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182 comments

Sure (4, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759092)

Once again MS arrives late to the party with an offering that likely won't offer enough to be competitive. Good ol' MS: Reactive rather than proactive.

Re:Sure (1, Insightful)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759250)

You mean like they did with the Xbox?

Re:Sure (2)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759384)

Also, since Xbox already has somewhat relevant online TV capability, Microsoft has a good starting point. The most important thing is also that Microsoft will most likely work with TV companies to bring the content on the system, unlike Google TV which just tried to stream it all for free.

Microsoft actually has a good change in succeeding bringing this product to market, if they succeed competing with Apple TV.

Re:Sure (2)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759582)

Google tried to organize what was being published by the content owners. The content owners want to negotiate different types of deals for different clients which seems a bit silly to me. Do you think it makes sense to stream to Flash clients that report themselves as a IE plugin but deny streaming to Flash running on a PS3 (for example)?

Re:Sure (1)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759654)

Yes it makes sense, because there might be a lot of different contracts in the way or they need to get the advertising dollars in right way. We all like to have everything for free, but you can't just ignore what the content producers need.

Re:Sure (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759948)

What they need is to get their heads out of their asses. NEWSFLASH ASSHOLES: the computer that I watch hulu on is connected to my HDTV over HDMI and there is nothing you can do about it. It reports Firefox because it is firefox, just modified so it has a reasonable 10 foot interface.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759628)

Considering how few people bothered with Apple TV I might argue that they are all competing with the likes of Boxee and Roku rather than Apple...

Re:Sure (0)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759764)

The original post reads: "Once again MS arrives late to the party with an offering that likely won't offer enough to be competitive." The Xbox offered enough to be competitive, though that's becoming less true with the rise of mobile devices.

Re:Sure (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759322)

Actually, from memory, they have been flogging net TV as a stupid idea and useless from when Google busted out the idea. I think that they are more likely to be "tagging along... just in case" rather than thinking it really is a good product to try.

To me, it is along the lines of "Lets make Bing to combat Google." and "Lets make the Zune to combat iPods.". I think it is arriving too late and with too little - not to mention that it really isn't in their core product offering. They didn't get to where they are by making hardware and these types of products, they got there by making software that anyone could install on their own hardware. Apple is the lot making hardware - and even when Google decided to start crashing the MS operating system party, they did so by making it for phones first rather than trying to compete head on.

My guess is that this will be an expensive learning experience for MS. It isn't a totally new market, Google has product, Apple has product, it's not like when Apple plopped out an iPod that had zero competition and had a bull market.

Re:Sure (1)

Jose (15075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759326)

yep, defintely late to the party. *cough* WebTV [about-the-web.com] *cough*

yea, OK some different functionality..but the idea was there. and yes, they bought a company to make it happen.

This one could make it though..MS tends to not get things right until the second patch to the 3rd release of their code..

Re:Sure (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759346)

Hey! I hear Zune is really nice (and at least one people will reply to this confirming it). And heck, at last count, Zune was coming in with 1% of the market share [businessinsider.com].

I had to check to be sure, but yeah, apparently Zunes still exist [zune.net]. I think Microsoft just thinks it would be too embarrassing to discontinue their, ahem, iPod-killer.

Re:Sure (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759414)

Eh I don't know. They have this one device that's in quite a lot of homes called the XBox, a related network that makes a ton of money, and existing delivery already in place (Netflix, Hulu, etc). I would not count them out. In fact they are probably way ahead of Google and Apple if anything.

Re:Sure (5, Informative)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759714)

Once again MS arrives late to the party with an offering that likely won't offer enough to be competitive. Good ol' MS: Reactive rather than proactive.

Not entirely accurate. Microsoft has went to this party before, and been "kicked out" before. This is just their most recent attempt. WebTV (launched 1996, bought by MS in 1997) being one such attempt. Followed by Windows Media Center. Followed by a "new and (un)improved" WebTV, followed by updated Windows Media Center, followed by even more Windows Media Center releases (in total, since and including launch, release/versions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, Vista, Windows 7, and TV Pack 2008), xBox Media Center somewhere in that timeline, Portable Media Center for things like the Zune and so on.

Maybe this time they will succeed. The point above isn't slamming Microsoft. My point is you aren't quite correct in blaming Microsoft for being reactive instead of proactive. They were one of the first companies that saw the worth of this marketplace (even if they didnt figure out how to capitalize on it). Often it's hard to START a marketplace. Now, Microsoft has the advantage of seeing what's working for other companies in this marketplace. Thus my point is, it is NOT fair to claim they are reactive in this situation. They saw the potential gains of such a scenario when they purchased WebTV and later released WMC. They simply didnt know how to approach the market properly.

