Microsoft is getting into the streaming business with two “Xbox TV” devices that are expected to be announced later this month, according to The Sams Report.The software giant is expected to release details about the two new products at the E3 conference later this month at the Los Angeles Convention Center. E3 begins on June 14.
“There’s going to be a very small device, the size of roughly the Chromecast. Think Amazon Fire. So that size device,” said Brad Sams, an executive editor at Petri, an IT site with an interest in Microsoft products. “And then there’s also going to be something that’s a little bit larger. Think like a small lunchbox-type thing — maybe a little bit smaller than a large lunchbox.”Don’t expect an Xbox One crammed into a smaller streaming device, said Sams.An “Xbox TV” device would place Microsoft in a field of streaming players already being used by millions of consumers for watching Netflix, Hulu and live television through Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.
“By the year 2018, eMarketer predicts that one in five Americans won’t subscribe to a cable TV package,” according to a report earlier this month by CNBC. “That doesn’t mean that they won’t be watching TV, they will just have more ways of accessing what they want to see.”
Pricing of the two Xbox streamers are still unknown. The larger of the two devices, described by as a “super streamer, a Roku-like device”, could be between $150 and $175, according to Sams. The smaller device, described as a streaming stick, could be about $100, Sams said. The streaming stick may allow a player to stream Xbox One games from a console to a second television in their home. Assuming the larger Xbox TV uses Windows 10 software, it could potentially access universal and widely used apps like Netflix and become another vehicle for streaming live TV. It would also have access to the Windows Store, which sells apps and a wide variety of casual games.
Even on the Xbox 360, which Microsoft ceased production of last month, live streaming options are already being offered. Time Warner Cable subscribers can use an Xbox 360 to stream up to 300 live TV channels and more than 5,000 On Demand TV shows and movies through the TWC TV app.
CBS ALL ACCESS gives full episodes of primetime and late night programs and allows for live streaming in select markets. Movies are offered on the FlixFling app, and NFL Sunday Ticket gives subscribers access to out-of-market football games. The TWC app also works with Kinect for gesture and voice recognition. If Xbox TV can take such functions a step further, it would be a competitor in the voice-command remote field currently occupied by Amazon Fire TV. Amazon recently announced that it is expanding its voice-command feature in the coming weeks so it can be used on 59 more apps.
Sams said Microsoft is also dabbling with 4K “video playback,” and that Xbox is going to start being pitched more as a platform in the months ahead.
Thinking about cutting the cord? See how I did it in the Getting Started section of The Cord Cutting Report. For more ideas about hardware, check out the CCR’s Watchlist.