Report: Microsoft to reveal new Windows TV boxes at CES 2011

Microsoft will reportedly unveil a new operating system designed specifically for televisions in a bid to enter the race for bringing the Internet to television.

The announcement, which is expected to be made during the company's opening keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) starting in two days, will see the company pit itself against competitors including Apple with their Apple TV offering, the Rokyou box and Google, who recently launched their own product called Google TV.

According to The Seattle Time' Brier Dudley, Microsoft's offering -- to be dubbed something along the lines of Windows TV -- will run a modified version of the software giant's embedded device software, with a Windows Media Center interface to be integrated into the operating system. The boxes, which may be shown off at CES, are expected to retail in the United States for around $200 and were apparently spotted at a number of press events last year.

"They'll pose a serious challenge to the new Apple and Google TV devices, largely because the Windows boxes have a polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content," Dudley suggests.

The operating system will likely work hand-in-hand with Windows computers and Microsoft's Windows Media Center software which is already available, and will allow users to stream media from third-party devices to their television sets in a similar fashion to Apple's recently released Airplay functionality. Users will also likely be able to control the Windows TV device from third-party devices, with Windows Phone 7 support likely but not confirmed.

It's thought that Microsoft will not manufacture any Windows TV devices themselves, with the company understood to have instead opted to offering the operating system to third-party manufacturers although this remains unclear at this stage. It's also not clear if or how much the company will be charging for licensing fees for the use of their software but if the software giant wants to compete with the likes of Google TV -- which can be licensed for free adding little in the way of extra overheads for manufacturers -- for pricing, they won't be charging much.

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derekaw said,
Windows TV is 'me too'

Actually Microsoft had TV services way back as far as Windows 98 but the didn't take off. Does it really matter that they are developing a "set-top box" as a "me too" product. By that way of thinking, Google TV is also a "me too" product.

First off, I don't see this as being something marketed towards the end consumer. I envision this will be geared towards companies like Pace and Motorola to build their new set top box platform underneath this OS.

I say this because I am a mediaroom customer. Mediaroom is a brand sold to telecommunications providers, not end consumers. As a result most people don't know about the brand. However, if television enters your house through copper phone lines, or fibre optics, chances are you are using mediaroom.

Mediaroom software already runs on Xbox360 hardware, and many service providers, including BT are using them for client set top boxes. They lack PVR functionality.

I predict any anouncement of this sort will to bring a new class of smart device to the mediaroom ecosystem.

and FYI, I work for a mediaroom partner, and I can tell you that a Kinect-enabled mediaroom experience is under development.

If they do announce that their hardware partners will be supporting end consumer purchases, then the box will most likely have crippled functionality for those who do not subscribe to broadcast IPTV from their service provider.

It would be *really* cool if they integrated Kinect with Windows TV - have it built-in with the TVs and forget about the remote.

NateB1 said,
It would be *really* cool if they integrated Kinect with Windows TV - have it built-in with the TVs and forget about the remote.

A bit hard to get the interface easily done COMPLETELY from kinect however most of it could be done.

M$ killed the 360 with its addon pack to play .avi files and other media.

Auzeras said,

A bit hard to get the interface easily done COMPLETELY from kinect however most of it could be done.

M$ killed the 360 with its addon pack to play .avi files and other media.

M$... M$... I'm sorry, are you from the past?

Auzeras said,

M$ killed the 360 with its addon pack to play .avi files and other media.

Really? So, since when providing more compatibility with codecs kills a gaming/media plataform?

Auzeras said,
A bit hard to get the interface easily done COMPLETELY from kinect however most of it could be done.

Why ? I don't get it. The only thing that I can reproach to the Xbox Kinect Dashboard is that it does not have ALL the features from the classic one, but it's perfectly usable.

What Microsoft needs to do is get silverlight in both Xbox 360 (which is happening I believe) and into this Media Centre/ Windows TV solution, and allow developers to make media apps, so broadcasters and podcast networks like Revision 3 and TWiT can build apps for their content.

Open it up for developers to make free apps, and encourage manufacturers to integrate this software into affordable boxes, and lets start making these Internet Enabled Set-Top Boxes ubiquitous and established!

