While the Apple iPhone
may have unexpectedly blown Microsoft's Zune out of the water at CES, the 360 looks as though it may have pulled an unexpected fast one of its own. What we're talking about here is Xbox 360 IPTV versus Apple TV. As noted by Beta News
, it may have been the frothing Apple blogosphere itself that muted the announcement of Apple TV: "I got the feeling that as [Steve Jobs] was going through the iTV announcement, the blogger was going, okay, 720p ... yadda, yadda, yadda ... come on, let's get to the phone
!" Meanwhile, Microsoft dropped something of a bomb by announcing that IPTV was coming to the Xbox 360. The reason that this is very different from Apple TV is that Microsoft has already established an Xbox ecosystem. They already have millions of customers with 360s in their homes. According to the article, Microsoft has a key advantage in the TV space because of its leverage with the gaming audience (you know, 18-30 year old guys who dig technology).
We have to admit, had we known that our Xbox 360 was merely a sneaky way of Microsoft solidifying its dream of creating the mythical "set top box," we would have been skeptical to say the least. But now that it's here, now that downloading movies and TV is possible (and having great games to boot), we're enjoying every minute of it. Microsoft has succeeded in an arena completely separate from games, and is giving similar services a run for their money (we wouldn't be surprised if the Video Mareketplace moves from its number 2
position to claim 1st place either).
So, maybe the iPhone did shoot the Zune in the face, but Microsoft seemingly struck a similar blow with the IPTV announcement. Then again, maybe the Apple TV and 360 IPTV shouldn't even be looked at as competitors, as Apple clearly isn't aiming for the HDMI loving, 1080p needing crowd. What do you think, will the 360 become the first mass market set top box that the tech industry has been dreaming of since the 90s? (Bonus question: has it already?)
[Thanks, Jonah Falcon]