Is This The New Amazon Streamer?

Dave Zatz —  March 28, 2014 — 34 Comments

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Several weeks ago, this mysterious “digital media receiver” was brought to my attention. I’ve been largely quiet on the matter as I was hopeful that I might turn up more of a smoking gun… as I ultimately did with the Amazon gaming controller. Yet, other than confirmation Best Buy will be carrying an Amazon “streaming player”, I’ve hit something of a dead end. And, with an announcement just days away, I figured I’d share this series of FCC filings to stoke the imagination (and to unleash the sleuths amongst us).

Amazon is known to pass gadgetry thru the FCC under cover of a shell company. In this case, we’re looking at Ailen LLC. While I can’t directly link them to Amazon, the filing pattern resembles prior Amazon endeavors … with someone going to a good deal of effort to disguise the box (CL1130) and remote (DU3560) … that hit in close proximity to the gaming controller (filed by Vafara LLC). Further, the box was evaluated by the engineering test firm last summer … but just passed thru the FCC… perhaps supporting the blown Christmas launch rumor.

Having said all that, TechCrunch is quite convinced the Amazon streamer will resemble the Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick – a possibility we suggested back in December. Yet, based merely on the line drawing above, this device seems to feature a relatively square form. Assuming this is indeed an Amazon product, has the enclosure changed or is the picture not representative? I can also imagine a scenario where Amazon releases both a box and a stick, à la Roku, and this is just one of multiple boxes. Related, will the gaming controller be part of the “update on our video business” unveiling next week, or is this to be a follow-on announcement?

These Ailen filings don’t offer much in the way of technical details — all we really know is that the box features both dual band WiFi and Bluetooth, while the remote communicates via Bluetooth. Wether or not this is actually Amazon hardware, one would assume Amazon will also release a mobile app for remote control. Related, given Kindle Fire HDX capabilities, I imagine any Amazon streamer would support Miracast screen mirroring – to quickly close the gap on Roku’s 1200 channels (despite Netflix and Hulu apps being a lock).

One final mystery in closing… a battery-powered 802.11 b/g/n “wireless scanner” also passed thru the FCC (under yet another company name). No idea what that is or if it’s connected — as it’s entirely possible I’m creating patterns at this point where there are none. One way or another, we’ll know more (if not all) come April 2nd!

34 responses to Is This The New Amazon Streamer?

  1. I wonder if they will have an ad display when you hit pause on a video…with a one click ordering option of course.

  2. I smell fresh cinnamon rolls…

    —–

    “Having said all that, TechCrunch is quite convinced the Amazon streamer will resemble the Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick – a possibility we suggested back in December. Yet, based merely on the line drawing above, this device seems to feature a relatively square form.”

    It’d be impressive if you had out-sherlocked them.

    “I can also imagine a scenario where Amazon releases both a box and a stick, à la Roku, and this is just one of multiple boxes.”

    Yup. It’ll be interesting if they come out with multiple form factors on day one. The Kindle e-reader and Kindle tablet both only had one form factor for the first generation, but Amazon may need to up its game here to take some of the wind out of Cupertino’s sails.

    “despite Netflix and Hulu apps being a lock”

    I be gobsmacked if HBO Go ain’t there on day one too. It’s on the Kindle tablets, and even though there’s been no publicity, it’d seem a major unexpected fail if it weren’t there on day one. It’s a biggie if they want to really compete.

    “one would assume Amazon will also release a mobile app for remote control”

    Incorrect! Instead of using a mobile app, they’re going to disrupt the fledgling industry by relying on drones, satellites, and lasers to handle secondary remote control functions.

  3. One problem with this belonging to Amazon is that it is old; the LLC was registered in July 2012. Amazon usually doesn’t hold on to front companies that long.

    But on the plus side Ailen translates from a native language of Chile as Little Coal.

    Amazon’s past LLC front companies have sometimes been given names which are inside jokes just like this name could be.

  4. By the by, Janko of GigaOm and I have been noodling over these Ailen filings for a few weeks… and he caught a nugget of intel that I had missed. In one of the reports, they mention connecting a USB mouse to the device for testing purposes. Which suggests this particular product has potentially more capability than a stick merely receiving power via microUSB.