Tom W said,
This isn't a "new operating system". It's Windows Embedded Standard 7.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...amp;feature=player_embedded

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I didn't like the last bit in the video though, where he said that it could be used by OEMs "to customize their connected media device to their business brand and research needs". Examples being, "changing the font, adding new wallpapers, adding new tiles, etc". I'm hoping this is not to the point where it's like Windows Mobile with so many different UI variations and such that it's no longer a connected experience.

I'm hoping it's more similar to the WP7-level customizations where the OEMs can do smaller modifications, but not enough that users can't get rid of any of those modifications, or that the modifications take away from the experience Microsoft has tried to create.

Haha is nobody else noticing Microsoft's latest trend of copying everybody else? First it was the Kinect that they developed because they wanted a piece of the motion sensor market. Then Windows Phone 7 because Android and iOS became successful and Microsoft wanted a share of that. Now they announce Windows TV because everybody else (mainly Google) is doing a TV solution. Okay, we know innovation is hard work but, really? This is getting lame.....

1. Windows Mobile existed well before Android and iOS.
2. Set top boxes that use Microsoft technologies already exist...they're called Microsoft IPTV, Media Room and Windows Media Center / Extender. All of which I believe existed well before Apple / Google TV.

And kinect, sure it uses motion sensing just like the Wii..but it does it in a different way...there's no wand / mote to hold. If that isn't innovation, then I don't know what is

ManOfMystery said,
Haha is nobody else noticing Microsoft's latest trend of copying everybody else? First it was the Kinect that they developed because they wanted a piece of the motion sensor market. Then Windows Phone 7 because Android and iOS became successful and Microsoft wanted a share of that. Now they announce Windows TV because everybody else (mainly Google) is doing a TV solution. Okay, we know innovation is hard work but, really? This is getting lame.....

Kinect - Wow, Microsoft has a Motion Sensor. So does Sony and Nintendo. If Microsoft did it first would you blame Sony or Nintendo of copying? Of course not, you are only out to hate Microsoft. Plus it isn't just a sensor. Maybe you should check out some of the hacks Kinect has been getting.

Windows Phone 7 - That's easy. Microsoft has been making mobile operating systems since 2000. Thats 11 years.

I mean I could use your argument for Google or Apple also. They just wanted some share from Microsoft. Fair go.

Windows TV - Microsoft has been doing TV solutions since Windows XP. Using a piece of software called "Windows Media Center". Wow, how cool is that?

Sometimes I think people must be living back in the 90's. You do know that Microsoft has more than 3 people working for them now? You know they also make other products other than Windows on the desktop? Yep thats right, not just Windows! They even have a futuristic email service called "Hotmail".

The more you know.

/- Razorfold said,
1. Windows Mobile existed well before Android and iOS.
2. Set top boxes that use Microsoft technologies already exist...they're called Microsoft IPTV, Media Room and Windows Media Center / Extender. All of which I believe existed well before Apple / Google TV.

And kinect, sure it uses motion sensing just like the Wii..but it does it in a different way...there's no wand / mote to hold. If that isn't innovation, then I don't know what is

Are you Steve Jobs, high, or clinically insane?

To believe that Microsoft is copying anything you mentioned would require a fundamental lack of any technical understand or being born yesterday.

Seriously, go look up anything you mentioned...

Heck we aren't even talking Microsoft Research stuff that people haven't heard of, for example go look up game controllers, Microsoft had a Sidewinder Gamepad with motion sensing back in 1997, that had the majority of the features of the Wii, only lacking the depth perception.

Do yourself a favor and go look up WinCE and Windows Mobile Phones, and technologies that they were the first to have that were copied by both iPhone and Android. Search touch interfaces, gestures, voice search - VoiceXML, mobile gaming - look up Mobile DirectX that became XNA, etc etc etc...

The only good 'new' thing that iPhone did was throw brilliant marketing out, with the intent of selling the iPhone to the average user, instead of the more advanced business and technical users. The additional success of the iPhone was a result of the addition of the Apple Store with a simple and centralized place to find applications that was also geared toward average phone users and non-technical people.

As for people in the technical or buisness world, the iPhone was laughable that anyone with a brain actually thought it offered anything new. Especially when the iPhone was released it lacked basic featuers that WinMo phones had including features free generic phones sold at Walmart had like Voice dialing, full Bluetooth support, etc etc...

