Amazon is gearing up to launch a new set-top box that hopes to compete with the Apple TV and other video streaming devices this holiday, The Wall Street Journal reports. It’s understood the device is small and resembles a Roku, and it will run apps and provide content from a variety of sources, including Amazon’s own Prime service.
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At an event in Japan today, Sony unveiled the new PS Vita TV, a tiny set-top box that will sell for around $95 and look to compete with devices like the Apple TV. Not only will it let you stream content from services like Hulu and Sony’s own Video Unlimited service, but if you connect a DualShock 3 controller, it will also allow you to play PSP and PS Vita games on your TV.
Apple has reduced the price of the refurbished Apple TV to $75. That’s $10 cheaper than its original price tag, and $24 cheaper than a brand new model. It’s believed the drop may have been made in response to the Google Chromecast, which has been selling fast since it went on sale last week for just $35.
Speaking of Microsoft, they’re the latest company said to be eyeing the living room, designing a new set-top box to go head-to-head with the Apple TV. But Microsoft might have an ace up their sleeves.
Amazon is reportedly ready to take on the likes of the Apple TV and Roku with a set-top box of its own, presumably some sort of Kindle Box.
Google is gearing up to offload Motorola’s set-top box business as it looks to concentrate its efforts on competing with Apple’s iPhone. The company has been trying to sell Motorola Home Business, which supplies set-top boxes to cable television providers, for around $2 billion, and it has reportedly received multiple offers already. Once it’s gone, Google will focus on high-end smartphones.
In an investor note today, Barclays investment analyst Ben Reitzes comes down squarely on the side of many others who believe a set top box is the way Apple has “cracked” the TV scene, rather than with an integrated television set created by Apple hardware designers. His opinion is that Apple is more likely to create a TV product that focuses on the software and not the hardware.
“We believe consumers would welcome such a product from Apple,” wrote Rietzes, “as well given that many younger customers seem to be watching content on demand on smaller screens (iPads, laptops) in private places – and only Apple seems to be the company that can redirect that content back to the big screen.”
Following the launch of the iTunes Store in an additional twelve Asian countries earlier today, Apple has also begun selling the Apple TV in a number of these territories, too. The set-top box is now available in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Saving up for that widely-rumored Apple television set? Well, according to one analyst, you have plenty of time. J.P. Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz issued a note to investors this week in which he states there is no indication Apple’s TV will make its debut during 2012, and that the current economic climate just isn’t suitable.
Moskowitz believes we’ll be waiting until 2014 instead, but suggests we could see an exciting new Apple TV set-top box before then.
When Apple first debuted the new 1080p Apple TV in March, they said they’d brought their set-top box up to spec with the rest of the industry by including what they called a “single-core variant” of the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S’s A5 processor.
But how is it an A5 processor if only has one core? The answer is that technically, the A5 inside the Apple TV is still a dual-core chip, but one of them’s a dud.