The device will plug into TVs and will give users access to Amazon's video catalog, including its Video on Demand store and Instant Video service, Bloomberg said, citing sources. Amazon's Lab126 division, based in Cupertino, Calif., is developing the product, the news service said, with Malachy Moynihan running the project. Moynihan is a former vice president of emerging products at Cisco as well as a former Apple employee.
Other hardware engineers working on the set-top box include Andy Goodman, formerly a top engineer at TiVo and Vudu, and Chris Coley, a former hardware architect at ReplayTV, one of Silicon Valley's first DVR companies, Bloomberg said.
The living room is viewed as one of the next big battlegrounds for technology giants. Many companies have already created products, such as smartphones, that allow users to interact with their televisions, and the industry is seen as one that really needs an overhaul.
Chipmaker Intel plans to release a set-top box and Internet-based video service later this year, and Apple is widely believed to be working on a new device aside from its current Apple TV product. Google has been updating its Google TVs to gain more user adoption, and traditional TV providers such as Samsung and LG have also broadened their offerings, as have Roku, Boxee, and other device makers.
Amazon already offers its video services through an app on various set-top boxes and mobile devices, and it has been expanding its video offerings by creating original content and signing exclusive deals. If the company does release a set-top box, it could put Amazon in direct competition with some of its partners. However, it could also help Amazon better control the experience and boost the ecosystem for its devices.
Amazon declined to comment.
Updated at 10:05 a.m. PT with additional details and background and again at 11:50 a.m. PT with Amazon declining to comment.