Amazon is hosting a TV-centric event in New York on Wednesday, where it will most likely reveal a streaming device. So what's that little thing going to look like? Here are the mostly likely answers to the biggest questions.
Most signs point to a dongle, like Chromecast or Roku's new streaming stick. This would likely be a small device you'd pop in your HDMI port in the back of your TV, meaning it would work with almost any television and cause virtually no installation headaches. Streaming sticks are the hot topic, and for good reason: they're excellent.
Of course, Roku—one of Amazon's biggest soon-to-be competitors in the space—offers a choice of three different hardware devices. So if Amazon wants to go blow-for-blow it may push out something more than just an entry-level, stick-style device. And any additional, bigger boxes might have additional tricks up their sleeves. Like gaming, for instance...
Well it will stream media. But there's a lot to suggest it'll do more than just that. A few weeks ago, Dave Zatz posted screenshots of the chunky beast that might be a controller for Amazon's streaming device. It's clearly a game controller, and if it is really real, that virtually assures that Amazon's TV sidekick will play games of some sort, probably Android-based games like the ones you can find in the store on Amazon's Kindle Fires.
It makes plenty of sense considering the Roku 3 comes with some game-friendly features baked in (but think more Angry Birds than Call of Duty), and that streaming sticks designed exclusively for Android gaming exist. It seems pretty likely that Amazon might go down that road as well, becoming the first big set-top box player to make a serious play for games and beating Chromecast and Apple TV to the punch.
Called either Kindle TV or Firetube, the system will almost definitely be a forked Android device, running something similar or identical to the Kindle Fire OS, which would let it draw on the already sizeable stable of Fire OS Android-based apps.
There isn't much intel floating around on the price, but keep a few things in mind on this front: One, Amazon tends to keep its hardware dirt cheap. On top of that, one of the major selling points of both Chromecast and the Roku stick are their prices—£30 and £50 respectively. Amazon, presumably wanting to compete with these guys, will probably price its purported dongle somewhere in that ballpark. It's even possible that a device like this could come with Amazon's £79 per year Prime service for free. Maybe.
Amazon is likely to try and shake up the scene in order to wedge its streaming device into an already established ecosystem. To that point, last week the WSJ reported that Amazon is working on a free, ad-supported streaming service for non-Prime subscribers. While it's not likely we'll see this trotted out at tomorrow's event, the fact that Amazon doesn't give a hoot about making a profit up front means it might show up down the road to sweeten this whole streaming device deal.
But we won't have to guess much longer. We'll be at Amazon's event on Wednesday with the scoop, so we'll know more very, very soon.