  5. The Amazon product has been named and it is not cinnamon any more than George Lucas was working on blue harvest. Check this out the name was revealed as Firetube by mistake but it is plain as day.

    http://alturl.com/qyk2b

  6. What’s the saying correlation isn’t causation? Amazon did indeed attempt to trademark ‘Firetube’ last September (as widely blogged) and it could indeed be related to the upcoming streamer. However, the cited 3rd party company/seller, who I’d say with 99% certainty is not privy to Amazon’s intentions, went ahead and stuck that name in their Amazon product listings.

  7. Firetube sounds like something I would you would say while sitting on the toilet after a night of spicy foods. It’s not a good name for a media device.

  8. I’d be pretty astounded if release name isn’t “Kindle” something. (Though “Fire” something is indeed vaguely plausible, I’d still be astounded.)

    —–

    “The Amazon product has been named and it is not cinnamon any more than George Lucas was working on blue harvest.”

    But George Lucas, (or rather, his minions), were indeed working on Blue Harvest. That’s what a “working title” means. It’s what you internally call a project during development, and what you have no intention of calling the released project. Same goes for Cinnamon.

  9. Firetube was something more than a working name (for something), given the trademark application, but hopefully Amazon has moved on. (And, based on the filing, it looks like the USPTO had an action item for AMZN as of 12/13 that hasn’t been completed.) Unlike Nate, the connotations for me are Naval warfare or perhaps suited to an adult version of YouTube.

  10. Dave crushes TechCrunch on the form factor.

    Seemingly no HBO Go on day one, but Plex included.

  11. I had a lot of doubters and a lot of questions… but no one asked me the most relevant and obvious: How did I know this was Amazon? Not that I’d elaborate, but I did find it rather odd that the topic wasn’t broached. Thank you, goodnight.

  12. “no one asked me the most relevant and obvious: How did I know this was Amazon?”

    The answer is obvious. Either you are psychic or Jeff Bezos.

    “Thank you, goodnight.”

    Don’t forget to tip your waitstaff.

  13. HBO Go may be there on day one after all, according to Engadget. If not, coming soon.

  14. FireTV???
    $99?!?!
    That is alot more than I expected.

  15. Here is the Amazon link

    http://amzn.to/1h3gMJm

  16. “$99?!?! That is alot more than I expected.”

    Agreed.

    “Here is the Amazon link”

    No need. It’s on the home page, of course.

    —–

    Weirdest item to me, it’s being advertised as having Showtime Anywhere but not HBO Go from day one. I assume HBO Go is coming, but still weird to me.

  17. While the price is indeed higher than expected, (and perhaps a misstep), if you look at the specs, I assume they’re selling it at cost, or at a loss…

    If the voice search works well, it’ll be a bargain, at least from my POV.

  18. I was definitely going to get one if it was $50, but at $99 I’m not sure. If I get it I will probably wait until it shows up at Best Buy. Then I will use my Reward Zone dollars to pay for most of it.

  19. Price didn’t surprise me. Figured it’d be at the higher end of these boxes given the gaming capabilities. I got mine ordered. The remote looks much better than Roku and Apple TV, looking forward to checking it out in a couple days. Wondering if/when Miracast may pop.

  20. We need a post on the product from you soon Dave so we can all rant in the comments there… looks like Chucky isn’t batting 1000 on this one.

    No HBO Go? Ugh.
    And music is only Pandora? Ugh. At least Rdio or Spotify please.
    And $99 with no break for Prime subscribers? Surprisingly I was disappointed at this price.

  21. I was intending to hold off on further posting until mine arrives as I can add more value once I’ve played with it. Having said that, I imagine the app selection will grow fast given the Android underpinnings.

  22. “looks like Chucky isn’t batting 1000 on this one.”

    Hey, even Ted Williams only batted .400.

    Via Engadget’s nice hands-on, it sounds like the UI responsiveness, ASAP pre-fetching technology, nice remote, and voice search are the key points.

