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Microsoft Reportedly Working On Xbox TV Device 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-don't-call-it-the-metrobox dept.
SternisheFan writes with news of rumors over Microsoft's plans for its next-gen Xbox console. According to The Verge, the company is working on a cheap, Xbox-based set-top box for some time in 2013. "The device will run on the core components of Windows 8 and support casual gaming titles rather than full Xbox games typically found on a dedicated console. Although hardware specifications aren't fully locked down, we understand Microsoft will use a chipset to enable an "always on" device that boots quickly and resumes to provide near-instant access to TV and entertainment services. Microsoft's Xbox set-top box work is said to be part of a broader effort to ensure its core architecture for the next-generation Xbox is scalable enough to be put together to run on a number of devices. We understand that the company could opt to combine its core system for the next Xbox with a phone stack to deliver a phone capable of running a full version of Microsoft's Xbox Live services."
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Microsoft Reportedly Working On Xbox TV Device

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  • Failed xbox shrink (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:01PM (#42060525) Journal
    I have known for a long time the xbox 360 would be relegated to a lower end Xbox gaming device when the next Xbox came out. Im surprised this is a mini, scaled down version that wont run the whole 360 stack though. I figured they would be able to make the 360 cheap/small enough by now to do so.
    • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:10PM (#42060629)

      More than likely, this won't be an xBox at all, but rather a small ARM based version of Windows 8 RT with Media Center built-in, and Metro apps for things like Pandora, Netflix, Hulu, etc...

      It doesn't make much sense to make it an xbox unless you're planning to run actual xbox titles.

      • Unless you work for Microsoft's marketing department, in which case you'll want to stick an Xbox label on the box, since it's a Microsoft device that connects to your TV. I can't wait for the confusion this will cause.

      • It doesn't make much sense to make it an xbox unless you're planning to run actual xbox titles.

        The Xbox 360 can't even emulate all Xbox titles.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Exactly, although i have to say its pretty damned stupid when you think about it. Not only have they been cranking the X360 for so long they can whip those off on the cheap, but frankly this doesn't sound any better than what we are already seeing baked into more and more TVs and STBs. I mean why would I want this when my TV could play casual time wasters already? But having a $100 X360 that can play the whole X360 catalog AND do all the media stuff AND the casual AND be the media hub of the house? Sounds

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Basically a Windows 8 phone in a set-top box, analogue to current Android set-top boxes and Apple TV.
        Nothing revolutionary, just filling out the product line to match it's competitors' product lines.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:06PM (#42060597)

    My previous TV was older with no internet connection and I ended up using my Xbox that last year or so more to stream netflix then actually play video games. When that TV died last year and I bought a new one, the new TV had a dozen services built in including Netflix and Hulu. Since then I actually let my XBL subscription lapse because I just didn't use it enough. If the idea works, what is to stop Panasonic/LG/Samsung et al from basically building similar services directly into the TV. My current TV is still wired into the home network, but I'm seeing a lot more TV's with built in Wifi.

    My Cable bundle contract expires at the end of the year and I'm seriously debating whether or not it's time to cancel the TV subscription.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Unless you're a big sports fan you won't miss Cable TV at all. I haven't had it for several years and if they offered it to me for $5/month I would turn it down.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Unless you're a big sports fan you won't miss Cable TV at all.

        If your like me, I purchased a $15 digital TV antenna and I get all the local sports broadcasts. I don't miss cable TV at all.

        • I purchased a $15 digital TV antenna and I get all the local sports broadcasts.

          How would you like to miss the finals because the finals are on cable? The NHL, for example, had the third and fourth games of its 2012 Stanley Cup finals on the network formerly known as Versus.

    • by proslack (797189)

      It seems like this will compete for the Wii / casual gamer crowd (or Apple TV), especially if it isn't restricted to just games but allows any Windows 8 apps to run.

    • Well, I do prefer my TiVo to any other interface I've used, and it's far better at finding new content for me to watch. And I do have a number of shows I like to watch right away rather than waiting for them to appear on Hulu or Netflix..

      Certainly, I can torrent them at some point (again, usually a day or two later) but that's a huge pain to manage. TiVo is so much simpler.

      As such, i'll probably keep my cable and TiVo subscriptions.