I truly like my Droid, but I also have a understanding of the technologies. If anything, Microsoft was too far ahead of the technology curve. If you look at WinCE and device technology based on WinCE back in 1998, it looks a lot like the Android and iOS industry today... Sadly, tablets were underpowered back then and the touch and screen technologies were expensive then as well.

History is your friend, Bing/Google are your friend... Ignorance and arrogance are not your friends.

/- Razorfold said,
1. Windows Mobile existed well before Android and iOS.
2. Set top boxes that use Microsoft technologies already exist...they're called Microsoft IPTV, Media Room and Windows Media Center / Extender. All of which I believe existed well before Apple / Google TV.

And kinect, sure it uses motion sensing just like the Wii..but it does it in a different way...there's no wand / mote to hold. If that isn't innovation, then I don't know what is

C'mon let's be serious here. You say WinMo existed way before Android and iOS, yes. However, Microsoft (as well as RIM) failed to innovate and let Android and iOS steal the market. Secondly, you say that MS has technology in set top boxes, yes they do. Microsoft Mediaroom has BEEN around, but its not widely available first of all. Secondly, they fail to market it...I doubt most average consumers even know about it. As far as a media extender goes, I consider myself fairly tech savvy, and I hardly even know of any media extender except for the 360! If Microsoft has all of this technology and they aren't copying Apple, then why make another set top box? It doesnt make sense. They can make Mediaroom more available right? Or how about this - add the new tech into Xbox. It's one of the biggest consoles out there...and I dont wanna hear the malarky about they want to seperate TV and games. Spare me. Netflix, Zune TV rentals, Internet TV, Windows Media Center. ALL are already in Xbox, which is already connected to millions and millions of TVs in the world. It does more than just game already, hence the X in Xbox. If they want to add new TV features, they could just add a premium price to Xbox live!
You know what, this is one reason why MS fails so hard in the public eye. They just have too many damn products.

Edited by brolicboy, Jan 4 2011, 12:08pm :

/- Razorfold said,
1. Windows Mobile existed well before Android and iOS.
2. Set top boxes that use Microsoft technologies already exist...they're called Microsoft IPTV, Media Room and Windows Media Center / Extender. All of which I believe existed well before Apple / Google TV.

And kinect, sure it uses motion sensing just like the Wii..but it does it in a different way...there's no wand / mote to hold. If that isn't innovation, then I don't know what is

C'mon let's be serious here. You say WinMo existed way before Android and iOS, yes. However, Microsoft (as well as RIM) failed to innovate and let Android and iOS steal the market. Secondly, you say that MS has technology in set top boxes, yes they do. Microsoft Mediaroom has BEEN around, but its not widely available first of all. Secondly, they fail to market it...I doubt most average consumers even know about it. As far as a media extender goes, I consider myself fairly tech savvy, and I hardly even know of any media extender except for the 360! If Microsoft has all of this technology and they aren't copying Apple, then why make another set top box? It doesnt make sense. They can make Mediaroom more available right? Or how about this - add the new tech into Xbox. It's one of the biggest consoles out there...and I dont wanna hear the malarky about they want to seperate TV and games. Spare me. Netflix, Zune TV rentals, Internet TV, Windows Media Center. ALL are already in Xbox, which is already connected to millions and millions of TVs in the world. It does more than just game already, hence the X in Xbox. If they want to add new TV features, they could just add a premium price to Xbox live!
You know what, this is one reason why MS fails so hard in the public eye. They just have too many damn products.

Edited by brolicboy, Jan 4 2011, 12:21pm :

brolicboy said,

C'mon let's be serious here. You say WinMo existed way before Android and iOS, yes. However, Microsoft (as well as RIM) failed to innovate and let Android and iOS steal the market. Secondly, you say that MS has technology in set top boxes, yes they do. Microsoft Mediaroom has BEEN around, but its not widely available first of all. Secondly, they fail to market it...I doubt most average consumers even know about it. As far as a media extender goes, I consider myself fairly tech savvy, and I hardly even know of any media extender except for the 360! If Microsoft has all of this technology and they aren't copying Apple, then why make another set top box? It doesnt make sense. They can make Mediaroom more available right? Or how about this - add the new tech into Xbox. It's one of the biggest consoles out there...and I dont wanna hear the malarky about they want to seperate TV and games. Spare me. Netflix, Zune TV rentals, Internet TV, Windows Media Center. ALL are already in Xbox, which is already connected to millions and millions of TVs in the world. It does more than just game already, hence the X in Xbox. If they want to add new TV features, they could just add a premium price to Xbox live!
You know what, this is one reason why MS fails so hard in the public eye. They just have too many damn products.

