There’s a rumor in circulation that Amazon has been
engaged on a DVR that might enable customers to document reside TV, after which
stream that content material to a smartphone and different cellular gadgets.
Amazon goals to mount a direct problem to DVR pioneer TiVo — a company that was on the
forefront of digital video recording 20 years in the past — in keeping with a flurry of reviews stemming from a Bloomberg article revealed earlier this week.
The Amazon DVR, reportedly codenamed “Frank,”
will work with Fire TV gadgets, however it’s unclear if it’s going to
characteristic Amazon Prime Video streaming as nicely.
Amazon’s Lab 126 analysis and improvement middle — the group
behind the creation of the Echo speaker — has been engaged on the DVR, in keeping with
Amazon is not precisely late to this market, however its Fire TV merchandise presently stream reside content material solely from companions comparable to HBO through the Amazon Channels service. The Amazon Fire TV
set-top containers, that are amongst Amazon’s best-selling merchandise, are
unable to document or in any other case retailer video regionally. Nor can they stream content material to a different system, comparable to a cell phone.
By including DVR performance, Amazon basically might tackle cable/satellite tv for pc pay-TV
providers, offering the flexibility to document and location-shift content material similarly.
DVR for Cord Cutters
Amazon’s technique might be to go after the rising “cord cutter” and
“cord never” market — people and households who choose to not
have a pay-TV service, and as an alternative get content material from different sources,
together with streaming media.
“It’s doubtless aimed primarily at twine cutters and twine nevers; each
teams are rising shortly as customers flip away from conventional TV and
legacy supply from pay-TV operators,” stated Jim O’Neill, principal
“But it’s totally doubtless that even customers who have pay-TV of their houses
are watching video from OTT suppliers and, relying upon the place they
get their broadband providers, storage system could be price
having,” he informed TechNewsWorld.
“More than half of households that subscribe to pay-TV additionally subscribe
to an SVOD service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime,” added O’Neill.
“If they need to maintain content material readily available, they very nicely might use the
The key lacking piece to Amazon’s technique is the place, precisely, customers of
its DVR would get content material. While premium content material might come through Amazon
Channels, that also would go away the flexibility to entry native content material each
figuratively and actually up within the air.
“One chance is an antenna, which is definitely an essential supply
of TV for a minority of U.S. viewers,” steered Colin Dixon, principal analyst at
“While there has been a
slowdown in adoption, antennas picked up final 12 months,” he informed
Another chance might be streaming of broadcast community content material,
together with from native stations.
“We are seeing an uptick within the variety of broadcasters — native
broadcasters — who are making regionally generated content material out there
on-line, and we count on that quantity to speed up,” stated O’Neill.
“You can watch CBS All Access by means of Amazon’s Fire gadgets, in order that
content material is also prone to be out there to save lots of; and Fox, ABC, and NBC
all have an rising quantity of their programming on-line, so having
the Amazon field doubtless would assist you to document and save that
content material,” he added.
Another chance is that Amazon might take the route of previous
merchandise — together with some TiVo models in addition to the now defunct Moxi
field — and make the most of a cable card to interchange a subscriber’s
conventional set-top field.
“I’d really be shocked if Amazon would help cable playing cards
at this time,” said Dixon. “That know-how has been on the decline, and few
TVs really ship with a cable card slot, so cable card help is
lukewarm at finest.”
Live content material might come from on-line “channels” and different streaming providers. Instead of offering one other system that merely might be used to
document conventional linear channels from pay-TV shops,
Amazon might pioneer a DVR service for streaming content material.
“Over the previous 18 months and longer we have seen a renaissance in reside
content material, and quite a lot of that content material is moving on-line with shopper
habits,” stated Brett Sappington, senior director of analysis at Parks
“It is not simply conventional broadcasting however is Facebook Live and
Periscope, and now Twitch is live-streaming content material,” he informed
“Amazon is getting rights to cowl sports activities, which a number of years in the past would
have been unthinkable — so this simply exhibits how the market is
altering,” Sappington added. “For a company that has on-line and cloud providers,
it is sensible for this reside play.”
