By Khurram Aziz | Nov 23, 2012 10:03 AM EST
Microsoft will go head-to-head with Apple TV and Google TV as it releases a set-top-box version of its Xbox gaming console designed specifically to watch television and movies.
The website The Verge cites "multiple sources familiar with Redmond's plans" who state the device will debut in time for the 2013 holiday season alongside the new Xbox 720.
However, as usual, Microsoft wouldn't be drawn in on the rumors. A spokesperson for the company told The Verge, "Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend the console lifecycle by introducing controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention."
The Verge believes that Microsoft's Xbox TV is part of a broader effort to ensure its core architecture for the next-generation Xbox is scalable enough to be put together to run on a number of devices. The website says that the company could opt to combine its core system for the next Xbox with a phone stack to deliver a phone capable of running a full version of Microsoft's Xbox Live services.
The news comes as Microsoft repositions itself as a broader consumer technology powerhouse alongside Apple and Google.
Microsoft recently released its latest Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems designed to integrate seamlessly between smartphones, tablets and PCs. The company is also bringing its Xbox Live gaming community to its flagship Surface tablet, bridging the gap between serious and causal gamers alike.
The Xbox TV will follow in the footsteps of Apple, which released its latest version in March. Apple TV is designed to stream content from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Flickr and iCloud, among others.
Google TV comes as both a set-top box and is integrated into TV sets from manufacturers such as Sony, LG and Samsung rather than its own separate device. The Android-based OS allows content from HBO, CNBC, Netflix and other providers, streamed across the internet.
Apple plans to have a complete integrated TV set on the market sometime in November 2013.