Amazon (s AMZN) is building a TV set-top box, which it plans to introduce this fall, according to a BusinessWeek report. The device will heavily focus on Amazon’s Prime Instant video streaming service as well as the company’s pay-per-transaction VOD titles, and directly compete with streaming devices such as Apple (s AAPL) TV and Roku.
The device is being built by Amazon’s secretive R&D unit Lab126. Lab126 has been experimenting with streaming devices for years, according to BusinessWeek, which said it was able to confirm Amazon’s plans with three unnamed sources. Some of the folks involved in the project previously worked for TiVo, (s TIVO) Vudu (s WMT) and the DVR pioneer, ReplayTV.
The revelation of an Amazon set-top box shouldn’t come as a big surprise to GigaOM readers: We reported in September that Lab126 had hired a number of employees with a connected device background, including much of the team behind Logitech’s (s LOGI) failed Google (s GOOG) TV device, the Logitech Revue.
BusinessWeek didn’t go into details about the technology at the core of Amazon’s device, but it would make sense for the company to build it on top of Android, essentially re-purposing Google TV’s technology. That’s the same strategy Amazon used successfully for its Kindle Fire tablets, which run on a highly customized version of Android that’s been stripped of all obvious ties to Google.