Editorial

With the Xbox One, Microsoft will succeed, where Google TV failed

Microsoft’s Xbox One is now out in the open and we have our first look at Microsoft’s vision of the future for gaming and entertainment. With a new Kinect, beefed up hardware, a new UI and a boatload of more features, Microsoft held nothing back with the Xbox One.

One of the more interesting features - one not related to gaming - is the ability to view live-TV through your Xbox and then discover additional content on the device or browse for your favorite tv shows using the built in guide feature; you can even change the channel by simply speaking to your Xbox One.

This feature will certainly have consumers turning on their Xbox One more frequently than the Xbox 360 as it now integrates with your live television. If a third-party device integrating with your existing television service sounds familiar, it should - Google tried the same thing with Google TV.

Google TV was positioned to have a similar set of features with the goal of helping consumers find more content they enjoyed, and delivered this via the Google TV software. The idea was to make viewing TV more interactive than what we are used to today, which is pointing an old block of plastic at the TV to find new content. It was a great idea, but an idea that was never fully adopted by the consumer.

To put it plainly, Google TV has flopped; in more charitable terms, Google TV has not been as widely adopted as Google had hoped. Eric Schmidt was even so bold to say that it would be on most TVs by the summer of 2012… Yeah, that didn't quite work out as hoped.

What Microsoft is doing here is not dissimilar to Google's vision - but their approach differs in integrating the TV interaction features with their Xbox One, a product that is likely to sell in the millions to gamers and media-hungry consumers who are looking for a next generation device for their living room.

By turning on one device, you can now game, stream content (Netflix, Hulu, etc) and view your regular TV content. This was much the same position Google TV (minus the gaming) was supposed to fill, but failed to do so - and now Google TV is all but written off by Google as it has failed to attract consumers.

So, as Microsoft moves deeper into the living-room and becomes a near end-all solution for consumers, Google will have to find a new way to penetrate this market that has long been desired, but in which few have succeeded, and none have yet conquered.

Of course, you can’t write off Sony at this point; with many unknowns remaining about their PlayStation 4 hardware, they could still give Microsoft stiff competition for media-savvy consumers too. 

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42 Comments

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If xbox one can't give a snappier experience then, i doubt about his success. And, i am not talking about a fast cpu but a minimalist interface.

360 had a lucky head start. one will not have that luxury. everything's has been and will be an uphill battle for microsoft. their good old days are way beyond them. as it should be.

My title to my own editorial would have been, "With the Xbox One, Microsoft will repeat Google's Failures".

I was ready to write it but I saw The Verge did a much better coverage.

deadonthefloor said,

As much as I like to disagree with you, I think you're right here.
Or, maybe I'm just bitter about the sale of Mediaroom.

I don't want to come across as someone who defends Google. But I just see that TV is dead. What I really was hoping for was an Xbox Media device. I don't care about games as much. I love my 360. I use it for YouTube, Amazon On Demand, Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu Plus. I really wanted something as simple as the Apple TV. Unfortunately, Apple TV doesn't offer me all the "Channels" I watch.

Off topic: I really wish HBO would just offer HBO as a paid subscription to their streaming service. I mean, I pay a lot of money for their useless channel to watch just Game of Thrones.

Allowing those features TekmanRO would open a whole can of worms that Microsoft probably doesn't want to deal with. Some of those features would probably delay the release. Legally speaking.

Tekman, have you considered using a Tivo Premiere as a CableCARD tuner (straight STB)? I bought one for exactly that purpose, and it works just dandy in that role. It also supports HDMI, and thus connects directly into your current HDTV (which mine does) or into the XB ONE (via HDMI-in). I like the STB functionality so much, I showed it off to Mom - who has followed suit, replacing an SD-only STB with one. Even nicer, Tivo is really pushing the Premiere (I got mine for $138 at Amazon - including shipping).

I have an HTPC running Windows 7 Media Center with a Ceton 4 CableCard tuner; does a bunch more than a Tivo could, and am very happy with it, but would have loved to declutter my entertainment components by merging it with the game console in a single box.
I guess MS views the future of TV as being online only, but my guess is we're still a few decades away from that happening.

I am really disappointed by the lack of a CableCard tuner. Who still watches Live TV anymore? And no DVR (pause / fastforward), really?
I hope it still can act as an extender for Media Center and provide all the nice TV watching experience for that.
Guess my trusty HTPC isn't going anywhere yet...

If they want to conquer every living room with this (before Android smartTVs do) then they also need to release a cheaper version (that only plays arcade games) and find a very smart way to market it. I think first releasing this to gamers is a good start but on its own it will never expand fast enough to compete with smartTVs.

And definately not gold only. There are stil a lot of silver users. And more importantely a lot of gamers are on/off when it comes to gold. They only get a three month subscription when a musthave multiplayer game is released. If they want these services to succeed then they need to be available to every owner of the Xbox One. Microsoft also needs to consider that many of its current users went to Xbox because PSN wasn't there yet. The service is now very competitive and although its not official it looks like it will remain free to play.

Last but not least Microsoft needs to work hard to make all these features available worldwide. Too often they have something cool for Xbox but it only works in the USA. Having this service on an expensive, primarily for games, paid for online and region exclusive console is an impossible sell. They're going to have to make some compremises if they want this to succeed.

