Deep inside the bowels of Amazon, the company's engineers are hard at work on a new device being called … Frank. According to a new report, Frank is a TiVo and Slingbox competitor that records live TV and streams it to your smartphone.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube in action. Credit: Tom's Guide.
This news comes from a Bloomberg report and explains that Frank will extract the live TV programming from your cable or satellite provider, but doing so while "working around" those content distributors.
The story cites a person who asked "not to be identified" who said the Frank DVR connects to your TV content wirelessly, using the same technology that allow Echo speakers and Fire TV boxes to communicate.
Amazon has a streaming TV service of sorts in Amazon Channels, but it's essentially just a curated bunch of channels you still need to pay for separately, such as HBO, Showtime and PBS Kids. Amazon doesn't have a true rival to the likes of Sling TV and YouTube TV, and Frank could be an alternative, at least for non cord-cutters.
Frank would fit in well with Amazon's Fire TV Cube, which enables more voice commands for your cable box, but can't store programming.
The same report also states that Amazon's planning to update the software on its Fire TV stick, and spread its Fire TV software onto more TVs, similar to how Roku Smart TVs are sold today. Amazon's Fire TV software is available on some sets, such as the Toshiba Fire TV Edition, but in our review we said the picture quality and sound were mediocre.
The report mentions no schedule for Frank's announcement or release. It also says that "Amazon hasn’t made a final decision on rolling out the streaming feature" and that "plans could either be canceled or delayed."
But even the potential of Frank has investors worried, as TiVo's stock dropped as much as 10 percent after the news broke. And it was still on shaky ground at the end of trading on Friday, as it finished down 4.3 percent.