Amazon expected to debut video device

March 27, 2014 

The Seattle Times

=Amazon.com Inc. invited journalists Thursday to a news conference in New York next week that is widely speculated to be the debut of a new set-top box from the online retail giant.The company said the gathering, at Milk Studios in Manhattan on Wednesday, will be "an update on our video business," according to the invitation. Peter Larsen, a vice president in Amazon's Kindle division, will host the event.

Rumors began circulating last year that Amazon was readying a streaming media device that would connect to televisions and compete with gadgets such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku. Most recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Amazon device would hit store shelves in early April.

The device would likely carry many of the same streaming media applications as its rivals, including Netflix, Hulu and Pandora. But it will give Amazon, whose Amazon Prime Instant Video service is on many of those competing gadgets, the ability to control how its services are offered without having to rely entirely on key rivals.

What's more, Amazon is said to be developing a video gaming business, something that could couple well with a set-top box. The device would allow Amazon to generate revenue from game sales. And it could collect valuable information, to be used in Amazon's burgeoning advertising business, about the way its customers watch video, as well as give Amazon another tool to market to those consumers.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment about the media gathering.

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