Xbox is much more than a gaming console, it has become the center of online entertainment for many families across the globe. Watching movies, listening to music and purchasing media has become a breeze with Xbox. There is no doubt Microsoft has a hold on its customers by now, but Microsoft is now in the midst of bringing the “future of TV” to Xbox users. This move would leave Xbox competing against our beloved Google TV, but does Microsoft have a chance at taking Google down?
Without a doubt, more Xbox units will be sold. This means a lot more users will be using it because they would have already purchased the console for other reasons (mostly gaming). This does not guarantee, however, that it will take Google TV’s spot in our living rooms. It seems like both platforms will exist in their own realms, and those looking for a strong TV experience will probably still look for a product like Google TV.
We have seen Nintendo jump into the TV market with the Wii U – I would be more scared of them if I were Google. This is simply because Wii U’s TVii works with your Television and TV provider. It’s a mixture of a glorified remote and internet content, much like Google TV. TVii still can’t replace our Google TV devices, though. Availability of apps and other limitations continue to be an issue for Nintendo.
Back to Xbox. Microsoft hired CBS Television Studios’ former president, Nancy Tellem, last year. She is leading a team of 125 to bring original content and more interactive TV features to Xbox. This would not only include original content, but a collection of more than 40 new TV and movie apps. Tellem is hoping to have this project come to fruition this year, so let’s see if Google TV will find itself in trouble.
Internet TV vs. Internet with TV
Because these are apps, Microsoft’s “future of TV” seems more like a cord-cutter solution. They will probably work online, which is a much different approach compared to Google’s. More than replacing traditional TV with internet content, Google TV aims to improve it by adding to it. The platform’s features highly revolve around live TV, even though the devices can still be used to replace it. It’s the best of both worlds, and flexibility is important.
Navigation and intuition
We have no idea how Xbox will handle this TV-centric project. To us, though, a collection of apps sound like a TV nightmare, unless handled adequately. Will the apps open fast, or will they be as slow as they are now in the Xbox (the few TV apps there are). Will there be one app per network? Because it will be annoying to have to switch from app to app just to see what other networks are showing.
Microsoft could offer something like Google’s Prime Time, a media center focused on organizing content. Something like a digital TV guide, which would be necessary if we are going to have so many apps for content. A place where one can go to see when/if content is or will be available to watch. If this is done wrong, Google TV will easily take the crown.
Content and fees
This is the most important part. When it comes down to it, it is all about price and what that price offers. Will there be a fee for using these TV apps, or will it come bundled with Xbox Live Gold subscriptions? The details continue to be unknown, of course, but let’s hope Microsoft’s content partner don’t all try to charge you for using their specific apps. That would also hand the crown to Google TV.
But maybe we are just being negative. TV and video streaming partners could be willing to host their content with advertising, like traditional television. We will simply have to wait and see.
As you can see, nothing is certain right now. We need more details to make a proper conclusion. Based on what we know, though, Xbox’s upcoming TV features is currently nothing to stay awake at night about, but definitely something check every morning after you wake up. There are simply too many things that could go wrong with Xbox’s upcoming TV solution.
Microsoft is becoming a very powerful media center and it could have something special up its sleeve. Personally, I believe there is nothing to worry about, but that is only my opinion. Wii U’s TVii can’t take over Google TV for many reasons, and I doubt Xbox will really be able to, either. Google TV follows Android’s open philosophy, giving it much more power. And since it doesn’t rely completely on internet content, apps can work to create the best combination between smart TV and traditional television.
But what do you guys think? Is Xbox’s popularity just too much for Google TV to handle, regardless of how bad the experience could be? Or do you agree with me that both platforms will live together in our living rooms?