Microsoft to take on Apple TV with Windows-based set top box

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A new report claims that software giant Microsoft will challenge the Apple TV and Google TV platforms when it introduces a stripped down version of Windows for set top boxes and connected TVs later this year.

Microsoft TV?

The Redmond, Wash., Windows maker is aiming to make further inroads into the connected living room this year, according to a report by the The Seattle Times.

"Microsoft's going to make a splash in this market with a stripped-down version of Windows tailored for set-top boxes and connected TVs," wrote author Brier Dudley. "The software is a version of its embedded device software, overlaid with the Windows Media Center interface, with media streaming and remote-control capabilities."

The Windows-based set top boxes will reportedly go on sale later this year and cost around $200. By comparison, the new streaming Apple TV costs $99.

In November, reports emerged that Microsoft was planning an Xbox-based streaming TV service in hopes of becoming a "virtual cable operator." At the time, sources claimed that Microsoft was at least 12 months away from launching the product.

Google TV

The Seattle Times report comes just days before the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where TV makers are expected to present the next generation of connected TVs.

Several manufacturers, however, may have had their plans delayed. According to The New York Times, HDTV manufacturers hoping to show off televisions running the Google TV software at CES have been asked by Google to hold off.

"Google has asked the TV makers to delay their introductions, according to people familiar with the company's plans, so it can refine the software, which has received a lukewarm reception," the report said. "The late request caught some of the manufacturers off guard."

After initial reviews of Google TV took issue with the platform's inconsistent interface and instability, Google has struggled to gain traction with the product. The Google TV platform has also faced resistance from the major studios, who are wary of Google cannibalizing their ad revenue.

Just a month after releasing a combination Google TV Blu-Ray device, Sony slashed its prices, suggesting that sales of the device were off to a sluggish start.

Apple TV

UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard Um sees Apple as leading the pack in the race for the "global digital living room," though Google and Microsoft have emerged as key players as well. According to Um, Microsoft's success with the Xbox and high Windows market share are the company's strong points, but the software giant lacks integration between products.

Apple is expected by a number of analysts to release an HDTV, possibly with 3D capabilities, within the next couple years.

"While Apple's commitment to the living room remains a 'hobby,' we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus, as an all-in-one Apple television could move the needle when connected TVs proliferate," said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster on Monday.

Just before Christmas, sales of the Apple TV, which began shipping in September, topped 1 million units. Wall Street viewed the milestone as a sign that Apple is positioned to become a "more material contributor and game changer in the TV space." According to Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros., the addition of an Apple TV App Store would be a major catalyst for Apple's progress into the living room.


  • Reply 1 of 155
    taniatania Posts: 63member
    i'm not at all suggesting that Apple is THE progenitor of all great ideas however why is it that when Apple is involved in a certain category of product somehow legitimizes it for bigger companies such as Microsoft, now Google, to enter even if that category of product had already existed before Apple's entry?
  • Reply 2 of 155
    Really?? I mean really??????

  • Reply 3 of 155
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member
    The content and new movie selection keeps me sending lots of cash to DirecTV. Netflix streaming is great on my Apple TV, but they haven't figured out that many people want to see a category called Recently Released in Theaters appear in the menus. Their streaming movie selections are still pretty bare.

    This is where DirecTV shines. Content. But it's a slow loading, temperamental, clumsy to operate piece of doo doo as far as the hardware/software. Any blip requires 20 minutes of sitting there while it reloads and reboots. And the remote was designed by a carpal tunnel surgeon.

    If Apple or someone else can get the right content, with the right GUI so we can find recent movies and old movies and episodes of various tv series, they'd win the jackpot. Give me something easy that plays the latest movies for cheap and it's a no brainer.

    It's too bad that Apple didn't make the Apple TV compatible with App Store apps. Some are more than appropriate for TV.
  • Reply 4 of 155
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,006member
    My (recent) memory is a little off but didn't they already do that in the early part of the decade with a product called "WebTV"? I remember seeing those things in dumpsters even just a couple years ago. I put their attempt right alongside WinCE, Microsoft BOB, and Windows ME, and of course.. the Zune.
  • Reply 5 of 155
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Another "too little, too late" half-witted effort from Microsoft... the company that crushes originality and brings tears to life.
  • Reply 6 of 155
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Windows Media Centre is not bad and neither is Xbox. MS have some experience in this area and their chances are better than Google's at least.
  • Reply 7 of 155
    leighrleighr Posts: 237member
    Ahhh.... Microsoft. The king of the "Me-to's". Customers might get a bit tired of watching a blue screen through.
  • Reply 8 of 155
    WebTV 2.0?