Now, it (if they want to succeed) will be a combination of their previous proactive attempts at Online TV plus a reactive look at ensuring their next offering addresses the needs, concerns and desires of those consumers who enjoy and use GoogleTV, AppleTV and NetFlix.

Further in Microsoft's defense, the technology has advanced light years since WebTV, making this marketplace a lot more attractive to the disaster that the initial WebTV boxes provided. And one step even further in that direction of defending them (at least for WebTV), besides the fact that the hardware was light years behind today's, WebTV and it's nightmare was an acquisition. MS did indeed try to rectify a lot of the issues with it, and in many cases definitely did so. But still ran into hardware limitations. Yes, there were still mistakes MS made in not judging what the majority of the marketplace wanted or needed, but my point is, it still would have been unlikely for them to succeed at THAT time (due to hardware and bandwidth limitations), even if they avoided their other mistakes.

Re:Sure (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760392)

You know, TV used to be simple. You brought one home, you plugged it into the wall, hooked up an antenna, and you had your choice of three stations (maybe four, if you had one of those "educational" channels"). And although most of the programming wasn't stellar (Mr. Ed, I'm looking at you!), it was at least something that had pictures along with the sound.

The came color TV. Again, simple... Well, sometimes people looked a little too orange or green, but you know, Star Trek made green chicks sexy.

Then along came cable. A bit more complex, but since most of the installation work was done by "the cable guy" (even though you did have to wait the entire day for him), it was still understandable - you changed the antenna connection to a connection to a box installed and owned by the cable company. So now you had thirty or forty channels, even though you had to suffer with two remotes (and they fixed that when the "cable ready" TVs came out) - but you still had a lot of the stuff that was worth watching.

But TV started dying the day the video recorder came along. Sure, you could rent a movie from the local video outlet (Porn even!), and look at it. And, if you were smart enough, you could even figure out how to set the time right and record a TV show that you might not be home for. However, you now had (at least) two remotes, figuring out how to get signals from the VCR to the TV and from the cable to both of the units, and things were not so simple. But when you got all this stuff hooked up, you noticed that the number of items you actually wanted to watch on TV weren't quite as large as it had been.

And then came DVDs. But, since there were still things available only on tape, you had to figure out how to hook up the DVD player to the rest of your system. You needed a TV with multiple video inputs. And now you had three remotes. Or maybe you sprang for one of the "universal" remotes, which were never quite as universal (or easy to program) as they claimed to be. So now you might have three or four remotes which you had to futz around with for five minutes before you got everything going right. But oddly enough, the number of TV shows you actually wanted to watch was diminishing at an alarming rate (not that you ever saw the beginning of any of them, because you were futzing with the remote).

Of course, along the way we bought TVs with larger screens. Some folks had projectors put into their houses so that their living rooms started looking like theaters. In fact, said the equipment execs, "TV is not enough! You must have a Home Theater System!" And so it was said; and so it was done (though to be honest, the sound coming out of our old TV systems was getting a little tinny). So we bought 5.1 surround systems, which needed to be "integrated" into our current systems (because simply "hooking up something" was long behind us). And, lo! For our efforts we were rewarded with... another remote! But oddly enough, the home theater seemed to sit silent much of the time, because by then, we had gotten laptops and, save for the occasional movie that we rented (which, to be fair, were often watched by ourselves on the laptop), there really wasn't anything to watch on TV.

I've left off a lot of other stuff, like DVRs, internet-ready TV, etc. But the reality is this - people long for the simplicity of the old days of the TV. They want to bring home a single box, make a minimal number of connections to it (hopefully, at most, a cable connection and a few speakers) and watch movies, TV shows, a video from the internet and (occasionally) time shift and/or save these items for later perusal. And they want one (eins, uno, ichi) remote that controls it all. Given the current level of media integration, it should not be difficult for someone to provide this. But it seems to elude most of the equipment manufacturers and/or content providers.

But, all of this being said, if something like this would come together, I'd expect it from Apple first, Sony (when partnered with a cable provider) second and, from Microsoft, about fiftieth. And Microsoft would still screw it up by trying to put a Windows UI on it...

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760108)

Actually last I checked they were first to the party with Windows Media Center which has been out almost a decade.

Ready to "take on" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759116)

Ready to take on the goatse [goatse.fr] man, and loose.

Netflix (2, Interesting)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759136)

Are any TV solutions relevant now that Netflix is streaming? Granted, they don't stream everything, but that library seems to be growing.

Many new TVs have Netflix interfaces built right in. What's the point of these other solutions?

(And doesn't Microsoft make a set top box... Um, the Xbox??)

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759434)

Media Center supports Netflix so this probably will too. Also, WP7.

Now please get

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759452)

Uh... that is, now please get Netflix working on Android & Google TV! I can hope, right?

