How Microsoft could Sidestep Sony by Aligning with the TeleComs.
Much has been said lately of Microsoft's missteps with the Xbox One. I wonder though if maybe we still do not know the whole story. During the launch Microsoft focused on the Xbox One's TV capabilities, stressing the point that the device will improve the TV watching experience. I largely wrote this aspect of the One off as mostly useless and gimmicky. Nilay Patel wrote a great article that voiced many of the same thoughts I was having at the time. From the article:
Instead of actually integrating with your TV service, the One sits on top of it: you plug your cable box's HDMI cable into the Xbox, which overlays the signal with its own interface.
But as time went on, I came to think what if there is more to it? We only know what has so far been announced, but what if Microsoft has an ace up their sleeve?
TAKING THE BOX OUT OF THE EQUATION
What if the Xbox One is your new cable box? Verizon Fios, AT&T Uverse, and Google Fiber all deliver television over IP, not traditional RF methods. Comcast and other Cable companies are beginning to rollout Network DVR. What if the device doesn't need a tuner?
The signal could come into your house into a modem and then be dispersed to the Xbox One over WiFI or Ethernet. No need for a separate box or IR Blaster. The channels would be delivered over IP. DVR storage could reside at the Cable/Fiber provider's headend. Remote Control function could be handled by a mobile device with the SmartGlass app, or a dedicated remote.
What about if you have multiple TVs? There were rumors of an Apple TV like Xbox device a few months back. What if these are receivers for the additional TVs in the house. Potentially they may also be able to use the Miracast technology integrated into Windows 8.1 to stream gameplay to additional/mutiple TVs. Since the controllers use WiFi they could be used in different rooms as well. Multi-screen multiplayer anyone?
Of course all this would be fairly expensive, but the TV providers already pay quite a bit for the boxes. They could subsidize these devices and lock the users into a multi-year contract. They would also have less inventory to manage.