Everyone's been waiting for a game-changing Apple TV product to come riding over the hill, but it could be Microsoft that captures the internet TV market first.
In the Xbox, Microsoft already has a popular internet box that people plug into the sitting room TV. Now Microsoft is ramping up the TV and video content available on XBox Live - the software ecosystem built into the Xbox - following new statistics that suggest Xbox users are now more likely to be watching TV on their console than playing games/
"Statistics show members of [Xbox Live] its paid online subscription service spend more time on it watching video than they do playing multiplayer games over the Internet" AP claims.
Microsoft were being cagier on the statistics but said that video watching on Xbox increased at a much faster rate than gaming.
- Total hours spent on Xbox LIVE has grown 30 per cent year over year (includes online gaming and entertainment).
- Global video consumption has increased 140 per cent year over year.
- Xbox LIVE subscribers are spending more than 300 million hours per month on video applications
The trend means video watching will outstrip gaming shortly if it hasn't already.
Anyway, MS is bumping up its video app content with bonanza of new apps - adding 43 of them - with many video and TV channels such as MTV, the CW Network and a whole bunch of European television channels now available in Xbox Live, although many of them require paid subscriptions. The full list is here.
There's a new Sainsbury's app for the United Kingdom. Vimeo and Flixster are going to the United States. Services like film-streaming Netflix and TV-streaming Hulu are already bundled into Xbox.
It means that the Xbox does pretty much everything an Apple TV can do, but with a games console whacked in. Commentators have wondered for a while whether Microsoft could outsmart Apple in this arena, and a November rumour suggested Microsoft was building a set-top box.
Of course, nerds will just have plugged their PC into the TV since HDMI ports became standard. ®