Film and TV studios require DRM (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759856)

Virtually all film and TV works that Netflix owners demand are copyrighted to studios that require digital restrictions management. Unlike Xbox 360, iOS, and presumably Windows Phone, Android has no unified framework for digital restrictions management. So Netflix has to code to each manufacturer's DRM API.

Re:Film and TV studios require DRM (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759984)

Or they could just give in to reality. No one is going to rip the streams you send to the tv or the phone, they rip blu-rays you nitwits. If they did want to rip these streams they could just capture it off the HDMI anyway since HDCP is a freaking joke.

Re:Film and TV studios require DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759998)

Not totally true. Some Galaxy S phones (maybe all; haven't personally looked) support the same Microsoft DRM Silverlight uses.

Re:Netflix (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759438)

I see them as cable box replacements, for when you don't watch much or the shows you want are easily available on services like Hulu (which they would have to let you access). The problem with Netflix is that most TV shows are months late (although I think they just inked a deal with someone to improve that).

I don't think this category of devices is there quite yet, it's a little ahead of the market at the moment.

Re:Netflix (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759682)

They lack the functionality of an OTA DVR, which would make them the true cable box replacement. The ability to record OTA is apparently not what anyone (aside from me) wants unfortunately.

Re:Netflix (1)

rogabean (741411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759746)

You aren't the only one. I have a Windows 7 Media Center that does just this. OTA DVR. If one of these "boxes" could get that functionality I'd jump on it it quickly.

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760124)

They lack the functionality of an OTA DVR, which would make them the true cable box replacement. The ability to record OTA is apparently not what anyone (aside from me) wants unfortunately.

Oh, people want it - but CableCard is so colossally fucked up (thanks to the cable companies) that no sane manufacturer would want to deal with the support hassles. That's why you see DIY stuff supporting it, but no off-the-shelf solution.

Re:Netflix (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759946)

I see them as cable box replacements, for when you don't watch much or the shows you want are easily available on services like Hulu (which they would have to let you access).

The TVs that stream Netflix also stream Hulu (at least, Sonys do).

Except it's Hulu Plus, which is similar to Hulu, except some content is missing and you have to pay a monthly bill for it. But I doubt Hulu Plus will be any more attractive through Microsoft than Sony.

Re:Netflix (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759446)

Are any TV solutions relevant now that Netflix is streaming? Granted, they don't stream everything, but that library seems to be growing.

Many new TVs have Netflix interfaces built right in. What's the point of these other solutions?

Well, they potentially make money for the competitor, rather than Netflix, which is a powerful motivator for producing solutions that aren't Netflix.

Aside from the very huge flaw that these solutions are typically hardware based rather than installable in commodity hardware, the other point is that there is competition, which I view as extremely healthy. I don't want my choices limited to only Netflix - I want to be able to choose from a healthy selection of other streaming providers. That forces Netflix to become better, and it increases the odds that one of the competitors comes up with a service that's better than Netflix, or at least better for me. The more the merrier, IMHO.

Re:Netflix (1)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759506)

Netflix aside, those new TVs have support for apps in general. Why not just add a Microsoft/Google TV app? These new set top boxes seem dated before they're even out. Google should apply the android model to TVs.

Unknown sources on new TVs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759890)

those new TVs have support for apps in general.

But who is authorized to develop applications for these televisions? Do they all have the equivalent of Android's "Unknown sources", or do some TV makers shut it off like AT&T does on its Android phones?

Re:Netflix (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760092)

Netflix aside, those new TVs have support for apps in general. Why not just add a Microsoft/Google TV app? These new set top boxes seem dated before they're even out. Google should apply the android model to TVs.

GoogleTV isn't an app, it is Android for TVs (including a plan to roll-out support early this year for apps from the Android Market.) Just as Android normally comes installed on a device, it comes installed on TVs. It also can be run on set-top boxes using the TV as a display device (this is a cheaper option for those with an existing TV, since you don't have to replace the TV.)

Suggesting that GoogleTV -- which is really Android for TVs -- should made available as an app for the other "smartTV" platforms is like suggesting that Google should make Android available as an iPhone app.

Re:Netflix (1)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760204)

Hmmm, interesting. I wonder if that's why my Samsung youtube app is so crappy. Google doesn't want to compete with themselves. It's too bad I was forced into getting a new TV this year. I would have loved the ability to develop my own TV apps. In another 5 years, I may not even need my HTPC.

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759658)

I love my XBOX. But I just bought an apple tv. XBOX is just way too loud, and has a finite amount of running time. SEE red ring of death. I'm already on my second motherboard.
Apple tv is $100. Quiet as can be, and can play anything I put into itunes. I can control it from ANY remote control as well as an iphone/ipod/ipad.

What's microsoft going to call theirs???? ZUNE TV?

