Amazon Sets Date For Video Reveal

Details on Amazon’s long-anticipated video streaming platform are expected to be revealed on Wednesday, April 2, in New York, according to invitations being issued to media outlets

“Please join us for an update on our video business,” the invitation states, pointing to a start time of 11 a.m. ET.

Other than an image of an orange couch with some popcorn spilled about, the invitation doesn’t reveal much else about what's in store for what's expected to be a video device developed at Amazon’s secretive Lab126 unit. However, the long-standing rumor has been that the company is gearing up to launch a product that will pump video straight to the TV, setting up Amazon to compete in the sector with Apple, Roku and others.

Although the company was originally expected to offer a streaming set-top box, recent reports suggest that Amazon’s entry will take the form of an HDMI “stick," taking a page from the playbook of the Google Chromecast playbook, and the form-factor of Roku's new $49.95 Streaming Stick.

There’s also speculation that the device might also double as a gaming machine after Dave Zatz, who runs the ZatzNotFunny blog, spotted an Amazon-branded wireless Bluetooth gaming controller that features a logo for Amazon GameCircle, a service that lets Kindle Fire users track their gaming progress and compare scores with other players.

Although Amazon appears to be entering a crowded field, some analysts believe it’s positioned to be successful in the market.

“The first thing to consider is their retail power,”  Colin Dixon, chief analyst and founder of nScreenMedia, told Multichannel News last week (subscription required).  “Amazon can push the device through its website and make it very cheap and easy for people to adopt.”

Dixon said he expects Amazon to sell the device at or near cost and use it as a content-selling conduit for Prime Instant Video and its electronic sell-through service. “There’s a decent chance they’ll have success in the market with it,” he said.