Microsoft has made deals with TV providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast as well as individual channels such as HBO, Bravo and SyFy in their on-going effort to make the Xbox the digital hub for the living room. Channel and show selection is still limited at this point but it’s progress none the less. Assuming all goes according to plan the Xbox 360 could replace whatever set-top boxes customers currently receive from their cable/satellite/fiber provider. That’s all well and good for a single TV but what about for multiple TVs? Does Microsoft really think people will buy a 360 for each TV in the house? I doubt it.
What I think MS has up their sleeve is a smaller, Kinect-enabled, TV/streaming-only box that can be used on other TVs in the household. This ‘Xbox 360 Mini’ won’t play games, won’t function as a stand alone unit and will need to be slaved to a regular Xbox 360 via WiFi. I think it will cost less than a regular 360 (maybe $99) and utilize the same Kinect-centric dashboard interface that the regular 360 has. I don’t know what timetable Microsoft is thinking about but I know it won’t move any faster than the current TV gatekeepers (i.e. cable/satellite/fiber) will allow.