    “No HBO Go? Ugh.”

    Ugh, indeed. But one would have to assume it’ll be coming down the pike.

    Here’s what befuddles me: Apple TV has HBO Go, but no Showtime Anywhere. The initial rollout of the Amazon unit is the reverse. There is something going on behind the scenes that is making that happen, but what?

  23. No DIAL support either is a big miss. Could be they’ll add it of course. Seems like the existing seconds screen stuff that’s only for their tablets? isn’t DIAL.

  24. Oh crap, it looks like it doesn’t have YouTube! I’m thinking without DIAL support this won’t be coming soon either given the likely lack of cooperation from Google on anything related to this (given that its a fork and all).

  25. Oh jeez, sorry there. It *does* have YouTube. It just wasn’t highlighted in their content listing. It is in their table though.

  26. The FireTv should play music from the Amazon MP3 player right? All my music is stored in the cloud with Amazon. Although I mostly use it in the car from my cell phone. Plus my Roku 3 has access to it. I would really like to get it, but I just don’t like the price.

    It really seems like overkill with the quad core CPU. Plus I have no need for games. I wonder if they are considering coming out with a version without games and without voice recognition to lower the price. Then they could also go with a dual core CPU instead.

    I will get a FireTv but just not right away. Once BestBuy gets them I can use what’s left of my Reward Zone dollars so my out of pocket cost will only be around $25. Unless Amazon offers some kind of special deal. I did check my email, but I only got one about the FireTv release, with nothing about a discounted price.

  27. I wonder if it does HDMI-CEC. For me that’s one of the best things about the ChromeCast that for some reason everybody else continues to ignore…

  28. “No DIAL support either is a big miss. Could be they’ll add it of course.” & “The FireTv should play music from the Amazon MP3 player right?” & Chucky’s desire for HBO Go:

    Three things that aren’t in the initial Fire release.

    And three things that still make Roku better at the moment.

  29. Also, the remote UX will be crucial. TiVo won dominance in (what turned out to be a tiny niche) with the Peanut™. Remote UX matters.

  30. Wow, this is oblivious pricing a la Microsoft Surface and we all know what happened there. The low end is taken by Google, the middle to high by Roku and Apple then Amazon comes in at $99? Wow…. Sure they will have gaming, but I expect that Apple will release the hounds on the next tv update.

    No break for prime users? This is a device that should have come out 2 years ago. Where is the phone, where is the portable mp3 player?

    This baffles me, even if it made Christmas.

  31. Looks like Miracast is a go!
    https://twitter.com/davezatz/status/451658926262468608/photo/1

    I wasn’t going to post until I had product in hand, Glenn – but this nugget pushed me over the edge. Let the bitching begin! Or maybe just let it relocate! ;)

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2014-04/99-amazon-fire-tv-now-shipping-miracast/

  32. The funny part of all this is the Roku dude just complaining that Apple must be losing money on Apple TV hardware, and then, as if in response, this happens.

    The BOM on the Fire has got to be significantly higher than the Apple TV.

  33. Turns out I’m exactly 4 for 4 in regards to Amazon’s filings. The missing “wireless scanner” isn’t for warehouse inventory or related to the Fire TV streamer. Rather, the “Dash” powers a new AmazonFresh initiative:

    http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/4/5582932/amazon-announces-dash-barcode-scanner-microphone-for-amazonfresh

    Speaking of AmazonFresh and rumors, I hear some Baltimore warehouses have been acquired to launch the service here in the DC ‘burbs.

    And now, my friends, I’m taking these Nostradamus skills straight to the lotto vendor. You can reach me on my private Caribbean island in a few weeks.

  34. “Speaking of AmazonFresh and rumors, I hear some Baltimore warehouses have been acquired to launch the service here in the DC ‘burbs.”

    Any truth to the AmazonFresh compost -> 3D printer rumor?

    “And now, my friends, I’m taking these Nostradamus skills straight to the lotto vendor. You can reach me on my private Caribbean island in a few weeks.”

    And after lotto, then you’ll be able to financially justify becoming a regular HBO subscriber…

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