It’s no secret that Microsoft has been in cahoots with pay-TV providers for quite some time to bring their services to Xbox, and help the cable industry evolve. One of the biggest ongoing expenses for cable companies is the constant deploying, upgrading, replacing, and repairing of their cable boxes, and that they would love to eliminate that part of their business.
It’s been long-rumored that a subsidized Xbox 720 was in the cards for next year, coupled with cable contracts, but now there’s a sign that there will be new options in the works.
Microsoft is building an Xbox set-top box. Multiple sources familiar with Redmond’s plans have confirmed to The Verge that the company plans to introduce a low-cost alternative to its Xbox console, designed to provide access to core entertainment services. The move will allow Microsoft to further increase its presence in the living room, providing consumers with a choice between a set-top box or a full next-generation Xbox console.
Such a device would likely be a version of the Windows RT hardware created specifically to provide media services and light gaming, similar to what was done with Android tablets to create the Ouya. This would allow Microsoft to share code among many different devices, and would also give them something to sell to cable companies, since there’s already apps for the major providers that lets you use your Xbox as a cable box ready to go.
Microsoft’s goal for the next generation — as demonstrated in the spread of their SmartGlass, which has already gotten high praise for its media management abilities and features across all major mobile platforms — is to put themselves everywhere they possibly can so that people have constant access their services. It’s an anti-Apple strategy: make the best open-ended experience on the home hardware, but make sure that everyone can give you money. With Windows 8 pretty much stalled out the gate, they need to do something, and maybe after people have an X-Cablebox, and media on Xbox services, they’ll be more open to products like Windows Phone 9 or the Xbox 1440 in the future.
Via: [The Verge]