Amazon reportedly to launch a set-top box before Christmas

Amazon is believed to be readying a TV set-top box for release in time for Christmas in the US. It is not known whether the device will also be launched in the UK at the same time.

The box is reported to be similar to products such as Apple TV, Tesco's Blinkbox, the Roku player and Sky's NOW TV box, so will be in competition with a whole host of companies which are already on the scene.

Whether Amazon will lean towards enabling the streaming of content from anyone, like Apple TV and Roku or be more focussed on streaming its own service, as with NOW TV and Blinkbox, is not clear.

Amazon's Prime on demand movie and TV streaming service was launched largely as a challenge to Netflix. Amazon's $79-per-year offering is now the the third biggest streaming service in the US. In the UK it costs £49 and as part of the subscription, customers also get unlimited free next day delivery on Amazon orders, and over 350,000 books available to borrow for free on Kindle.

In preparation for the launch, Amazon has approached a number of US cable TV providers and media app developers with potential partnerships deals in recent weeks, sources have told the WSJ.

Apparently code named "Cinnamon", Amazon is keeping extremely tight lipped about the device, and the WSJ's sources said word on launch date or pricing has not been released internally.

Analysts expect that, like the Kindle, any set top box will be a budget device. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said previously that he prefers to sell hardware cheap and as close to manufacturing cost as possible, so the firm can profit from products and services available the devices.

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