First, neither Apple TV or Google TV have sold well (the second isn't even widely available, just like you bash MS option). Second, MS offering a set top box doesn't mean they won't make the functionality available to the XBox, just means they are trying to reach the non-Xbox demographics (not everyone is into having an Xbox).

As for having too many products, that's calling diversifying one's portfolio, so you can increase your chances of success.

sviola said,

First, neither Apple TV or Google TV have sold well (the second isn't even widely available, just like you bash MS option). Second, MS offering a set top box doesn't mean they won't make the functionality available to the XBox, just means they are trying to reach the non-Xbox demographics (not everyone is into having an Xbox).

As for having too many products, that's calling diversifying one's portfolio, so you can increase your chances of success.

Apple TV is picking up steam, and once they open up the platform to include apps...you better believe it will fly off the shelves. Google TV is widely available, I dont know where you are getting that fact from. I can go into any local Best Buy and get a Google TV box or get it included in a Sony TV. Mediaroom is primarily through ATT U-Verse, whose availability is dismal to say the least. Adding the fact that this is supposedly IPTV, makes it even worse...its the internet for crying out loud. Mediaroom should be available all over the US.

Trying to reach the non-xbox demographics? Well, hopefully its not a new product...but just an expansion of Mediaroom or something that already exists. Too many products that essentially do the same thing is not called diversifying one's portfolio, its called inefficiency...which leads to a product being EOL.

ManOfMystery said,
Haha is nobody else noticing Microsoft's latest trend of copying everybody else? First it was the Kinect that they developed because they wanted a piece of the motion sensor market. Then Windows Phone 7 because Android and iOS became successful and Microsoft wanted a share of that. Now they announce Windows TV because everybody else (mainly Google) is doing a TV solution. Okay, we know innovation is hard work but, really? This is getting lame.....

Hey buddy, the only time first actually matters is to avoid sloppy seconds. Welcome to reality boob.

ManOfMystery said,
Haha is nobody else noticing Microsoft's latest trend of copying everybody else? First it was the Kinect that they developed because they wanted a piece of the motion sensor market. Then Windows Phone 7 because Android and iOS became successful and Microsoft wanted a share of that. Now they announce Windows TV because everybody else (mainly Google) is doing a TV solution. Okay, we know innovation is hard work but, really? This is getting lame.....

What's funny is that all your examples are showing the true value of Microsoft :

1 - Kinect : They used R&D to build a Wii++ like experience but with a major upgrade => No controller, YOU are the controller. And 4 years after the Wii they managed to get it to be the fastest selling gadget in history.

2 - XBOX : They built a game console with the same approach that Sony and Nintendo had before, but bringing good stuff from the PC universe ==> An HDD, DirectX-like developpment, internet gaming... And it's been the most sold TV game console for months, now that people start to realize that a Wii is ugly on their HDTV.

3 - Windows Phone 7 : They've managed to create a coherent ecosystem that fits perfectly in between of Apple & Google and that can please both manufacturers, customers and Telcos. It's just the start, but they've had a good start.

4 - Windows TV : Why not ? Most people have Windows Vista/7 PCs at home and we know it could have better integration than the Apple TV with those. They have the Zune unlimited music subscription, which could be a selling point for those who don't want a full PC in the living room. It could have the great interface from Windows 7's media center, which few set top box are equaling. And with an app platform (Hulu/Netflix/YT/FB/Twitter), it could work.

But I agree that it should be also available on the Xbox 360 (through add-on hardware ? Like the Wifi used to be ?).

quentez said,

2 - XBOX : They built a game console with the same approach that Sony and Nintendo had before, but bringing good stuff from the PC universe ==> An HDD, DirectX-like developpment, internet gaming... And it's been the most sold TV game console for months, now that people start to realize that a Wii is ugly on their HDTV.

