Microsoft has long been rumoured to be launching a set-top box alongside the new Xbox. According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has developed a set-top box prototype of a simpler, easier-to-use device that focuses solely on streaming video rather than gaming.
Still, even with the prototype, the report says it is unclear if Microsoft will actually release the set-top box product. It is said to have gone through many versions, with a few even featuring Kinect technology for what we assume is to operate video right from the couch. Microsoft hasn't commented on the rumour, though we've reached out in hope of learning more.
In theory the set-top box would be a huge competitor to Apple's Apple TV, the Roku, and perhaps one day Amazon, if its rumoured set-top box ever surfaces. The Wall Street Journal says: "Microsoft had the broader goal of creating common experiences among multiple products running its software," something we've heard surrounding the company as it works to bring Xbox, Windows Phone, and Windows closer together.
It is not clear what type of software or subscription services would be offered for the set-top box, if it comes to market. The Xbox 360 already has several forms of content available such as Hulu, Netflix, Espn, TMZ, YouTube, DailyMotion, MSNBC and more. Extending these offerings to a cheaper device may not be too bad an idea.
Microsoft is set to reveal the next-generation Xbox at a media event in Seattle on 21 May. Will we see a set-top box at the event, or sometime this year for that matter? Only time will tell.