Light Reading

Amazon Gets on the Stick Too

Mari Silbey
3/18/2014
50%
50%

The Amazon set-top that Bloomberg said would launch last fall is now reportedly in the queue for next month. And it's no longer a set-top, but a streaming stick. (See Amazon Set-Top Slated for Fall.)

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) will sell the new Android-based gadget through its website and through retailers, including Staples and Best Buy. Meanwhile, Techcrunch is reporting that the device will be an HDMI adapter like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Chromecast and the latest offering from Roku Inc. (See Roku Sticks It to Google.)

Unlike its competitors, the Amazon streamer is said to be a source for gaming as well as video. The details aren't yet confirmed, but it's possible that the Amazon stick will stream existing PC titles in addition to offering access to Android games. Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny recently found evidence of an Amazon Bluetooth gaming controller that could pair nicely with a game-oriented HDMI stick.

On the video side, Amazon is likely to promote its own Instant Video offering, but multiple outlets also suggest the company's new retail gadget will ship with Netflix and Hulu Plus support. Netflix service, at the very least, should now be considered table stakes in the retail streaming market.

Even as more big brands jump on the streaming stick bandwagon, it could be a while before US cable operators follow suit. Although the cable companies like the idea of deploying cheaper hardware, vendors are still working out the kinks to make sure that an HDMI adapter could support a full premium television service.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) apparently has fewer misgivings. Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said earlier this month that the set-top it acquired through the acquisition of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s OnCue assets is "a little bit bigger than my thumb." However, it's not clear if Verizon would offer the OnCue device with a fully-fledged FiOS TV service, or if it would use the hardware to market a lighter pay-TV package. (See Can Cable Stick One on Chromecast?.)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(15)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 5:29:37 PM
Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
Mari, interesting questions.

I vote that Verizon will go with the pay-lite and offer a package to attract the markets they don't already dominate.

I can imageine that Amazon has more choices in that they can play to their markets and their partnerships, including special packages with Netflix.  They may be able to put together a very competitive offering.

What role do you see for set-boxes in the future?
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/18/2014 | 6:13:50 PM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
I wonder what, if anything, will differentiate the Amazon product from Chromecast, Roku, and Apple TV. Seems like the marketplace is getting crowded with extremely similar products. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 6:19:40 PM
Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
@FakeMitchWagner, agreed.  In the listing you provided I think Apple will be hard to beat. 

I think, however, that Amazon may again come up with an "angle", like with an attractive streaming arrangement with their partners, that could be competitive.  Otherwise, they are going to have an uphill swim - as you point out, it is getting crowded.
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/18/2014 | 8:00:36 PM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
That sounds tough (an 'angle').

I have Netflix, Amazon, & Hulu. After a while, it all starts to look & feel the same. I mean we notice from time to time that one service has something another doesn't content-wise, but that's the only real differentiator.

So unless Amazon can get some incredible conten package that the others don't already have, it seems like just another play in an already played-out market.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 8:05:34 PM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
@Pcharles09 Is that why you keep all 3, because they all offer somewhat different content? 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/18/2014 | 8:31:46 PM
Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
@pcharles09 - good assessment.  They are entering a "crowded field".  It will be up to them to provide something truly unique.  I don't think anyone else could do it and it will be questionable if they can - but if anyone can, I believe they have the network to pull something together that becomes viable.  Another "vanilla" version won't cut it.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
3/19/2014 | 8:34:36 AM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
The story suggests there might be some differentiation here in the Amazon stick if it offers gaming. Otherwise, all things being equal, that either leaves us with price deciding a winner, or the notion that many sticks will exist and customers will go with the provider with whom they already have the strongest relationship.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 8:56:48 AM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
@DHagar, yes, we need chocolate! Or at least chocolate chip!
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 1:01:14 PM
Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
DOShea, Gaming would be an interesting mix.  That also brings up the question of whether or not Amazon has a target market (i.e., demographics)? 

 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 1:04:39 PM
Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
@Ariella, there you go!  Clearly something that provides what consumers want would be an edge.  Making the consumer king could go a long way towards Chocolate Chip!
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Verizon Hums a Driving Tune
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/26/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
New Apple TV: More $$, Not Content – Report
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/31/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 16, 2015
Wi-Fi First or Second?
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
Cats with Phones
Tastes Like Fish Click Here
Please hold while I lick the phone.