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  • Next Up: Xbox TV

Is Microsoft Apple’s next bit TV competitor? This morning, numerous tech blogs report that Microsoft is working on a minimalist version of the Xbox. This Xbox will be Microsoft’s entry into the TV box land, currently dominated by Apple and Roku. Microsoft has been working on getting the Xbox into living rooms for a long time now. Truth be told, the company has done quite well with this endeavor. But, Microsoft wants more of the TV market. The new stripped down Xbox will give users access to entertainment and TV options in addition to some very basic games.

What will the box look like and how much will it cost? These questions have yet to be answered by anyone from Microsoft. In fact, the company hasn’t officially commented on the rumor yet at all, but that doesn’t mean much these days. The likelihood that Microsoft is working on such an Xbox is quite good. After all, the company should want to grab a piece of the TV pie, and it does make very good sense.

Windows 8 In the Mix

Sources state that the new Xbox TV will work on a Windows 8 platform – or something close to it (maybe a slimmed down version?). It’s helpful to think of Windows RT when considering how the Xbox TV console might operate. Users will have access to the same gaming titles that are available on Windows RT devices, but won’t have access to Microsoft’s major gaming titles that are available on the Xbox console. In short, this will be a fun TV device that also includes a few simple games – enough to meet your television and basic gaming needs.

It’s also highly probable that the new Xbox TV will be priced much lower than current Xbox consoles. Whether or not Microsoft will price its TV box lower than Apple’s or Roku’s has yet to be seen, but it would make sense for the company to price an Xbox TV competitively. Microsoft has just stated that the Xbox TV will come out in 2013, so there’s no hope for a holiday launch.

If you aren’t keen on Apple TV or don’t like Roku, Microsoft’s new Xbox TV box might be worth a look. One has to wonder, though, is there room in the TV box market for another device? There might be if Microsoft can offer something that Apple and Roku can’t. Or, if Microsoft can create an Xbox TV that’s really simple to use, which might be hard since Apple’s TV is already really easy to use. For comparison’s sake, consider that Apple TV currently retails for around $100 and the Roku box retails for around $79. I’m guessing that Microsoft will price its Xbox TV around $90 or less, but that’s just a stab in the dark.

Would you pay $90 for an Xbox TV? Or, are you perfectly happy with what Roku and Apple have to offer? It will be interesting to see whether or not Microsoft can create something unique, that’s for sure. Stay tuned for more details about the new Xbox TV. Microsoft is sure to announce the device sooner rather than later.