Amazon.com develops a new device that records live TV, works around cable providers and encroaches on TiVo Corp. market, according to a person familiar with the plans. The device, nicknamed Frank inside Amazon, is a new type of digital video recorder for the era of streaming. It would include physical storage and connect to existing Amazon TV lightBox, the salon hub for the company’s online video efforts, according to the person. They asked not to be identified by discussing non-advertised product details. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment.
The Frank DVR has the same wireless technology as Echo from Amazon the speakers connect to the Fire TV boxes. Users will be able to record live TV and stream the video to a smartphone for later viewing. This feature is similar to the Slingbox offers from TiVo and Dish Network Corp. Amazon has not made a final decision on the deployment of the streaming feature, said the person, noting that plans could be canceled or delayed.
TiVo shares fell 10% in the afternoon in New York. Currently, Fire TV streams live content through the Amazon Channels service, which includes programming from providers such as HBO, but the box can not store video locally. Amazon is also working to better highlight live content for Fire TV users.
The research and development center of e-commerce giant Lab 126 is working on the DVR, the latest in a series of connected gadgets meant for the home. The group created the Echo loudspeaker and built a domestic robot called Project Vesta.
Amazon wants to occupy the salon’s thanks to its devices and services. The company has invested in original films, TV shows, and live sports to make its premium subscription an alternative to broadcast services such as Netflix Inc. Preferred members pay annual or monthly fees Customers who watch the content Amazon’s video spend more on other business offers and are more likely to renew their membership.
Amazon also plans to update its Fire TV key – a smaller version of the Fire TV box – with newer software, the person added. He is also seeking Fire TV software and video content on other TVs made by other companies. At present, Amazon sells Fire TV sets built by Toshiba Corp. and Westinghouse and is looking for more manufacturing partners to better compete with Roku Inc., which has software on many TV models. TV Fire streaming devices are among Amazon’s best-selling products. Earlier this year, Amazon partnered with Best Buy Co. to sell Fire TV brand TVs manufactured by Toshiba and Insignia.