There are rumors that Microsoft will introduce a video streamer box at CES this year:
I think that this could be a pretty good product that I would like. I think that this could be something that would help simplify my setup.
Here is what I hope the announcement will be:
- The box will be about the size of a Roku or Apple TV
- It would run a version of Windows that has been stripped to only allow Windows Media Center to run.
- Windows Media Center already supports Netflix streaming
- Windows Media Center plugins would still be allowed to run
- This would help prevent software conflicts
- The box would automatically update itself from Microsoft’s servers
- These devices would also be Media Center Extenders
- This would allow you to buy a few of them for a house, and be able to watch the same content in all rooms.
- There would be two SKUs. One with a hard drive for content, and one that would only stream content from other sources.
- The SKU with the hard drive would allow the user to store content, and playback from the local hard drive.
- These would also support Zune Marketplace to get access to video and audio content (as the Xbox 360 does).
- These devices would also be UPnP AV client.
- These would support USB or UPnP TV tuners, to allow viewing or recording (for the SKU that has the hard drive) of TV content.
Since Microsoft already has the Xbox, this device would need to be cheaper than the existing versions of the Xbox. I would think that the version without the hard drive would be $100, and the version with the hard drive would be $200.
It would be great to be able to access Microsoft’s Xbox Live service with this type of device. But since, they probably wouldn’t want to cannibalize their Xbox sales, here is my thoughts:
- This device could enable the party viewing of videos, as is possible in the Xbox 360
- License OnLive’s technology.
- With this (and an extra controller), a user would be able to play any of their purchased Xbox Live Arcade or Xbox On Demand titles.
- This shouldn’t cut into sales of the Xbox 360 as:
- Would be required to be connected to the Internet to play games, even single player games
- This would only work where the devices is close enough to the Xbox Live server, and would need a fast enough broadband connection.
- Retail games wouldn’t be able to be played on this device.