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Amazon Developing Competitor to Apple TV Set-Top Box
The box will compete with similar offerings like the Apple TV and the Roku, though both Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's Playstation have moved into the streaming video arena in recent years.
The set-top box is being developed by Amazon’s Lab126 division, based in Cupertino (Calif.), which has toyed with building TV-connected devices for several years, the people familiar with the effort say. The project is being run by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president of emerging video products at Cisco who worked on the networking company’s various consumer video initiatives. Moynihan also spent nine years at Apple during the 1980s and 1990s. Among the other hardware engineers working at Lab126 with considerable experience making set-top boxes are Andy Goodman, formerly a top engineer at TiVo and Vudu, and Chris Coley, a former hardware architect at ReplayTV, one of Silicon Valley’s first DVR companies.Amazon has stepped up its streaming content offerings recently, producing 14 original television pilots and using customer feedback to decide which get made into full shows, as well as spending significant amounts of money to secure exclusive rights to shows like Downton Abbey and The West Wing. The tactic takes on both Netflix's subscription streaming service and Apple's iTunes content store.
Currently Amazon's Instant Video service is available on iPads and iPhones, the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii, the Sony Playstation 3, smart televisions from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio, TiVo, the Roku box, as well as a number of Blu-ray players.