its TV streamer. But just like with its Kindle Fire tablet, the TV will also be based on a fork of Android. This makes it unlikely that the device will have a YouTube app.

  1. I’m also seeing signs of a physical remote and have heard an Amazon Instant/Prime update is coming to TiVo – which could correlate that DIAL angle. By the by, the guy behind the GlideTV HTPC remote was working for Labs126 for a time…

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    1. Dave, if the TiVo rumors are true (after all these years) I will be one happy girl!

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  2. If we can put apps like Time Warner TV and Slingbox on here, sign me up for two.

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  3. Streamers are the new rage and are becoming more and more available, with a huge choice the price is also dropping dramatically with competition, which is great news for consumers who want to have this.

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  4. I ‘almost’ don’t get the point to this really. Given that going forward the majority of tv’s sold will likely have Amazon Instant embedded in their apps, let alone all games consoles, blu-ray players and most streaming boxes. Why bother with a dedicated box at all..

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    1. WormholeXtreme Thursday, March 13, 2014

      Because many of the Amazon apps on those devices are crap.

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    2. spamthejabroni Thursday, March 13, 2014

      The more choices will likely mean more people cut the cord and how could that be bad for anyone except Comcast and frankly, i will always have feet they are welcome to grovel at. Verizon as well.

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    3. Here is why it is BETTER to have a set top media box…..

      Save money.
      It is cheaper to buy a high end 1080 TV WITHOUT the features that make it “Smart”

      If you buy a “Smart TV” new apps/services will be available but your
      “Smart TV” probably won’t be able to get the latest!

      Smart streaming media boxes are $100.00 or less
      Your TV will last and you can update your media box or replace it.

      Buy the better tv (Without choosing a smart tv) – More lasting bang for your buck
      Buy a good set top box, Not some “Stick”. Make sure it is loaded and has the
      high end 1080 that your TV does

      Done!

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  5. As a long time streamer user I’m happy to see more user friendly devices coming out.

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  6. Here’s where Amazon is going to rake it in: They will likely offer a means of buying any advertised product in commercials with just the push of a button.

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  7. Gotten a chance to play with this device. It’s actually pretty cool. Aesthetically kind of similar to the xbox layout – complete with voice commands. I believe I did actually see a YouTube app. It also has games and the option of using a joystick-style remote. I’ll be interested to see what the price point is – if it’s in the same realm as Roku or lower, it could have a really big impact.

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