I've always considered the Gold requirement for multiplayer games to be a complete rip off. Why would I pay to play MP on the console, when I can do it for free on my more powerful PC?

I don't have gold, and never will have. If gold is needed for most of the new features, then there's not a lot of point in my getting one.

google might just take another approach and offer internet/cable service and creep its way into the living room.

They need a lower priced Xbox that can just work as a media center. Take the current Xbox (probably overkill for Video playing), re-engineer it a little, add a TV Tuner, blu-ray, ect. Sell it for a couple hundered or less. That would be ideal for me. I don't play games enough to spend $500 (That's just my guess).

dagamer34 said,
You mean, build a better TiVo?

More like 'build a Media Center PC'…
They had the tech since 2002, why did they never push it?

I have not seen any references to CableCard usage, has anyone? Or is there going to be another way to get "Premium" cable content?

Two ways:
- "apps" for IPTV-type services. Already doing it with Comcast (XFinity) and Telus (Optik TV, in Canada).

- HDMI inputs (will probably have an IR-blaster in the Kinect, or use HDMI-Ethernet to control compatible Set-top-boxes)

Sadly, as much as I hate to admit it, CableCard seems to be dead and gone, at least as far as content providers are concerned. Damn shame, too.

cyberdrone2000 said,
Two ways:
- "apps" for IPTV-type services. Already doing it with Comcast (XFinity) and Telus (Optik TV, in Canada).

- HDMI inputs (will probably have an IR-blaster in the Kinect, or use HDMI-Ethernet to control compatible Set-top-boxes)

Sadly, as much as I hate to admit it, CableCard seems to be dead and gone, at least as far as content providers are concerned. Damn shame, too.

cable card is not dead and gone, it will actually need a cablecard bridge for this device to work in the USA under major providers... HDHomeRun with cablecard is an example of the Cable to IP bridge you will need... most cable providers are going full encryption now and require cablecard or a cablebox with a cablecard in it (yes, the boxes they give you have cards in them mandated by the FCC) the only way the XBOX can get the live TV stream is via IPTV (of which Comcast does not offer, the biggest tv provider in the USA) or cablecard to IP (which you can do with Comcast via a bridge or gateway device) which I assume they did for the presentation because the guy specifically said this is Comcast service, so they had some type of bridge device in use at the time

The biggest issue w/ Google TV devices is price. At launch, they cost $300. Ludicrous considering that is the same price as an Xbox 360. Not to mention those same $300 devices couldn't be updated to new versions of Google TV.

for the USA it might work, in europe people will be #####ed, cable operators will want their own negotiations, those will take 4 years because of the profitable company owned set topbox.

bitflusher said,
for the USA it might work, in europe people will be #####ed, cable operators will want their own negotiations, those will take 4 years because of the profitable company owned set topbox.

Don Mattrick already said they're working with 41 countries to launch the media services with.

bitflusher said,
for the USA it might work, in europe people will be #####ed, cable operators will want their own negotiations, those will take 4 years because of the profitable company owned set topbox.

UH it's the same way in the USA... and this only works if you have a gateway device in your house..... like a HDHomerun tuner with a cablecard in the USA... because you have to translate Encrypted QAM channels to an IP stream for the XBOX One to work... this does not replace cable boxes, it only adds the ability to interface with them or a device like that

We don't use set-top boxes. Most TV's are sold with CI+ interface (Common Interface plus) PCMCIA like slot. The digital receiver is build into the TV. I don't see the current TV's support channel switching via HDMI. Currently working features are : Input switching, Pause, stop, play and volume control.
I currently use Sony's Bravia Sync(tm) with my TV, Receiver and PS3 and controls are very limited.
So I don't see a miraculous "Xbox one" being able to switch and control many different brands of Televisions with more functionality than what the original brand intended.

agreed with this editorial, and I seriously cant see gold being required for core features seeing as its being propositioned as a media hub to be the centre of the living room - gold live accounts are tied to a person and not a room!

duddit2 said,
agreed with this editorial, and I seriously cant see gold being required for core features seeing as its being propositioned as a media hub to be the centre of the living room - gold live accounts are tied to a person and not a room!

Don't gold features already work if any one account on the xbox is an active sub? I mean, the online gaming features don't work for silver accounts, but it appears hulu/Netflix and stuff launch ok.. i'll have to experiment again just to make sure it wasn't a free weekend or something.

spudtrooper said,

Don't gold features already work if any one account on the xbox is an active sub? I mean, the online gaming features don't work for silver accounts, but it appears hulu/Netflix and stuff launch ok.. i'll have to experiment again just to make sure it wasn't a free weekend or something.


No.... My wife has to log into our family room XBox with my gamer tag if she wants to use Amazon Prime Instant Watch because its the only one with Gold membership. It won't launch with her's because her's is Silver.

It's the truth, regardless of requiring Gold or Not. You'll honestly feel guilt because you're a silver member, you pathetic excuse for a gamer.

Brony said,
For Sony, the free account allows to play online and the paid account gives games for free.

Yea, but which is actually more entertaining and challenging?

Well, obviously Gold is a no brainer if you're gimped from the get go. There really is no choice in avoiding it if you own an Xbox...

It would be like getting a cone with no ice cream.