back to article Microsoft said to be building Apple TV adversary

Microsoft has an Apple TV-style set-top box in its labs, it has been claimed. The gadget it said to be an inexpensive Windows 8-based unit designed to provide access to Xbox Live entertainment services and run casual games rather than major releases. XTV "Multiple sources" who claim to be close to the matter say the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *cough* Zune *cough* Kin *cough*

    1. Watashi

      Yeah, but...

      With the Zune and the Kin, MS were trying to launch a device into a market that already had good products. At the moment, there is no reasonably priced wireless media streaming device that works well. If you think there is, you obviously haven't actually used an Apple TV.

      1. fiatlux

        Re: Yeah, but...

        I actually find the Apple TV (1st gen) great and even managed to convince some of my relatives to buy one.

        Great to listen to one's iTunes music library, to watch one's slideshows and it has a decent VOD service (cheaper than my cable operator service, and much simpler to use).

        Admittedly, it is not the right box to use to watch ripped videos and downloaded MKVs, but I doubt that's what MicroSoft intends to deliver.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, but...

          MS Media Centre... I still have the fairly civilised Media Centre IR remote controller that came with an old WinXP Media Centre edition desktop, and it worked with my Vista laptop that had an integrated IR receiever. I've just checked, and its in MC is in Win7 Home Premium, too.

          I seem to remember having some limited success in using a plugin to get it work with WinAmp... or maybe I'm thinking of the media controls on a keyboard.

          My memory is fuzzy, but didn't MS try and get hardware partners to make Media Centre branded kit? I know Toshiba made some MC personal media players, but there is no mention of them on the MC Wikipedia page.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Yeah, but...

        The problem with streamers is content. You have to fight with legacy monpolies that have no interest in seeing you succeed. That includes both the content and the delivery mechanism (network). While the mechanics are pretty simple, you can be starved for content.

        Any device that can be a cheap PVR client for Tivo or MCE or MythTV quickly has a leg up on any device that doesn't. The same goes for playing "legacy" content the user my have on hand.

        However the price point the market will actually bear seems to be about $100. So there's not a lot for companies to work with. Although Sage was already there a long time ago.

    2. Jurassic

      Microsoft made an iPod rival called Zune (Dead)

      Microsoft made an iPhone rival called Kin (Dead)

      Microsoft made an iPad rival called Surface (Not doing well according to Microsoft)

      Now they want to build an Apple TV rival?

      Microsoft should put more effort into their software (to make it better than it has been), and stop trying to compete with Apple's hardware.

    3. yossarianuk

      *cough* Windows 8

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 12:03

    *cough* 10+ years in the wilderness before the iPod *cough*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @AC 12:03

      are you saying all those "years in the wilderness" are the reason why the Zune and Kin project were such astonishing success stories???

  3. N2 Silver badge


    I can hardly wait for something I dont need & if I did, would have bought an entirely different product anyway.

  4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    The title is no longer required

    Still think a Raspberry Pi with XBMC is gonna be hard to beat..

    1. Ally 1

      Re: The title is no longer required

      I have to set this up soon. I'm a member of a non techy forum and there is a 15 page thread on this. Seems to be simple to set up, fast and reliable.

      Maybe an idea for a reg article?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The title is no longer required

      A ras Pi with myth would be good (for me, at least) but current wisdom is that it doesn't have the oomph, which is a shame.

    3. Synonymous Howard

      I have a RaspberryPi running XBMC (RaspBMC) and have installed CatchupTV, EyeTV and Plex add-ons ... just added a £3 IR remote control today. Tweaked the config.txt, bought the £2.40 MPEG2 hardware decoder licence and I'm even using a Class 10 SDHC card to get it to run a bit quicker.

      I would however say that the Pi is noticeably slower compared with my AppleTV2 (which I have jailbroken and added CatchupTV, Plex and XBMC etc to give comparable flexibility). However the AppleTV2 was twice the price of the Pi setup .. so for the price a RaspBMC setup is rather good.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the same Microsoft ?

    Earlier in the year, BT Vision's set top box dumped Microsoft for Linux.

    Even with the support of historic CEO-level deals and with the support of the DRM addicts in the Big Content industry, if Microsoft can't retain a customer like BT, they don't stand a chance elsewhere.

  6. TRT Silver badge

    I wonder...

    XBox is now pretty well penetrated into the living rooms of the UK and USA at least. Some kudos there for TV manufacturers buoyed on by the news that smart TVs are the new big thing, putting a games console into the TV seems a logical step... have Apple done themselves a disservice by not pursuing a games console? Perhaps it would benefit TV manufacturers to come up with a standard for a plug in "console on a card" format so that punters can pick and choose which "whatever TV" hardware they want integrated. Or even put a standard size bracket on the back to hold the boxes and a USB output from the integrated TV remote (which is really what the advantage to integration is), or provide "through" signals from the IR pickup on the front of the TV.