Xbox was created because Microsoft did not want Sony to take over the gaming market. Its what microsoft at that time admitted them selfs in press conferences. (love their honesty) And actually failed doing so, even tho its claimed that Xbox was the number 1 in the last generation. PS. PS2 sales are still higher then any other Console. For example, Wii's ~75million vs PS2's ~150mill.
And even current generation, the Wii is the most sold console, 360 and PS3 are just a few million apart.nothing special.

3 - Windows Phone 7 : They've managed to create a coherent ecosystem that fits perfectly in between of Apple & Google and that can please both manufacturers, customers and Telcos. It's just the start, but they've had a good start.

I liked the Winmo before 7 too. As it was very much like XP but a cell phone version. it even had (basic) multitasking. Basically one of the first actual smart phones. Even years ago PDA's with winCE (iirc) had phone functionality with a SIM card. Android and iOS are nothing new, just more 'userfriendly'.

4 - Windows TV : Why not ? Most people have Windows Vista/7 PCs at home and we know it could have better integration than the Apple TV with those. They have the Zune unlimited music subscription, which could be a selling point for those who don't want a full PC in the living room. It could have the great interface from Windows 7's media center, which few set top box are equaling. And with an app platform (Hulu/Netflix/YT/FB/Twitter), it could work.

But I agree that it should be also available on the Xbox 360 (through add-on hardware ? Like the Wifi used to be ?).


iirc MS already had such a functionality in the Xbox, watching movies and what not. Plus the Windows Media Center had TV support. which in return has Xbox support. So basically anyone with windows vista/7 and a 360 basically has a windows TV.

Windows Media Center? That crap wear needs to go away. Plus use the Xbox since it does all the stuff Apple TV does and more. Stupid idea. Microsoft once again be the curve here. 2 years out on the tablet market, bringing out a TV box where the Xbox works perfectly and still have to have the name Windows in everything. Microsoft kills me a little each day... I swear.

Geekahertz said,
Windows Media Center? That crap wear needs to go away. Plus use the Xbox since it does all the stuff Apple TV does and more. Stupid idea. Microsoft once again be the curve here. 2 years out on the tablet market, bringing out a TV box where the Xbox works perfectly and still have to have the name Windows in everything. Microsoft kills me a little each day... I swear.

2 things.
1. Windows Media Center is pretty dam good, no idea what issues you have with it.
2. Not everyone wants a xbox...so they aren't going to buy a game console just for tv / movies.

And well, from what I can tell, the Xbox already does most of what this device is supposed to do. So they could probably increase the functionality with the 360 and as well make a Windows TV box (for those who don't want a 360).

Geekahertz said,
Windows Media Center? That crap wear needs to go away.
You have obviously not experienced the power, the features and the UX of WMC.
Geekahertz said,
Plus use the Xbox since it does all the stuff Apple TV does and more. Stupid idea. Microsoft once again be the curve here. 2 years out on the tablet market, bringing out a TV box where the Xbox works perfectly and still have to have the name Windows in everything. Microsoft kills me a little each day... I swear.
Rant rant rant...

Geekahertz said,
Blah...blah...blah..
Microsoft kills me a little each day... I swear.

Thank you Microsoft....
Trolls just need to die...

Jebadiah said,
You have obviously not experienced the power, the features and the UX of WMC.

That explains why all the guys at work laugh when anyone mentions WMC - incidentally we develop the DTV boxes most of the folks here use.

ZenVenT said,
The only problem with MediaCenter that I've had is its lacking support of file types.

Really? Have you used it on Windows7? Windows7 has a lot of codecs built in that didn't exist in previous versions of Media Center XP or Vista. Which inherently work with Windows Media Center.

There is a lack of mkv and some subtitle support, but 10 minutes on a site like thegreenbutton and you can find a couple of settings and a link to a mkv splitter.

The inherent codec support in Windows 7 is enough reason for any user to migrate from XP or upgrade from Vista. (As the Windows7 codecs are also accelerated, unlike most of the 3rd party codecs.)

Geekahertz said,
Windows Media Center? That crap wear needs to go away. Plus use the Xbox since it does all the stuff Apple TV does and more. Stupid idea. Microsoft once again be the curve here. 2 years out on the tablet market, bringing out a TV box where the Xbox works perfectly and still have to have the name Windows in everything. Microsoft kills me a little each day... I swear.