Another unanswered query is the place Amazon Prime Video will slot in, however
it might seem to be a pure extension. A DVR providing might enable
Amazon to realize traction on Netflix, which has cast offers to be
accessible not solely by means of good TVs and Blu-ray gamers, however extra
just lately on pay-TV set-top containers.
Amazon just lately has been making headway within the latter class.
“Just a few weeks in the past there was news that Amazon Video would launch on
Comcast’s Xfinity containers,” stated Kristen Hanich, analysis analyst at
“We’ve additionally seen that Apple is forming partnerships to behave as a
streaming media portal, and that may be a path Amazon could be going
down as nicely,” she informed TechNewsWorld.
Such partnerships with streaming media providers recommend that the pay-TV corporations perceive that the market has been altering when it comes to how viewers get content material, and it exhibits a willingness to just accept that extra folks might forgo the twine sooner or later.
“This doubtless shouldn’t be a short-term play for operators, though there
could also be some that start to take a look at Amazon Prime Video as a substitute
to providing their very own pay-TV providers, particularly amongst Tier 2 and
Tier three suppliers,” stated Ooyala’s O’Neill.
“Offering a TV service is an costly proposition, and a few smaller
telcos and cable corporations have already opted out, selecting to focus
on their broadband business,” he added.
“Interestingly, Charter and Comcast, throughout their earnings calls
or investor conferences up to now few months, additionally have chosen to direct
extra consideration to their broadband companies,” famous O’Neill.
There are simply much better margins within the broadband business
than there are within the pay-TV business.
“So, could Amazon Prime be offered as an alternative to pay TV?”
contemplated O’Neill. “Absolutely. It already is the choice thousands and thousands of
twine cutters and twine nevers have selected.”
The TiVo Killer
Why Amazon goes after TiVo particularly is one other query
to think about, particularly as different early DVR pioneers — notably Replay TV
— have gone by the wayside. TiVo stays a big participant, however
Amazon’s technique to tackle that company is type of like a
new good cellphone producer wanting to focus on BlackBerry at this time.
“It is strange that Amazon would be thinking about TiVo,” famous
nScreen Media’s Dixon.
“There are so many options on the market already, and most pay-TV
service operators have methods to observe content material on cellular gadgets anyway,” he stated,
“so I am not sure who Amazon is even targeting right now.”
Perhaps the BlackBerry comparability is apt, as TiVo is now not simply
a retail providing.
“Today TiVo’s important business is with pay-TV operators, together with
in Europe, the place there are TiVo containers which might be a premium providing,”
stated Parks Associates’ Sappington.
“Today TiVo is almost a software player,” he added, “however one other comparability is how
Roku had success as a set-top system however now they’re in good TVs and
The DVR market has been a aggressive one. While TiVo has
endured, many rivals — together with Replay TV and Moxi — have not been as
fortunate. Amazon’s try to enter this market might be a dangerous one.
“The satan is actually within the particulars, realizing that Amazon has been
persistently launching merchandise inside areas it is aware of,” famous
“What we all know is that it will likely be associated to Fire TV and that it’ll
have a powerful on-line part, and we should keep in mind that Amazon Video
is already the second largest OTT service, so it is sensible that it
might be a part of this DVR,” he steered.
“Selling Amazon merchandise has been an enormous a part of its business mannequin,
however might be tough,” remarked Sappington.
Amazon additionally might observe TiVo’s lead and have success in different markets,
the place DVR penetration is not as excessive. However — within the United States, at the very least —
the dangers will not be definitely worth the reward.
“Everyone enters with a splash, but there isn’t news when you leave,” Sappington famous. “In
this case, Amazon does not want a home run to achieve success — even a
single is okay. But if it fails, this might be apparent to everybody.”