I’m not sure if Microsoft is following Apple’s footsteps from a few years ago, but it was announced earlier today that after CES2012, Microsoft is pulling out of Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
From Microsoft’s Blog: “We have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.”
For the last 20 years, Microsoft has been a big part of CES. The opening keynote has been given by Microsoft’s Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer during those 20 years.
Now, there have been some posts that say Microsoft is pulling out completely. As far as this blog goes, it sounds like Microsoft is only relinquishing the Opening keynote spot. Not the Microsoft booth.
Still, one has to wonder what this means for the Consumer Electronics Show. The opening keynote was always a hot ticket for the show – How do you replace that? Better yet, is there anyone that can replace that?
I watch over a lot in the Over the Top Television space. Internet TV, IPTV, whatever you want to call it, it’s a great way to get watchable content without having a full cable lineup.
Last week, Steve Ballmer announced their TV initiative over XBox Live. Over 40 providers have signed up for this venture, including Comcast, HBO, BBC, Rodgers on Demand (Canada), Televisa (Mexico), and other countries including Germany and Italy (20 in all). Best part, if you already have an XBox 360, you have the hardware to do this.
“Today’s announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.” – Press Release
Add to conventional TV line-up the on-line video providers like Crackle, YouTube, Zune and more. Then there is audio content from Last.fm and iHeartRadio. Finally, Social networks like Twitter and Facebook to round off the service.
The Game System that Became More
Whereas companies like Roku that integrated smaller games like Angry Birds, XBox won’t have that problem. It’s a game system over a TV content distributor. You can play Gears of War, Tweet about it, then watch a video on how to play Gears of War (or another show).
Unified Dashboard in XBox Live
With the unified dashboard (looking similar to the Zune software), you can browse your shows, play the games, work your social networks and more. You will connect to the Comcast Xfinity service to get all that service has to offer.
Getting Rid of the Remote with Kinect
This might be the best part about the XBox TV. By using voice controls and your Kinect, you can gesture to a channel, play, pause and move on. It might get harry if you have more than one person wanting to watch different shows. Still, could you imagine a world without a remote control?
It won’t all be free, though.
Right now, to get HBO Go, you need to have a cable subscription with HBO. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon – especially with channels like HuluPlus. Of course, that is just like many of the OTT systems out there. Pay for a subscription and get the content.
Once again, there could be conflict if you have multiple family members where one wants to play a game and the other wants to watch a movie. So this might not replace a cable box or DVR just yet.
The Xbox Live TV service is expected to come out before the holiday season. The announcement comes before then so you can plan purchasing an XBox 360 or Kinect system for your loved ones to connect up quick. While the OTT solution is more pricey than a Roku or Apple TV, it does do more than just watch video, view pictures or listen to music. It also has some great game titles. It also has a new way to browse through your content.