Microsoft has announced that their all-singing-all-dancing Xbox 360 console will have 43 new media apps by end of the year, as the tech giant tries to consolidate its position as the go-to device for the living room.
When Microsoft’s console was first release 7 years ago, few would have predicted quite how much it has changed. Over the last 24 months Microsoft has been aggressively trying to make sure the Xbox is the number 1 choice for consumers who want to add smart apps functionality to their lounges, but who don’t have a fancy Smart TV or set top box.
Music and video apps, clearly, have become a major unique selling point for Microsoft’s console, with the likes of Youtube, Vevo, Netflix, Lovefilm and Sky Player all now available on the console in the UK.
Microsoft has even launched some of its own apps, such as the recently launched Xbox Music service that hopes to rival the likes of Spotify and Pandora.
Microsoft’s own Major Nelson proudly announced the new additions via his blog, and the list is certainly impressive. However, not all 40 apps will be coming to every country; due to licensing limitations. Here’s the list for the UK.
Other apps are listed as coming to the “majority of LIVE regions” and may well come to the UK, including popular YouTube gaming channel Machinima, Crunchyroll and the music streaming service Deezer. The latter is an interesting choice, as you’d would have thought that Microsoft would want to prevent a competing music streaming service from making its way onto the Xbox 360.
Elsewhere Microsoft will also be launching a Karaoke app, the app gives you access to 8,000 songs to sing to your heart’s content, in most LIVE regions. In the game, your avatar takes to the stage on screen to rock out as you sing, while the Xbox SmartGlass app can be used to control the music playback, browse for songs and even view lyrics. This is bound to be a hit over the festive season with families.
To view the full list of apps coming to Xbox LIVE, hit up Major Nelson’s blog here.
It’s thought that 2013 Microsoft release two new consoles; first will be the set top box, tentatively named Xbox TV, which is expected to be released in time for Christmas 2013. And it will launch alongside a next-generation Xbox hardware, with the cheaper model focussing of casual games and the all-important media streaming.
Apple Eyeing-up The Living Room, too.
It’s clear that the living room is there for the picking, and this leads us on to Apple and its plans to try and grab some of the market with their much mooted Apple TV. While it hasn’t really been mentioned that much in 2012 – a new report suggest that Apple has begun early testing of their TV.
The Wall Street Journal says that its manufacturing partner Sharp and Hon Hai, knows as Foxconn, are working with the American tech giant to test out designs for a large-screen, high resolution smart TV.
It’s been rumoured that Apple has been testing early prototypes internally for years before they even begin to send the product to external manufacturers. Apple, of course, already has its own media set top box, but it’s clear they want to take that one step further with a full-blown TV – but will their brand-name alone be enough for consumers?
It’s unclear quite how much impact Apple could have in the television and media industry, due to the entwined, long-standing broadcasting contracts and the popularity of many “smart TVs” which are available to consumers now. Interestingly a survey from Morgan Stanley suggested that the brand alone name may be enough - and consumers would be willing to pay a 20 percent premium for an Apple-branded set.
The idea of Apple producing a television set was brought back to the stage this month by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who hinted in an interview with NBC that a new product offering may be on the horizon. “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”