Kindle TV? An Amazon set-top box may debut in time for the holidays

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Amazon is planning to release its own set-top box for the holiday season, according to a Wall Street Journal report that cites unnamed sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Rumors of an Amazon-branded set-top box first popped up back in April. And like the previous reports, the set-top box would stream digital media to your television and directly compete with Roku, Apple TV, and a variety of Google TV-enabled devices. The rumored Amazon box should be unveiled soon, and go on sale in time for the holiday season, according to WSJ’s sources.

If true, an Amazon-branded set-top box would make a lot of sense for the company. A set-top box would allow Amazon to help grow the number of people paying for its Prime Instant Video service, which offers a large library of free video content and competes with Netflix. A set-top box would also help Amazon sell more video purchases/rentals. And probably most importantly, a set-top box would allow Amazon to keep its happy Kindle Fire customers from using devices made by rivals Apple and Google — both of which are also competing for digital video sales, too.

It’s likely that an Amazon set-top box would also follow much of the same strategy the company used for its Kindle Fire tablets — meaning, it will sell the device at a low price (possibly even at cost) and make money solely on digital media sales. Amazon also uses its Kindle devices — to a lesser degree — to deliver advertising to its customers. An Amazon set-top box would obviously be better suited for advertising, (specifically video ads).

But for now, we’ll have to wait to see if Santa Bezos will debut a set-top box to accompany the new line of Kindle Fire tablets announced last week.

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