Rumors are beginning to swirl that Amazon is working on a Kindle TV set-top box that would compete directly with online streamers like Apple TV and Roku. The Amazon Kindle TV box would plug directly into a TV and enable streaming of Amazon's Video on Demand store as well as Instant Video - the free streaming service that comes included with an Amazon Prime subscription.
Reportedly, the Amazon Kindle set-top box is being designed in Cupertino - home of Apple - at Amazon's Lab126. If and when the Kindle TV set-top box is finally released, it will compete with dedicated media players like Apple TV, Boxee and Roku as well as multipurpose devices like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The Amazon Kindle set-top box has little chance of finding traction against the Apple TV however, and here's why.
Apple TV vs. Kindle TV: Design
Let's face it - it's hard for anybody to compete with Apple in terms of design and Amazon is no exception. While the Kindle Fire tablet has been a resounding success, it still doesn't hold a match to the iPad or iPad mini. It differentiates itself in terms of price, where it retails for less than a third of what the iPad costs. But Apple TV is already cheap - $99 - so it seems unlikely that Amazon's Kindle set-top box will be able to win in this arena.
Apple TV vs. Kindle TV: Library
Apple has more agreements in place with Hollywood studios than Amazon does. Amazon is aware of this and doesn't seem to be looking to compete along the lines of blockbuster availability. Rather, Amazon is going the Netflix route, which is to say, they're coming out with original content. We'd bet that the success of the Kindle set-top box will be determined by the quality of Amazon's original programming. If their original shows are as good as House of Cards, it'll likely do well. If not, it will likely tank. Either way, it's unlikely to outsell Apple TV.