Kinect-Powered Xbox TV Will Try To Eat Apple’s Living Room Lunch

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Speaking of Microsoft, they’re the latest company said to be eyeing the living room, designing a new set-top box to go head-to-head with the Apple TV. But Microsoft might have an ace up their sleeves.

According to sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has made several prototypes of their set-top box over the last couple of years, but the latest prototype supports the Kinect accessory for the Xbox 360, bringing gesture control and voice recognition to the set-top box experience for the first device.

That’s interesting, because gesture control and voice recognition have long been touted as possible killer features of the oft-rumored iTV.

Microsoft is actually already the creator of one of the most popular living room media centers ever, the Xbox 360, which is certainly in more living rooms than the Apple TV is, so this is a credible threat. Microsoft already has the living room ecosystem set-up to support a $99 set-top box, and they’ve been doing innovative things with second screen solutions in the living room with projects like Microsoft Glass.

To be honest with you, I’m increasingly convinced the Apple TV’s only advantage over the competition is AirPlay. Just being able to buy a $99 box that lets you squirt any video or audio from your iPhone, iPad or Mac onto your big television screen is a killer feature the competition just hasn’t been able to match. Until that feature is matched by something as good or better, the Apple TV is always going to be a reliable seller, and no company is truly going to be able to trounce Cupertino in the living room.

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  • Derek Schlicker

    Best use of “squirt” yet.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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