Amazon is planning an Apple TV-style smart TV box that will put its on-demand services on any TV screen.
In the UK, that would mean Lovefilm, which takes the role played by Amazon Instant Video and Video On Demand in the USA.
According to Business Week, Kindle TV – as the product is tipped to be named – will launch this autumn in America, although there’s no news on when it will cross the Atlantic.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to LovefilmThe Kindle TV research team includes former TiVo engineer Andy Goodman, and Chris Coley, who worked at pioneering network digital TV recorder Replay TV before it was destroyed by legal challenges from the TV industry.
Kindle will probably be Android-based, like Kindle Fire, making it easy for Amazon to launch its own app store, and potentially allow space for competing on demand services.
Lovefilm is raising its profile as part of the Amazon Originals worldwide push into original productions, with pilots for 11 comedy and children’s TV shows currently airing free for all users, with the most successful to become full series on the paid service.
The question is whether Lovefilm needs its own hardware platform: it’s widely available on smart TVs and games consoles, and has a pay-per-view channel on TalkTalk TV, part the UK’s nascent YouView smart TV service.
YouView, smart TVs and games consoles all have an important primary role: they deliver broadcast TV or games to users, and open the door into homes for on-demand video providers.
Standalone smart TV devices have yet to establish themselves in the UK: Google TV is widely considered a bust, while Apple TV, Roku and Boxee remain niche devices with loyal users but little mainstream appeal.