    • Depending on the price (compared to a Roku) and the games, this may be a good idea for my kids' rooms. The have older TVs in there, if/when those die I expect we'll replace them with something cheap and old and wifi-less. I'm unwilling to give them full-out xbox 360s (as I want to encourage coming into the main area and interacting, playing games together etc. more than everyone shutting themselves off in their own room). We have the xbox live family plan, and though I myself have switched to a mainly PC ga
    • by El Rey (61125)

      The FUBAR thing about Hulu built into TVs and set top boxes is that they say there are titles that they have the right to stream on the web but don't have the right to stream to set top boxes, so you can't get all Hulu content on a set top box. Often the TV / box version is also Hulu Plus only (though I do subscribe to H+ currently to get it on my Roku).

      It's one of reason's I'm looking to build a HTPC in the near future (well, that and getting tired of plugging the laptop into the big screen all the time fo

    • by jittles (1613415) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @07:10PM (#42061317)
      I got an Apple TV3 precisely because I am able to buy the NHL Center Ice package for about $130 a season and watch all the games I want. Its cheaper than cable, and the quality is better than playing through a web browser. The quality is better because NHL streams HD content to the Apple TV and does stream that high of a quality over the web viewer. They also have plugins for MLB, and NBA as well. My TV doesn't offer anything but Hulu and Netflix. I wish they had an Amazon Instant Video plugin, but oh well. Maybe I just need to update my Apple TV for that. I have been hesitant to do so with hopes that they would jailbreak. Either way, a set top box will have a longer life period than a TV. I can tell you that there hasn't been a firmware update, or new plugins for my TV in over a year.
      • Not sure if it's any different with Apple TV, but one year I bought the MLB.tv subscription so I could watch games on my computer and at the time iPhone if I was traveling. Problem was if I try watching a St. Louis Cardinals game in St. Louis it was blacked out. What's the point in getting the sports subscription if I can't watch the home town team without a blackout. I'm not sure if that's changed or not, but that was one of the biggest reasons why I stuck with my Cable TV subscription was I like to wat

        • that has nothing to do with the Apple TV or the app or Apple's ability to cut the right deal....MLB has contracts with local networks and they avoid competing with them by blacking out the game for local markets.

    • The built in Apps, unless it is a google TV, are dead ends. The services you want will take for ever yo get there and updates will never happen. Set-top boxes (Google TV, Apple TV, Boxee, Roku and this Xbox TV device) get updates, have a much larger ecosystem and if tehy do it right (like Google TV) they do HDMI pass-through so you can use the device's UI as an overlay and then TV becomes an app on the device (or in the case of comcast, XBox provides you the cable service.

      I think Cable companies will look t

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why?????

    Why can't they just make an XBOX 360 with a TV Tuner built-in???

    Why????

    Why make a cheaper XBOX - by the time this XBOX TV is released the XBOX 360 will already be considered cheap???

    Why?????

    Why does Microsoft fragment their market????

    Why????

    • by dehole (1577363)

      Microsoft is expanding their ad network onto as many devices as possible. I imagine games developed for Windows 8 RT, will work on this platform. If not, well, that would be stupid.

    • Why can't they just make an XBOX 360 with a TV Tuner built-in?

      They do, sort of. I have IP-TV served up over copper wire by my Telco ("Telus Optik TV"). The infrastructure is Cisco (Scientific Atlanta) hardware running software by Microsoft. It works well, and one of the options is to use an Xbox as your set-top box. I don't, because the controller is goofy, but the option is there.

    • Why can't they just make an XBOX 360 with a TV Tuner built-in???

      Because not all shows that people like to watch are on ATSC. Monday Night Football, for example, is one of the big draws of cable over Netflix. Microsoft would have to make a separate tuner for each cable TV provider and each satellite TV provider. I don't think DirecTV and Dish support CableCARD at all, and older versions of CableCARD don't work with cable systems that have switched their lesser-watched channels to switched digital video [wikipedia.org].

      • specialty hardware is dead...TV providers will move to over the top delivery and dedicated apps for these settop boxes.

    • Why make one with a tuner at all? Over the top delivery of cable TV via an app will do away with the need for cable card.

  • by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolusNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:19PM (#42060741) Homepage Journal
    They all failed. Invariably. So what makes this one different ???
    • Microsoft already has a deal with Comcast to deliver their content over-the-top into the xbox so this device can replace a DVR from comcast and provide a better app ecosystem for entertainment....cable operators will jump all over this kind of setup because it will make it cheaper for them to deliver and support their content and they get the best of both worlds...you subscribe to fast internet service and you subscript to their cable offerings.

