Having missed the ever so lucrative holiday hopping season, we stop to wonder what Amazon might pack into their forthcoming TV streamer (after failing to reach a deal for the Netflix-backed Roku a few years back).
First, given pulled and presumably filled job openings, one technology Amazon’s Lab126 Kindle division has been interested in is MHL – something we’ve seen leveraged by the Roku streaming sick, as means of doing away with the set-top box. Of course, the M in MHL is “mobile” and this could equally refer to the Kindle Fire line of tablets — either on their own or as a means of interfacing with a Kindle streamer. However, we fully believe any Amazon TV stick or set-top would act as an endpoint to the Kindle Fire’s Miracast capabilities.
Specific to Roku’s implementation of MHL, the company has backed themselves into a corner with that product. While the physical connector is HDMI, not all HDMI ports and televisions pack MHL capabilities. Enter Chromecast, which is pure HDMI – as such it requires a separate power source and a television’s remote control cannot be utilized. So Amazon’s ideal sort of solution might be a stick (or box) that incorporates MHL but can fall back to HDMI to ensure all households are covered. And I don’t think Amazon’s reported delay is a coincidence, given Google’s success in moving Chromecast sticks at a low $35 price point and seeing DIAL implementation spread to other devices (like TiVo).
Related, if Amazon intends to offer third party apps, there’s work to be done in regards to optimizing for the 10′ interface and providing app developers the hooks they need to produce a lean back experience. Also, on the software front, Amazon Instant is a given as the core video service to of course include Prime’s Netflix-esque perks. And we’d expect the Amazon-owned IMDB to act as a video recommendation and research engine, along with the requisite upcoming movie trailers.
What else might we expect or desire? Is motion control on the list? Is there even room for another entrant in this space?