Amazon Set Top Box Competitors: Smart TVs
The trick with Smart TVs is convincing owners who have already paid for a TV that includes its own Wi-Fi internet connection and apps, to pay extra for another box they have to plug in — and accomplishes the same basic functions. It doesn’t help that Smart TVs from Samsung (SSNLF) and others can already access Amazon Instant Video using an app.
Smart TVs used to be marketed as premium models, but connectivity will soon be a standard feature (33% of TVs sold last year were “Smart,” and that’s expected to hit 44% for 2014) so Amazon can’t afford to simply ignore this demographic.
To convince Smart TV owners to add an Amazon set top box to their home theater, AMZN is going to have to pull out all the guns — keep the price as low as possible (including potentially building into a Prime membership as a freebie), enable apps, make the “box” itself as small and unobtrusive as possible, and make sure the Amazon video experience on an Amazon set top box is superior (i.e., more intuitive and easier to use) than on Smart TVs.