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CES 2011:Microsoft Making Another Run At The Settop Box?

Sections: HTPC, Source components, Streaming, Video, Video servers

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According to Business Insider, Wednesday’s keynote from Microsoft will include a presentation with a new Windows Media Center box to take on Apple TV and Google. Previous attempts at Windows Media Extenders have been quite frankly a flop. They cost too much and relied on an always-on Windows Media Center PC to access content. Presumably built on some form of Media Center 7 and possibly some of Intel’s snazzy new integrated chips, this new effort could potentially succeed where GoogleTV has failed.

Due to their Xbox Live and Zune services, Microsoft already has relationships with content providers to quickly move their content onto the service. Pre-existing hooks and plugins, as well as free content feeds, are already coded and just need to be dumped and shipped for their PC platform. This is where Google has made their biggest mistake: they simply assumed that if you build it they will come. If Microsoft can use their existing cable box emulator programs designed for XBox 360, and allow this doohickey to replace those boxes, or at least access cloud-based DVR that providers like Comcast and Verizon are implementing, all for a reported price of $200, this starts to look like a serious competitor. The biggest x-factor is how many external media formats they want to support (hint guys: AVI, MP4, MKV, and FLAC should be mandatory).

Of course, all of this is speculation at this point, but given the moves Microsoft has been making on the Xbox the past few years, Apple TV’s limitations, and Google’s stumbling start, it looks like the field’s ripe for a picking. Could the third time be the charm, or is this just another faceplant? Time will tell.

Source: [Business Insider]

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