Microsoft reportedly prepping 'Xbox TV'

Sources say low-cost Windows 8-powered box will stream media, play casual games

Microsoft might be working on an Xbox that doesn't play Xbox games. The Verge is attributing sources familiar with Microsoft's plans for word that the company is planning to release what it calls an "Xbox TV," a set-top box that will give users access to Xbox Live entertainment services, but will only feature limited support for casual games.

Described as part of a two-SKU next-gen strategy, the low-cost alternative to the next proper Xbox will run on Windows 8, and focus on an "always-on" experience that lets users go from sleep mode to watching their favorite shows almost instantly. The Xbox TV is expected to be out by next holiday season.

This may just be one of many upcoming steps beyond the console gaming realm for the Xbox brand. Microsoft is also reportedly interested in delivering full Xbox Live services to mobile phones, and is looking into teaming with TV manufacturers to have Xbox Live built into new sets.

This isn't the first time a two-SKU casual/hardcore approach to the next Xbox has been floated. Reports that Microsoft was considering a pared down version of the Xbox to be positioned as a set-top box perhaps with Kinect compatibility first surfaced a year ago this week. That system would supposedly leave out features like an optical drive, hard disk, and backward compatibility, all of which would be included in the more expensive Xbox SKU aimed at the core gamer crowd.

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Latest comments (7)

Another step catching up with apple and the others? It's going to have to be cheap... apple TV is only $100 and a 360 will be 200 or less AU
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange5 years ago
The Wii U already has this covered with the upcoming free app Nintendo TVii update and other features that instantly transforms any HD TV into a Smart TV.
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Cale Barnett Animator 5 years ago
Microsoft really have the upper hand going into next gen, with regards to choice of features in their upcoming console. Which business models and markets they choose to focus on could be a huge game changer for all console makers and the industry in general.
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Show all comments (7)
Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
I wish Microsoft's rumored cable tv service came thru. I would love to cancel my cable in order to pay a cheaper price to have a similiar service on my 360.
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Kevin Danaher Associate Producer, EA Mobile5 years ago
If you need a gold subscription to use this then it will 100% not work. It's bad enough I need a gold subscription to use Netflix or sky player already. I'm a gamer though and accept I get a lot for my gold subscription on that front. Casual users will not accept having to pay another subscription on top of their movie and music streaming services.

It still baffles me that they lock services down like that at all, the Xbox backbone is not handling any of what I watch on Netflix or listen to on LastFM, every other device I have in the room charges me no more to access these services, walling them off in a special garden.

Microsoft's home entertainment hub strategy has paid dividends in the last year but this is still the one policy holding them back. Gamers will buy gold anyway, so open those services for everyone or the fence sitters will stay on the fence or end up elsewhere.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
The Win 8 strategy is like the Borg. You will have no option but to be assimilated by the hive mind collective.
They have segmented the market and targeted every viable segment with a hardware or software offering.
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David Serrano Freelancer 5 years ago
Attention Microsoft: if you are actually working on this, go rogue and make the console CableCard ready.
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