Re: Why... (1)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760128)

I have a MythTV that is somewhat of a time hog because I am constantly tweaking and updating it as part of a home server, when I should leave well enough alone. I use the MythTV more (but only slightly more) than my Roku Netflix player. Netflix lets me watch TV series on premium channels I don't subscribe to like Showtime (though a year late). But for watching current TV series, on major networks, time-shifted, and with the advertisements automatically cut out, nothing beats Myth (or other advanced DVR).

Re:Netflix (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760176)

Competition. Right now Netflix service is fantastic, in large part because their survival as a company depends on them being very good. If Microsoft/Apple/Google/Boxee/Hulu/Roku/etc all decide that they don't want to try anymore and let Netflix have the whole market, there is no incentive for Netflix to improve or even maintain their product at a reasonable price. As a happy Netflix subscriber, I want there to be as many competitors as possible to keep them honest so I can _stay_ a happy subscriber. And I do use several of those other services, so relative quality does affect my usage and if Netflix doesn't stay competitive I won't stay subscribed.

The more competition, the better (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759140)

If MS has something like all-you-can-watch video similar to the all-you-can-download subscription system for the Zune, it might be something worth considering.

However, why does MS need a TV set top box? They already have one... the XBox 360.

Re:The more competition, the better (1)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759252)

However, why does MS need a TV set top box? They already have one... the XBox 360.

Probably because a lot of people don't want a "Gaming Device", they just want to watch TV. I know a lot of people that this would be a good fit for.

If the price is right and it's open enough (i.e. I can play what ever media I want on it), then it should do well assuming the price is right. If they restrict it to say only MS formats, then it's not going to make any headway.

Re:The more competition, the better (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759298)

Rename the basic XBOX 360 Slim to "Microsoft WEB TV, with Gaming". Add the HD and controllers later to upgrade it to XBOX if you want.

Re:The more competition, the better (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759572)

Throw in a powerful fan, and price it up at about £50 and I'm in!

The more TV, the better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759282)

Perhaps because a game console is geared more for, you know...games. There are formats that the Xbox 360 doesn't play. There's also the issue of noise and reliability. Not to mention user interface.

Re:The more competition, the better (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759478)

If MS has something like all-you-can-watch video similar to the all-you-can-download subscription system for the Zune, it might be something worth considering.

However, why does MS need a TV set top box? They already have one... the XBox 360.

And this thing still left over from the 90s: http://www.webtv.com/pc/ [webtv.com] Still looks like it belongs in the 90s with the big, ugly keyboard and the CRT 4:3 TV.

Even a non-microsoft apologist like myself can give MS credit where credit is due. They have persistance as if no one else on the planet has even heard of it. They can continuously throw engineers at horrible products until they become usable or even comperable if not even superior to other products (DirectX comes to mind).

I too welcome competition. Especially from Microsoft, because they have such a known brand. Its an uphill battle for them though, because they cannot seem to make things simple enough for embedded devices like TVs.

Re:The more competition, the better (1)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759502)

The XBox360 has potential as a set-top box, but Microsoft's business strategy really undermines it. To watch Netflix on it, you have to subscribe to XBox Live, even if you have no interest in online gaming. Meanwhile a network-enabled Blu-Ray player is half the price, has no recurring costs, and can play Blu-Rays. I'm not sure if any have as good of a DLNA client as the 360, but there's no reason they couldn't. The 360 is nice if you want to play games, but in a purely media box role, there are better options out there.

Re:The more competition, the better (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760040)

I know of one in the market that supports DNLA, has no reoccuring costs to play netflix, plays blurays and also plays games. I think sony makes it, playstion 3 or something like that.

What competition? (2)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759574)

The Zune gave no competition to the iPod. The Kin gave no competition to any phone. The Windows phone isn't giving any real competition. Hell, why are we talking about MS and competition? They didn't even compete with Windows and DOS! They stifled competition rather than compete with it.

Microsoft's corporate culture doesn't know how to compete. In fact it's funny you mention the xbox 360, because Microsoft is so bad with competition that they just created something that will compete with their own product!

Re:The more competition, the better (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760188)

However, why does MS need a TV set top box? They already have one... the XBox 360.

I find the fan on the 360 a bit too loud. I don't really want to have to turn the volume on my TV up just to drown out the whir from my set top box.

Re:The more competition, the better (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760374)

Well if they could make an Xbox360 cheaper by getting rid of the gaming components and focusing on video offerings (Hulu Plus, Netflix, etc), then maybe it would make enough additional sales to warrant development.

Re:The more competition, the better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760540)

They need one that doesn't catch fire.

Re:The more competition, the better (1)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760542)

They already have one... the XBox 360.