What makes you think they won't bring this to the XBox as well?

If it is Windows Embedded and running Media Center, if they use a WP7 like .NET application platform for the Apps there is no reason they couldn't offer this on the XBox.

No idea if this is in their plans or not, but with lots of talk of them bringing Silverlight Apps to the XBox based on the WP7 framework, they may.

ZenVenT said,
The only problem with MediaCenter that I've had is its lacking support of file types.

Try it on Windows 7. the only thing not supported by MS out of the box is MKV, which is an easy fix.

Miuku said,

That explains why all the guys at work laugh when anyone mentions WMC - incidentally we develop the DTV boxes most of the folks here use.

No offence, but the DTV boxes most of us use are universally reviled. Even more so when they're asked to do anything beyond flipping through channels (ie. VOD or intelligently searching/filtering the program guide). The fact the people pay hundreds of dollars to build a box which can act as a layer above their cable providers DTV box speaks volumes.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, providers are jumping on board with mediaroom all over the place. Between DirectTV with Google TV boxes and AT&T and Telus using 360's, I think there is a growing consensus within the providers themselves that traditional DTV boxes are unsatisfying to customers.

Surely they'll bring this to the 360? Cant think of a better way to get your foot in the door of this particular market, with that many boxes already under peoples TV's.

DARKFiB3R said,
Surely they'll bring this to the 360? Cant think of a better way to get your foot in the door of this particular market, with that many boxes already under peoples TV's.

Exactly, I can imagine them adding these functionalities to the xbox, and allowing customers the choice of a pure tv box, or an xbox.

BoyBoppins said,
They were on track to do it... I'm really hoping they just announce this for XBOX.
I totally agree, however, MS may not do it. Adding TV features to the XBox would raise the price of the XBox by around $100, which would be bad for XBox sales, because most people don't use TV features in their gaming console. Also, making it more than a gaming console could ruin the gaming brand perception. Selling it separately earns them $200 and keeps TV far away from gaming.

BoyBoppins said,
Do it all through XBOX!

They're in it to create more products and not put everything in a single product otherwise how will they make more $$$?

tuxplorer said,

They're in it to create more products and not put everything in a single product otherwise how will they make more $$?

Yes and? Trying to sell a device for your TV will be hard. Just look at Apple TV and Google TV. At least if Microsoft adapted the 360 to be a lot more media focused they would have the upper hand.

tuxplorer said,

They're in it to create more products and not put everything in a single product otherwise how will they make more $$?

An extra reason for consumers to buy more than one Xbox per household (one per room with a tv that needs to stream media) - there's your extra sales.

Jebadiah said,
I totally agree, however, MS may not do it. Adding TV features to the XBox would raise the price of the XBox by around $100, which would be bad for XBox sales, because most people don't use TV features in their gaming console. Also, making it more than a gaming console could ruin the gaming brand perception. Selling it separately earns them $200 and keeps TV far away from gaming.

d'_'b Like

BoyBoppins said,
Do it all through XBOX!

They might provide the functionality through Xbox as well. But there are plenty of people who are not interested in it. So, they can provide a set top box with the TV functionality for less than $100 and provide an xbox application for xbox owners for half of that...

sviola said,

They might provide the functionality through Xbox as well. But there are plenty of people who are not interested in it. So, they can provide a set top box with the TV functionality for less than $100 and provide an xbox application for xbox owners for half of that...

That's the idea. Xbox already has the potential as a media extender (whatever it's called, can't remember right now). They need a set-top-box that we can have seperate to the console. I don't own a 360 and won't be forced to, to get TV service. They'll just lose a potential customer.

tuxplorer said,

They're in it to create more products and not put everything in a single product otherwise how will they make more $$?

By raising the price of that one single product. The more functionality of the product, the more power behind the marketing. They could even scale the product and pricing against its capabilities (i.e. xBox Extreme = Everything; xBox Plus = Gaming, Movies, Music, Live; xBox Basic = Gaming, Live). The customer can buy what meets their demands and what they can afford; the developers and manufacturers can focus on enhancing a single platform vices supporting many. Definately think Microsoft should be focusing on the xBox as a set-top box to deliver Windows TV.