    About freaking time. Iv'e only been waiting for this for 15 years.
  • Reply 9 of 155
    emulatoremulator Posts: 251member
    Originally Posted by leighr View Post

    Ahhh.... Microsoft. The king of the "Me-to's". Customers might get a bit tired of watching a blue screen through.

    You are late with that joke at least 8 years.

    it's gonna be a modified XBOX anyway. And whether you take it or not, M$ have better experience in that field than Apple.
  • Reply 10 of 155
    esummersesummers Posts: 953member
    This isn't exactly a new product. It is a new version of an old product.

    It is probably in a different niche. Windows Media Center is more a competitor for devices like the Tivo. Sure there is some overlap but the strong points of each device are different. This sounds more like Microsoft is trying to make their existing product more affordable. Windows Media Center costs at least twice that now.

    Microsoft already has a real competitor to the Apple TV, it is called the Xbox. They are really competing with iTunes here. Microsoft, Sony, and Amazon all try to compete with iTunes but none of them are very close to catching up.

    Many companies do try to copy Apple, but I don't think it is the case here.
  • Reply 11 of 155
    Hey man, poor Balmer got beaten up by the board last year for failing in the smart phone market and the tablet market without really even competing. While Apple and Google sold millions of devices. Any other such failure would not be good for Balmer.

    Once Apple reached the million unit mark, it triggered an alarm in Redmond which turns on the photocopy machine. At least Balmer now has his photocopying machine focused on Apple and is prepared to at least try to compete. Balmer and the MS board are kind of late again and I don't see the infrastructure to connect to but...

    Time will tell.
  • Reply 12 of 155
    Hahaha. That's not going to end well for Microsoft :-D

    Cripes, what are those loser managers thinking? It seems like they try and fail to copy EVERY idea the past decade or two.
  • Reply 13 of 155
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Ah, Windows something something on ARM comes closer and closer.
  • Reply 14 of 155
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

    Windows Media Centre is not bad and neither is Xbox. MS have some experience in this area and their chances are better than Google's at least.

    Maybe Microsoft realises now how overkill Windows Media Center is for most mere mortals.
  • Reply 15 of 155
    wingswings Posts: 261member
    Betcha 50 bucks that the remote for Microsoft TV (or whatever they will call it) will have a minimum of 50 buttons. (As compared to the Apple TV's 7 buttons.)
  • Reply 16 of 155
    Wow, how did they ever think of that?
  • Reply 17 of 155
    Apple has a problem on it's iTunes Movie store. Probably it's origin is in the Apple "Keep It Simple, Stupid" religion, but it is very annoying : Appel iTunes almost never offer movies with the Original Soundtrack it it is not a language of the store's country. This is especially a problem internationally. For example, in Switzerland there are 4 official languages. Swiss population is also 30% from foreign origin, but Apple never offers movies having multiple language choices. And most importantly they don't offer movies in the original language: All movies are dubbed (German, French or Italian). Some french movies (Taxi4), are even only available dubbed in German.

    On public Swiss television, most movies and TV shows are dual sound-channel, meaning one can _always_ choose to hear the real actors instead of a voiceover actor. Movie theaters in Switzerland mostly offer a mix of dubbed or subtitled version with the original soundtrack. And of course DVD's all come with the original soundtracks included.

    Hundreds of comments from users on the Swiss iTunes store ask Apple to adapt its technology & infrastructure to include optional subtitles and multiple language tracks (or at least include the original movie's language). Searching for the presence of original language movies is also impossible now. It seems iTunes misses the meaning of "Version originale" / Original language.

    A facebook page "ITunesSoundTracks" was created as a discussion / pressure forum.

    If Microsoft comes or with a movie store that allows me to view a vast choice of movies on my mac with the original soundtracks, then they'll have me as a client !
  • Reply 18 of 155
    taptap Posts: 1member
    Foxtel, an Australian cable TV provider, has launched a service called Foxtel on Xbox 360.
  • Reply 19 of 155
    I am rather skeptical about these endeavors. They all think that by releasing a software and allowing companies like Toshiba and alike to do whatever they want, they can create a successful business!

    You need research on HCI and provide synced products available on the system. Last time I checked only two company were doing that, Apple & HTC in partnership with Google!
  • Reply 20 of 155
    xsamplexxsamplex Posts: 214member
    Well, when I think of intuitive, easy-to-use products, Microsoft always comes to mind.


    Actually, only a country of morons should or could care about a box for a television set anyway. I work in an office of over fifty people, and there are about two who you can talk with about classic literature, politics or history. The majority are very well versed in sports, though.
Sign In or Register to comment.