And I can get one cheaper than $200 brand new (~$130 CAD for a 4GB unit). If they pull the optical drive and provide a remote and no controllers.. then why would it be more than an xbox 360?

My bet (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759148)

A sluggish box built of mediocre parts, running a new "Windows 7 Home Center Edition" that really wants 2 GB but only get 1 GB. Shipping from Samsung at the time of CES 2011! Can play anything, such as Windows Media Video and DivX, although users of FLAC, Ogg, or other "obscure formats" are out of the picture. People start wondering why they can't just as well buy a Boxee and be much better off for a similar price, and Steve Ballmer has no answer to that.

Re:My bet (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759498)

Here's my bet: A box with a fairly conservative design, maybe available with different fronts to blend more neatly into your living room interior. Of course, those would cost extra, it comes with a simple, flat brown front.

It will take about 3-5 minutes for the box to finish booting and will require some kind of rather complicated authorization and verification process before you can use it the first time to make sure it's a genuine product. Now, one might wonder, why this is necessary, but since it's running a Media Center Edition of Win7, that pesky registration process could not be patched out easily without pretty much giving away how to do it in Win7 as well, it was left in and is redubbed "personalization" of the box. The goodie you get for it is that your settings will be stored online, just in case you have to replace your box one day and want to use your settings. This will be considered a neat feature until people notice that by the time they could replace that box, a new version will be out that is incompatible with their settings and no converter exists.

It will have a network jack and it will require an internet connection to operate (obviously). You will have to open about half the ports on your router and forward it to the box, or it simply will not work. MS will recommend connecting the box directly to the internet with a dedicated IP address. Yes, even for functions that have nothing to do with the internet.

Of course you cannot access "the internet" directly, because that would, of course, be far too dangerous. To keep you safe from trouble and malware, MS will provide a "Microsoft TV network", at a fairly affordable fee per year. You can spend more for more advanced membership options that also allow you additional features, like doing something but watching TV with your MSTV.

And so on, simply take what MS has done so far and extrapolate, I'm sure you can do it just as well as me.

WMC??? (2)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759162)

I have my own "internet" box that also run cable. The total cost of the entire system to build? About $200 or $300. It is a pc with Windows 7 on it and it uses Windows Media Center. Why would they try to push out more hardware when the software company already has a solution? I guess it seems like a waste or resources to me. They could be working on security for Windows 7 or getting more people working on stuff for IE9 or something. There is absolutely no need for a Microsoft set top box when for the same price any reasonably intelligent person can build a small pc with W7 on it and just use WMC instead

Re:WMC??? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759206)

Well, I suspect that this set top box will be locked down and have direct access to various "stores" and such. Depriving the user of control is all the reason they need to pursue something more than simply using existing solutions like building an HTPC or plugging your TV into your existing PC.

Re:WMC??? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760034)

Depriving the user of control is all the reason they need

Depriving the user of control allegedly makes technical support easier, as it's harder for the end user to fcuk something up.

solutions like building an HTPC

Only geeks build their own PCs, let alone HTPCs [pineight.com]. It's not like I can walk into a Best Buy and walk out with something marketed as an HTPC.

or plugging your TV into your existing PC.

A set-top box is more likely to have SDTV outputs and analog YPbPr component video for use with a "television" monitor as opposed to a "computer" monitor, and it's more likely to already be in the same room as your television.

Re:WMC??? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759246)

I agree. I don't get why they have to present a "device" for this when they can just spend their resources on a "WMC 2011".

Maybe they want some of Apple's entertainment device market share cake. :p

Would be quite a shift in business if they start building more MS-branded devices though...

I want my MTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759204)

I want my, I want my, I want my M$ TV.
I want my, I want my, I want my M$ TV.

Now look at them yo yo's, that's not the way you do it
You don't watch the Internet on the M$ TV
That ain't workin, that's not the way you do it
Money for nothing and your netflix arn't free
Now that ain't workin', that's not the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

Dear Microsoft, (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759242)

Seriously, stop trying to be cool. Your software was originally marketed toward professional desktop computing, giving you an image of the professional dad. Your trying to be cool makes you look like the old dad who tries too hard to compensate for a life with little to show for it. You have chosen your path, and you have given the world some pretty awesome things - look at windows (haters can hate, but you have to give credit considering the sheer volume of its install base), look at the xbox. Just stop trying to be trendy and hip; pick something and do it damn well. How can someone like me who has a BA in psych have better business savvy than you? Sincerely,

Matty

Re:Dear Microsoft, (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759564)

I'm guessing you've never used Windows Media Center with XBox (old or 360) as an extender.

It is simply put the best DVR system on the planet for the home.

You get complete control over your TV, you get the ability to burn to DVD as DVD movies anything you record so you can use it elsewhere. You can archive your videos if you want.

