Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

As Amazon Preps Its Apple TV Killer, It Plays Nicely With Apple TV

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JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages

Amazon is planning on going head to head with Apple TV later this fall.

But before that happens, it will work nicely with Apple TV: Amazon’s Instant Video app now supports AirPlay, which means you can stream old episodes of “The Good Wife” on your iPad, and fling them to your big screen.

This is a small but important update to Amazon’s video offering. Prior to this, Amazon video customers — either those who bought or rented stuff from the company’s catalog, or who got it free with their Amazon Prime membership — could watch their stuff on just about any device except a TV connected to the Web with Apple TV.*

Given that Apple TV is the leader in standalone video-box sales, with more than 13 million sold, that’s a good gap to fill. And it makes Amazon’s video offering that much more competitive with Netflix, Hulu, etc.

And Amazon should get even more competitive later this fall, when it unveils its own set-top box.

Developers building apps for the box tell me they’ve been told the launch date for the gadget has been pushed back to mid-October at the earliest, so we’ll have at least a month to speculate about what capabilities the box will have and how Jeff Bezos will price it.

But whenever it does launch, we’ll have a very interesting race for control of the TV on our hands. Current contestants include Apple, Roku, Microsoft, Sony and Google. Intel says it’s coming, too. Anyone else?

 

* I’m trusting other reports that this works, by the way, because it doesn’t on my setup: Right now, my iPad is sending audio from the Instant Video app to my TV, but the picture is trapped on my tablet. I’m assuming this is a bug, not a feature, and will get resolved soon. (Update: Sure enough, an update to my app resolved the issue, which likely means I had downloaded an older edition of the app this morning.)


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik