Is this earth-shattering news, or just “yeah, duh”?
The Daily is reporting an exclusive scoop today that Microsoft is working on its own answer to the likes of AppleTV and Boxee, in the form of a Kinect set-top box that doesn’t require an Xbox to run.
It’s not like it’s hard to imagine. With all of the inroads Xbox has made over the last year to carrying live television from broadcast and cable networks, as well as on-demand viewing apps like Netflix well established, you might even call this notion a no-brainer. The idea here is to remove the Xbox from the equation for those looking for a simplified, all-in-one entertainment experience.
“Kinect Box,” as the device may be called (“Kinect HD” is also under consideration, which implies upgraded technology inside) is expected to be a flat, box-type device resembling a small DVD player — unlike the swivel-friendly current Kinect sensor — that can sit alone atop your TV set or on a shelf. Simplified ports and cables are expected as well, with a single cord that branches out to USB, HDMI, and power.
Presumably the device will have a sizable hard drive, but no optical drive, so it wouldn’t play Xbox 360 discs. Everything would be based on digital downloads, and while a big emphasis will likely be on movies, music, TV, and the social apps, downloadable Kinect games from Xbox Live Arcade will also be playable. It’ll have wifi built in, to accommodate all of those downloads.
Since it’s Kinect, you’ll control it with voice commands and gestures, and it’s expected to be compatible with the new Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone, as well.
The Daily reveals that Kinect Box, or whatever it ends up being called, was intended for release right about now-ish (probably in time for CES in Las Vegas, which just ended), but it’s been pushed back to an unknown time frame. But it’s still expected to arrive before the third generation Xbox (the gaming industry’s worst-kept secret is that Microsoft has been working on the next Xbox for months, if not years), which most pundits have pinpointed for 2013. So you’ll probably be able to get a Kinect Box of your own before this Christmas.
As for the price? The Daily believes it will be aggressively priced at around $150.