I have the ability to record or watch live 8 HD or SD streams at a time while watching them on the local display, another Windows PC or any of my XBox 360s. Or I can watch any combination of live and recorded across my systems. Or listen to my music, watch my home videos.

The interface is fast and looks good. It supports plugins so you can do stuff like commercial removal if you want, but its almost pointless to bother with since the 'skip forward' feature is exactly 30 seconds and makes commercial skipping almost instinctual with the remote in hand.

The only thing that prevents WMC from being perfect is the fact that cable companies encrypt their content rather than filter it from entering the home so for premium channels you need STBs from your provider. My solution is to simply ignore those channels, and the cable co can ignore the money they could have had in the process.

In short, I'm sure MS is perfectly capable of pulling this off, they already have, you just haven't heard about it before now.

Take a look at WMC, it makes others DVRs look like a joke.

And before anyone tries to mention MythTV ... don't. Seriously, its only useful if you would rather spend your time screwing with it to get it to work at all rather than watching recorded shows. Forget about using it like a normal TV, its architecture makes the lag in user input to system response completely unbearable. Its a joke all on its own.

Re:Dear Microsoft, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759648)

The interface [...] looks good.

No, it looks like a Microsoft product!

Re:Dear Microsoft, (2)

ArcCoyote (634356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759964)

Don't forget CableCARD and the new Ceton tuner. 4 digital cable channels from one card, no additional fees from your cable company.

That is the real advantage of WMC: provider support.

No one else can do CableCARD. Not yet anyway. There is no reason MythTV couldn't record from a CableCARD tuner, at least for unprotected programs. As a matter of fact, it works almost exactly like the HDHomeRun tuner...

And before anyone spews Cheetos all over their keyboard and rants about how everything recorded from CableCARD is evil DRM-this-and-that.. CableCARD tuners only apply DRM if the content is flagged as protected. The only channels I see any copy-control bits applied to are the premium networks like HBO... which I don't care about. Most non-clear-QAM channels such as Discovery HD, SciFi HD, TNTHD are recorded with no protection at all.

Re:Dear Microsoft, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759972)

It's sad to see people who failed at MythTV settle for 2nd, or 3rd or Xth best.

When Food Network is a premium channel (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760082)

cable companies encrypt their content rather than filter it from entering the home so for premium channels you need STBs from your provider. My solution is to simply ignore those channels

Then everything but the local channels must be "premium" because Comcast encrypts everything in my home town.

and the cable co can ignore the money

Not if they're already getting my money for Internet access.

.MKV (1)

Bioxoxide (1970598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759376)

When MS adopts .MKV file container I'll give it mind share.

Re:.MKV (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759440)

Really? You won't look at MS because of a video container? Honestly, that's pathetic.

Re:.MKV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759586)

Really? You'll accept whatever proprietary, locked in, DRM-infested, short lifespan manure that MS shovels down your throat? "Pathetic" doesn't cover it. Moo!

Re:.MKV (1)

dotwhynot (938895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759646)

When MS adopts .MKV file container I'll give it mind share.

Default support would certainly be nice, but you can play .MKV on Windows 7, also in MCE, quite easily with the codec from DivX.

Can MS push the ISP not to cap / slow this down? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759406)

Can MS push the ISP not to cap / slow this down?

The one think they can hold over them is Windows update and how bad it can be for that to get capped or slowed down.

Hack it. (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759416)

I wonder if it make a good hacking platform. The under $200 pricetag puts it on my radar for a hacking project.

Re:Hack it. (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759486)

Wouldn't that violate your sig's Microsoft-free lifestyle?

Watch the hyphen (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760160)

Watch the hyphen [ytmnd.com]. A "Microsoft free lifestyle" in grandparent's signature isn't the same thing as a "Microsoft-free lifestyle". A "Microsoft free lifestyle" includes the use of free software on Microsoft platforms, and it includes the use of software under the Microsoft Public License or Microsoft Reciprocal License.

If they can deliver network content... (1)

jfine (1938120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759476)

Netflix is great when you want to watch old content. Hulu is OK for newer content. Both suck when it comes to more specialized content, Comedy Central, SiFi, HGTV, Sports etc. If MS can crack that nut then they might have a chance. Currently I'm considering switching from OSX / EyeTV to Windows 7 Media Center because when it comes to shuttling encrypted content (ie cable card) around the house MS is the only game in town.

NO. NO, GOD, NO (4, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759614)

From a Microsoft stock holder : NO. NO, NO, NO.

Microsoft does ONE thing well : it hires thousands of competent programmers and it makes usable software. There are many critics but the stuff isn't all bad and they do try to improve it. It SELLS the software to users, and because it has so many customers, the revenue vastly exceeds the cost of paying thousands of programmers. They have a swanky corporate headquarters with all the free soda you can chug, and many many 6-figure jobs.

