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Amazon planning set-top streaming box to be Apple TV killer

Amazon has already conquered the online retail world, made great strides in the eBook reader/tablet market, and entered the realm of TV and film streaming. So what's next?

According to Bloomberg, Amazon is planning to release a television set-top box to stream video via the Internet.

Citing sources close to the matter, the news outlet reported that the unnamed device will hit shelves later this year, providing consumers with another option to stream content — inevitably including Amazon Video on Demand offerings. Amazon could also pull applications from its marketplace to integrate into the product, much like the Apple TV already does.

If the rumours are true, the online retailer is essentially playing catch-up with the competition, like Apple, Roku, Boxee, Microsoft, and Sony, which already have their own set-top box, or a game console, that delivers the same programming.

Still, it could live in harmony with services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, all of which are currently available on Kindle Fire tablets.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The set-top box is reportedly under development at Amazon's Lab126 division, which is based in Apple's hometown of Cupertino, California, Bloomberg said.

Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president at Cisco Systems Inc. who spent nine years at Apple in the 1980s and '90s, is reportedly heading up the project, with the help of engineers Andy Goodman — formerly a top engineer at TiVo and Vudu — and Chris Coley, once a hardware architect at ReplayTV.

Amazon is no stranger to streaming television. The company's original film and series production arm, Amazon Studios, currently has 12 pilots underway, all of which will be available on Prime Instant Video and Amazon Instant Video once completed.