Microsoft said to be preparing Xbox TV set-top box

Xbox lite microsoft streamingIt’s becoming increasingly clear that manufacturers view Smart TV as the wave of the future, and this week brought news that Microsoft is paddling out to join the surfers. It’s board, however, looks a bit different than you might expect. The tentatively titled Xbox TV, is expected to be a pared-down, low-cost alternative to its current 360 console and is due sometime next year. 

This seems like a bit of a peculiar choice. With the Xbox 360’s prices falling, and the fact that it had been moving towards full set-top box functionality already, it’s hard to see why Microsoft would choose to release a stand-alone product, stripped of Xbox’s console gaming functionality. Still, the company believes there is a niche – occupied by casual and non-gamers – that this product will satisfy.

According to The Verge, this move may have been made with an eye on the next generation of Xbox consoles, as is part of a larger effort by Microsoft to implement “scalable architecture,” that will work with a broad swath of personal media devices (phones, tablets, TVs, etc.)

News of Xbox TV preparations certainly isn’t surprising, as Microsoft has been quietly hiring engineers, and soliciting TV services, channels, and partnerships. It is, however, intriguing. Even more so in light of a reports that indicate the release of an Apple TV could be “imminent,” and a BGR report that Nintendo’s TVii service will go live in December. Looks like we’re dealing with a bit of a gold rush here. Perhaps all the hype and hyperbole surrounding Smart TV has been justified. If the tech were a flash in the proverbial pan, it would be due to start dimming. Instead, it appears to be brightening.