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Microsoft living room
Can Microsoft win the living room?

08 Jun 2012 | Rasmus Larsen |

Google is trying, Apple is trying and tv manufacturers are trying with Smart TVs. Who will win the living room war when TV enters the internet age? Microsoft stands strong, and their new features at E3 could extend their lead.

The living room war

Once upon a time a TV had only one purpose; serve as a television screen. Today people use the living room TV for all kinds of things, including gaming. TVs are now entering the internet age, just like smartphones did a few years back.

Is Microsoft winning the living room war?
Is Microsoft winning the living room war?

TVs are now becoming eco-system devices that, potentially, can communicate with other devices, other people. The TV is used for games, photos, music, internet content and tons of other things. So who can combine all these things?

Right now Microsoft looks like a good guess. TV manufacturers are trying hard with Smart TVs but have failed miserably so far. Google is trying with Google TV but their first try awarded no success. Apple is trying with their Apple TV box with some success. But Microsoft… Microsoft already has a 40 million Xbox Live database. They have sold more than 66 million Xbox 360 devices, and Kinects are selling like cup cakes. All these Microsoft devices are already inside people’s living rooms.

Is Microsoft winning the living room war?
Microsoft has added a range of new TV apps on their Xbox 360

And so what? Well, everybody seems to think that internet TVs/Smart TVs/Connected TVs/or whatever will rise with internet TV content. Microsoft is taking a different route. They are racing the fast lane into your living room – enabled by gaming. And if you think about it, it makes sense. Everybody likes games, and games are some of the most popular apps in all smartphone/tablet ecosystems today. So is Microsoft kick-starting their quest for dominance over the living room via Xbox 360? Yes they are. They are building their living room eco system with the Xbox 360 as base.

And at E3, Microsoft announced more than 35 new content providers (apps), including 24/7 ESPN, Nickelodeon, NBA and NHL (NLB is there, too), turning the Xbox 360 into a video hub. In addition to that, Microsoft also announced SmartGlass that connects all your screens in numerous ways. Transfer content between devices; use smartphones/tablets as secondary screens for games or movies, and much more.

Right now Microsoft is taking an unusual route into the living room but it seems to be working. TVs are becoming part of an eco system but the traditional TV manufacturers are lost between two poles: 1. Doing what they do best; make pure displays, and 2. Building eco system TVs. So far, they have failed at the latter. Google, Apple and Microsoft are much stronger in this area based on their competence in the operating system world - and right now Microsoft seems to have taken the lead. The next years will reveal the real winner.

Learn more about eco systems and Smart TVs in our Smart TV coverage section.