      • by gtall (79522)

        Microsoft + Comcast...now there's a marriage made in Heaven. I wonder which one will get to eat the knife?

        • Sorry, but the reality is that Comcast is the largest cable provider in the country. Do you expect to have cable content delivery with out cable companies?

    • by yvajj (970228)

      AT&T UVerse boxes run Windows CE. I was surprised to see this when I browsed to the details of the OS on my box.

      It runs surprisingly really well. It's an IP Based tuning system (IPTV). Currently it supports 4 concurrent streams i.e. you can record 4 streams at once (mix / match watch vs. record). This is purely limited by bandwidth. With the previous UVerse profile (before they did a firmware update), it supported 3 concurrent streams. Once AT&T bumped their profile, the box automatically supported

    • If it can actually run Windows Store (formerly-known-as-Metro) apps, that would be an interesting turn.

    • by Xest (935314)

      I don't think it's really meant to be different as such, but it's part of Microsoft's strategy.

      They want your PC to run Windows, your laptop to run Windows, your tablet to run Windows, your phone to run Windows, and your console to be an XBox. If you want a set top box, they want to make sure they offer something that integrates with everything else you have.

      It's about providing an offering for every facet of your digital life, in the hope that if you buy into one of these, you'll be more likely to buy into

  • Which means many of these games won't be backported to Windows 7. I guess it is part of the strategy to get use to use Windows 8 and Modern whether we like it or not.

    • Who said you have to use modern (metro)? the start screen is just an app launcher/search tool....remove all metro apps and do not install any metro apps and you are not using the metro UI

  • by nojayuk (567177) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:23PM (#42060775)

    MS recently announced the availability of Windows 8 Embedded in early 2013, basically a modular version of the complete Win8 system which can be pared down for devices like set-top boxes, terminals etc. to run on limited CPU, graphics and memory as required. The description of this set-top box sounds like it's going to run Win8 Embedded but as a Xbox Live content delivery system rather than being aimed at console gaming i.e. it's going to be MS TV.

    Is there really a pressing need/demand for an upgraded Xbox? Are console gamers crying out for more CPU and more graphics or are folks like MMO players satisfied with what they can see on their HD teevees right now with the current generation of consoles?

  • It's going to confuse consumers like Windows 8 RT tablets are doing now. Most consumers think that Windows RT tablets will run desktop Windows software and people will think that XBOX 360 TV RT will play XBOX games. Just saying!
    • people will think that XBOX 360 TV RT will play XBOX games.

      And people thought Xbox 360 would play Xbox games, but not all are compatible [wikipedia.org]. Nor do most PlayStation 3 consoles play PlayStation 2 games.

      • It doesn't matter because the market for backwards compatibility is a niche market. Only the most hardcore of the previous generation's fans want it, especially if it raises the price of the machine, the others who buy the system after the first couple of years...don't care. They'd rather have cheaper hardware.

        So just to let you know, the majority of folks buying 360's or PS3's this year, probably don't have large Xbox or PS1/PS2 libraries. Those who did....already have their 360's and CECH(A/B/E) PS3's

  • by hutsell (1228828) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:27PM (#42060843) Homepage

    The article was an unpleasant read. It felt as if it was really written (imho) by a marketing department; sentences that included a variety of pleasant sounding adjectives that were abstract enough to give multiple meanings to the reader -- all designed to make the product's capabilities sound impressive, important and possibly giving the mistaken impression it's a new product release (without actually saying so).

    From TFA:

    "We reached out to Microsoft for comment on its Xbox set-top box plans and the company issued the following statement:"
    "Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console life cycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the life cycle convention."

    Did I understand this correctly? It appears this could have been just as easily done with any potential product coming from any company

  • by hAckz0r (989977) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @06:30PM (#42060879)
    This must be the infamous XBox that watches the watcher to make sure they are legitimately paying for what they are watching.