It's failed miserably at EVERYTHING ELSE IT HAS TRIED. As far as I know, it has not made ONE DOLLAR OF NET PROFIT ON ANYTHING ELSE.

It's wasted billions of dollars trying to compete as an online portal and as a search engine. A company crammed to the brim with top CS grads and extremely good custom software SPECIALIZES in search and basically nothing else. Expecting to ever beat them and make more money is a fool's errand.

It's wasted more billions, with little or NO net profits on gaming consoles. (MAYBE it's finally breaking even on that, but I doubt it)

And 50 other assorted ventures that never made a dime that we don't hear about.

Software is STILL a good idea. How about the executives pay dividends and focus on doing their core business WELL.

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759788)

If there's one mistake I can see Microsoft making in 2011, is losing their grip on the enterprise so much that their competitors will gain a stronger foothold there. It's long been a pretty MS exclusive zone, but these efforts on Kinect, consumer-oriented Windows Phone 7, and rumors of Windows 8 being a cloud-oriented OS sounds risky if they're still shooting for the enterprise. These guys want to control their own network, they often don't want to rely on clouds, and they want enterprise-oriented phones, not awesome Facebook integration as a priority...

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760268)

In all honesty, Windows 8 and 9 could be some kind of cloud-oriented giant middle finger to Enterprise and they wouldn't be hurt as badly as you might think. Look at the number of companies who are still using Windows XP and are only possibly considering moving to Windows 7 within the next few years, but may just skip it and wait for the next one.

There's the whole Vista debacle which people like to point to as part of the reason for so many businesses sticking with XP, but even if Vista were twice as polished as 7 is at this moment, there would still be loads of companies still running XP.

Microsoft honestly only needs one worthwhile enterprise operating system every decade, because it seems as though a large number of companies are perfectly happy with that. Microsoft could split Windows into two editions, Enterprise and Home. Home gets the bells, flash, and chrome. The enterprise edition gets quick bug-fixes, extended support, and continued performance tuning. If they're careful enough, they can keep the two versions compatible to a large extent.

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (2)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759818)

From a Microsoft stock holder : NO. NO, NO, NO.

Microsoft does ONE thing well : it hires thousands of competent programmers and it makes usable software. There are many critics but the stuff isn't all bad and they do try to improve it. It SELLS the software to users, and because it has so many customers, the revenue vastly exceeds the cost of paying thousands of programmers. They have a swanky corporate headquarters with all the free soda you can chug, and many many 6-figure jobs.

It's failed miserably at EVERYTHING ELSE IT HAS TRIED. As far as I know, it has not made ONE DOLLAR OF NET PROFIT ON ANYTHING ELSE.

It's wasted billions of dollars trying to compete as an online portal and as a search engine. A company crammed to the brim with top CS grads and extremely good custom software SPECIALIZES in search and basically nothing else. Expecting to ever beat them and make more money is a fool's errand.

It's wasted more billions, with little or NO net profits on gaming consoles. (MAYBE it's finally breaking even on that, but I doubt it)

And 50 other assorted ventures that never made a dime that we don't hear about.

Software is STILL a good idea. How about the executives pay dividends and focus on doing their core business WELL.

Yeah, no. They're making hand over fist licensing the Xbox platform to game publishers. They make money by selling virtually nothing. Who cares if they give the razor away?

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760050)

Yeah, no. They're making hand over fist licensing the Xbox platform to game publishers. They make money by selling virtually nothing. Who cares if they give the razor away?

The combined losses of the XBOX program since its inception are in the neighborhood of 7 billion dollars (with a B). On a good quarter the Entertainment & Devices division makes a 300 million (with an M) dollars profit. And they're on an upswing right now because the 360 is a mature platform. The development and marketing of next generation hardware will probably eat away at those profits (IMHO they'll start losing money again). There is no way XBOX will ever make its accumulated losses back.

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (2)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760452)

Yeah, no. They're making hand over fist licensing the Xbox platform to game publishers. They make money by selling virtually nothing. Who cares if they give the razor away?

They sank >$5B over the whole life of XBOX, and only recently started reporting >$100mil profit per quarter. Heh, Kinect alone cost them $600mil in failed experimentation (in the end they licensed third party technology, there is ZERO M$ technology in Kinect) plus another $500mil for advertising.

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (2)

Wamoc (1263324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759932)

It's wasted more billions, with little or NO net profits on gaming consoles. (MAYBE it's finally breaking even on that, but I doubt it)

Where do you get that figure from? XBox broke even a long time ago and has been churning a profit ever since.

It's wasted billions of dollars trying to compete as an online portal and as a search engine. A company crammed to the brim with top CS grads and extremely good custom software SPECIALIZES in search and basically nothing else. Expecting to ever beat them and make more money is a fool's errand.

