Microsoft’s Xbox TV May Never Get Past Prototype Phase

By | 3 years ago 

About a month ago it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Microsoft would not only unveil a new console (the Xbox Infinity, Durango, Xbox 720…something) alongside a dedicated set-top TV-ready device. However, as we near Microsoft’s May 21st event, those rumors seem less and less likely.

According to the most recent report, Microsoft has been testing out an Xbox TV device — even going so far as to create a prototype — but they are not ready to bring it to market. In fact, although Microsoft is tinkering around with an Xbox TV, there’s no guarantee it will actually become a thing.

The scoop comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal (via Joystiq), who claims that Microsoft’s set-top box is in the prototype phase. So far, the publisher has been able to get the device to use Kinect for media navigation, which coincides with a lot of the rumors out there.

Of course, the most interesting element to the report is the fact Microsoft might never roll out this Xbox TV. The WSJ‘s anonymous source doesn’t indicate why, but perhaps that has something to do with the next-gen Xbox.

For quite a while now, Microsoft has been bolstering their media-streaming services on the Xbox by including services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and ESPN right on the dashboard. With each new addition, Microsoft was slowly turning the Xbox 360 into more than just a game console.

Perhaps when Microsoft unveils the Xbox Infinity, they will showcase a device that doesn’t just play games, but includes many of the features consumers expected from the Xbox TV. In other words, if Microsoft can revamp Xbox Live to the point it becomes a worthwhile cable replacement, why would they need a dedicated device?

That being said, there is still the possibility Microsoft will unveil a cheaper device, maybe even an add-on for the Xbox Infinity that replicates those cable-ready features. And with talk of a subscription plan circulating, it would be as if Microsoft became the cable provider.

For now, though, it’s all a waiting game until Microsoft’s event later this month. Then, and only then, can we start putting the rumor mill pieces together.

Do you think Microsoft will eventually unveil the Xbox TV? Would you ditch your cable box if your home console also supported TV?

Source: Wall Street Journal (via Joystiq)