TV technology outfit Netgem has launched an all-in-one smart soundbar and TV box in the UK market in partnership with Amazon.
Netgem has also developed an Alexa video skill, which the company said is “working well” on the existing version of the box and can be used by owners of the Echo Dot device.
Netgem plans to integrate Alexa directly in the SoundBox, meaning that an Echo Dot will not be needed to make it work, a feature that will be released in a month or so, according to Emma Alazard, head of communications at Netgem, speaking to DTVE at the recent TV Connect event in London.
Alazard said there was “clear demand for a high-quality soundbar to complement the new range of thinner TVs” that lack high-end speakers.
As well as Freeview TV, the device includes access to an on-demand kids hub featuring services such as Hopster, a music hub and SVOD services such as Hayu from NBCUniversal.
Alazard said that selling the box direct to consumers via Amazon would be followed up by further direct-to-consumer distribution agreements and by deals with service providers.
Alazard said that the service provider target market for the device would typically be utility companies and smaller broadband providers that want to deploy a ready-to-go service quickly.
Alazard said that Netgem’s main aim with these devices was to attract small to medium sized service providers, competing with the likes of Roku and other streaming devices.
Beyond the UK, Netgem also plans to launch the device in France and Germany, and possibly in other markets, said Alazard.