    1. jai

      Re: I wonder...

      would it not make more sense to put the TV in the games console?

      the games console market is already established. all those hoards of xbox owners are mostly guaranteed to upgrade to the new version anyway - but why should they then also buy another product to connect to the tv in order to stream video?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        I don't think they were talking about removing streaming TV from XBoxes of the future...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder...

      Slimline TV is a big selling point especially for those of us who need wallmount to avoid clutter and wasted living room space. Leaves very little opportunity to offer removable hardware as part of the set, best to aim to minimize cabling or eliminate through wireless.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...

        For which open standards exist anyway... good point. Is there an established wireless protocol for media communications? With stuff like power management, remote control signals etc? And for the video there's that super wireless thingy... WiGig.

    3. danny_0x98

      Game Console Pursuit

      Think about it. When Microsoft launched XBox, it also set up exclusive deals and bought some game design studios, because the key to the market was content and having hit titles. Microsoft paid big money to do so. Apple would have to be the fourth company chasing down and paying for brilliance in an industry where alliances go back decades. Sounds costlier. Was XBox initially profitable? Nope. Not even close. Now, these days, Apple has the money to buy into a market, and stay in for a five-ten year payback, but, with the arguable exception of television, shows zero interest in those sorts of marketing problems. AppleTV, I remind you, was always a profitable product and has sales growth.

      What has Apple done? iPhones and iPads. And developers have written games, games, and more games, all without needing a capitalization or subsidy from Apple. Console games make for more exciting game play? No matter. The mobile devices are good enough for a few minutes of diversion. Apple is selling truckloads of truckloads of the devices, people play games, and developers have a platform and market.

      Oh yes, Apple extends the iOS platform into AppleTV, and they have a game console and content and again without setting exclusivity deals or with buying designers. Incidentally, and I may be out of my depth here, the console game industry seems to be having the same sort of problems that Hollywood is. Title glut. Astronomical production costs. Difficulties in successfully bringing non-sequel titles.

      Look at it from the hungry developer's street view. If you wanted to establish your bona fides as Ace Game Designer, do you start making a console game or an Android/iOS game? Seems to me, down the road, we can expect arguments along the lines of indie vs. major label, and that is the sign of a dynamic, exciting medium.

      Back on topic, disservice? Nope. And in the corporate war rooms, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony kick themselves for continuing to have done it the hard way.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    XTC? XT-non!

    (to paraphrase Chimo Bayo)

  8. plrndl

    Blue Scream of Death?

    This sounds like the worst thing I've heard since Windows For Warships.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "XTV" is the name of the PVR platform developed by NDS, which is better known as Sky+ in the UK but goes by many other names around the world. Perhaps Microsoft should come up with their own name?

    1. Lord Voldemortgage

      Re: XTV?

      I think XTV was just the author's suggestions rather than Microsoft's announced name, wasn't it?

      Not they are beyond stuffing that sort of thing up as we saw with Metro.

  10. SpitefulGOD


    If it doesn't allow cable or satellite input I don't care.

  11. James Gosling


    It will be an astonishing success like most of Microsoft's recent ventures!

  12. Arctic fox

    "it has been claimed"

    Whilst I fully accept that you included that in your sub-heading so you cannot be accused of doing the old "Click-bait" routine on this occasion, might it not be an idea to drop "rumourmongering" based articles outside of "Boot Notes"? This is like the endless Apple rumour stories - a complete waste of time for all but dyed-in-the-wool fanbois. "Why are you reading the article then, nya, na na, nya, nya" I hear a certain section of the "Cognoscenti" howl - because I hoped, idiot that I am, that there might actually be some genuine info in the piece. I am resolved (it will be a New Year's Resolution) to try and avoid making that mistake too often in future.

    1. Arctic fox

      Re: "it has been claimed" Though I freely admit it may turn out to be a case of..........

      .........St Augustine's prayer, "Lord make me pure, but not yet".

  13. NoneSuch Silver badge

    The only thing I am considering hooking up to my TV is...

    VALVe's Steam Box

  14. Levente Szileszky

    I'm kinda confused... MS is building a new product to compete with both their own game consoles and their gazillion-selling desktop OS?

  15. ElsieEffsee

    Based on Windows 8

    So to make this semi user friendly I'm going to have to sell my current TV and buy a touch screen version so I can walk across the room to swipe fingers on a screen?

    And lets not forget that Windows Media Centre routinely refuses to play many forms of media whereas XBMC just (not allowed to swear) works.

    Acer Revo + XBMC +Steam for Monkey Island FTW!

  16. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Compete with AppleTV?

    While AppleTV might make enough money for Apple not to drop it, it isn't a hugely profitable product like the iPhone or we would be seeing twice yearly updates and more features. Maybe M$ has the killer angle on the product space that will make it loads of money, but to go head to head with an established product in a limited market, they're losing IQ points by the lorry load.

    I prefer the Western Digital media box. For what I need, it works fine.

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