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  | 
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First        ADD A COMMENT
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? 
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.
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/24/2014 | 9:21:13 PM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
I guess so. It's probably the fear that once I cancel one of them, they'll magically decide to offer a show I like.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/24/2014 | 9:38:24 PM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
@pcharles09, ah, the fear of missing out. 
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/27/2014 | 10:38:32 PM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
It's sad but it's true. They should write more about this in books that we're forced to read when we're young. So we understand the dynamic better.
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.
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)? 

 
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 1:48:22 PM
Re: Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
Amazon's entry into the stick wars could be a game changer, pun intended. Gaming is a large industry and if enough of the younger crowd buys into the Amazon world it may just know Google's Chromecast down a step or two. Anyone entering that field now has to come with something unique or cool to outstep Google.
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!
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/19/2014 | 2:18:48 PM
Amazon Gets on the Stick Too
@kq4ym, interesting thought.  I am almost thinking in the Google/Amazon race that Google could win?  But this will be interesting to watch and yes, I fully agree they must have some target strategy in mind, given the competition; just look what they did when they entered the crowded market with Kindle.

 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/21/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
Potholes Lurk in Indian Smart City Project
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 5/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones
Too Fluffy to Talk Click Here
Elmer found that his bountiful fur got in the way of meaningful conversation.