So is a search engine not considered a piece of software now? You say that Microsoft should stick only to software, but when it comes to certain software you so they shouldn't try it. What are your thoughts on Windows Phone 7? Should it be tried because MS only wrote the software and gave specific requirements on the hardware to the manufacturers?

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760434)

Where do you get that figure from? XBox broke even a long time ago and has been churning a profit ever since.

Citation needed.

Re:NO. NO, GOD, NO (1)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760602)

A couple of observations:

The biggest competitor to Microsoft in the areas they have traditionally been successful is....Microsoft. Windows XP has been "good enough" for a large audience, and 10 years from now, Windows 7 will be "more than good enough" compared to whatever version of Windows will be shipping then. Same with Office. Most of the other applications are either given away for free, or are not nearly as profitable.

The reason Microsoft is so interested in "the cloud", is that these are services they put reoccurring charges on. Xbox live memberships, Zune pass memberships, streaming media (music, movies, etc), are all services they can charge for until the end of time.

Microsoft is still hurting from the loss of market share for search (Google) and Music (iTunes). Of course they are interested in streaming video, and so is Apple and Google. Whichever one creates the market place that obtains the most users is in place to have a cash cow that can be milked for a very long time.

As a Microsoft employee and stock holder, I do want them to go after this market, because there is a lot at stake here. Unless Microsoft has a strong strategy, Apple will likely be the victor within the next year or two.

XBox 360? MCE? (4, Interesting)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34759688)

They already have Media Center for Windows, the XBox 360, and Media Center Exteders... they're going to add something ELSE to the mix? Never mind Zune.

What is it with Microsoft always just throwing layers and crap out there, making things confusing and complicated. Can they ever stop and think something through, and put out something that is cohesive, simple to use and understand, and useful?

Slow down the hate train... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34759730)

I'm all for MS bashing, but really guys, do some research first.
1) Microsoft has been slowly perfecting their TV delivery platform via Mediaroom. It is licensed exclusively to service providers such as AT&T or TELUS right now.
2) Microsoft has also granted these providers permission to use any Windows 7 PC/7 Phone/Xbox 360 as an endpoint for Mediaroom.
3) All Mediaroom compatible set-top boxes are already running embedded Windows CE.

So if you're going to say "they've tried this before a million times, they can't do it", I assure you, they can - all these devices need to do is receive a Mediaroom stream from the Internet. AT&T and TELUS deliver their streams using Multicast to your house and charge you $50+ per month - Microsoft can do the same via Unicast for free.

Re:Slow down the hate train... (1)

Mulder3 (867389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760474)

Sure... and they will piss off the telcos that are paying them to use mediaroom... Also, about xbox, operators don't even want their xbox thing... i know that at least 2 operators(one of them is a very very big) who are developing mediaroom apps to act as a client to cloud games platforms(like onlive) Unfortunately, MS doesn't like this, so they are having problems (MS has do add gamepad drivers to their custom wince build used in mediaroom)

Who cares about eh set top brand... (1)

kriegs (1967606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760116)

What matters is having that "Netflix" button on your remote - isn't content still king here?

Partly inaccurate article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760242)

Makes me wonder what else might be wrong with the article:

Reuters said in November that the company had been in talks to turn the Xbox 360 into a cable TV set top box for a monthly fee, although it was said at the time any service was a year away from becoming a reality.

You can get cable TV over IP in some places with a 360 (e.g. Foxtel in Australia).

Business Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34760248)

Microsoft has a business model that requires increasing revenue and profit.

The primary sources of MS's revenue have plateaued or are dropping: Windows, Office, Server2008, XBox are not increasing in total revenue. Phone/Mobile is not producing much revenue.

The only way that MS's revenue can be increase in a stagnant market is to take it from someone else. In this case they want to take it from OEMs. Instead of there being a 'Dell TV' running MS WMC and letting Dell take in revenue (if at all) it will be a MS TV running WMC and MS will count all the revenue, not just the WMC.

Next there may be an MS XPC which Dell and Gateway will have to compete with.

Microsoft has been ready for a long while now (2)

initialE (758110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760288)

What has been lacking has been clear leadership and direction, not marketshare, technical know-how or PR. And it doesn't help that they keep making new projects without thinking them through, then killing them before they have any reasonable expectation of success. Sounds more like a company self-destructing from internal politics instead.

cable card readers in the 360 FTW (1)

cenobyte40k (831687) | more than 3 years ago | (#34760622)

All MS need to do to take over the set top work is put a couple cable card readers in the 360 and allow external storage for content it records. Let it surf the web and ingrate netflix and Hulu. Sell that as the premium xbox360 Media Center and sell it for around the price of a TIVO and within a year or so it will have taken over the world.
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