    .
    Xbox team’s ‘consumer detector’ would dis-Kinect freeloading TV viewers
    http://www.geekwire.com/2012/microsoft-diskinect-freeloading-tv-viewers/ [geekwire.com]

    Maybe they will watch you to see if you are skipping out on the wonderful commercials and instantly rewind the show for you, just in case you missed something important. Or maybe they will charge you more money for their service if you don't watch at least a minimum of their intellectually challenged TV shows each day? There are lots of ways they could increase the popularity if this system, only I bet they misuse all of its capabilities to the max. After all the stupid decisions Microsoft has made in the recent past, this one is likely going to be a real dud as well.

  • The Xbox was one bright spot in an otherwise bleak product landscape. And now they're hell-bent on ruining that? They got rid of Sinofsky. When are they going to get rid of Ballmer?

  • xbox live (Score:1, Interesting)

    by kemp0master (1117575)
    why in the fuck would i pay 50 dollars a year to access netflix (which i already pay for), youtube and crackle? wtf is the syfy app that's running on xbl - other than completely useless... ps3 does it all for free. srsly m$????? srsly?????
  • If the rumors are indeed true, then this is further proof that stand-alone consoles are dying. The tabletop non-mobile console will be merged into the home TV; the portable consoles will become a tablet or an oversize smartphone. Everything will be downloaded, so while the world waits for gigabit Internet, smaller, less graphically intense games that require less minutes to download will become overwhelmingly popular.

    As for the hardware controller zealots that insist that touch is no substitute for buttons,

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      The tabletop non-mobile console will be merged into the home TV;

      What? No, of course this will not happen any time in the near future. For anything like it to happen, Android (or something similar) would have to be a viable game platform, and everybody would have to stop liking graphically intense games and get more into "Angry Birds." Neither of these are at all true. Maybe it could happen in a couple decades, but perhaps by then TVs will be passe and we'll all be watching holograms. Why are you brows

    • by Nyder (754090)

      If the rumors are indeed true, then this is further proof that stand-alone consoles are dying. The tabletop non-mobile console will be merged into the home TV; the portable consoles will become a tablet or an oversize smartphone. Everything will be downloaded, so while the world waits for gigabit Internet, smaller, less graphically intense games that require less minutes to download will become overwhelmingly popular.

      As for the hardware controller zealots that insist that touch is no substitute for buttons, think of smartphone docks where you can embed your phone should you want old-fashioned console gaming. Separate controllers are already being sold for the Xboxen, PSations and Wiis of today, so for couch potato gamers, the decision will be whether to buy a hardcore controller or simply frag the enemy with their pointy fingers.

      No, I don't like the way technologies are converging into a gadget singularity. But the writing is on the wall, or should I say LCD screen.

      Spoken like a non gamer.

  • I am wondering if such a device will be able to be used as a media center extender, and how that would tie into their strategy of allowing media center to languish and die
  • I don't get it. We don't call the PS2 or the PS3 "Playstation", We don't call the WiiU stuff Wii. Why do we call the Xbox 360 the Xbox? The Xbox was the first game console they released, not the xbox 360, yet everyone still calls it the 360. So if the new console is named Xbox 720, are we still going to call it Xbox? Even though it's the third generation and does NOT run any of the previous generation games?

    wtf people. Lets call it by it's name. Xbox 360 or the 360.

    • In short, syllables and words. The fewer the syllables the easier it is to say (and usually easier to write out too). Meanwhile if you can get it down to one word you have something you can base a brand on that will show up well in searches.

      PS3: 3 syllables, 1 word, and unique
      WiiU: 2 syllables, 1 word, and unique
      Xbox: 2 syllables, 1 word, and unique
      Xbox 360: 5 syllables, 2 words, and unique
      360: 3 syllables, 1 word, but not unique.

      The problem with "Xbox 360" is that its two words (bad for searching), and mor

  • Would I have to pay Microsoft $5 per month just to watch Netflix, like I have to with the Xbox 360?

    Nickel and diming bastards...

  • With the Mk802 / Mk808 / Ug007 out for $40-$70, we know what cheap is. It has to be way below $99.

  • MS is following when it should lead!. The Xbox is fine, competing with sub $100 media boxes is a waste of resources. Get the OS right, and I also mean right price, and it would be much better than spending resources across many products. STOP it NOW!

  • by elabs (2539572)
    Infamously, Microsoft chose not to support XNA for Windows 8 app/game development. However, XNA powers a large percentage of Xbox Live / XBLIG games. Hopefully this new device will promote the use of XNA an all Microsoft platforms.

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