According to an unconfirmed report in The Seattle Times, Microsoft is preparing to demonstrate a new home entertainment product set to combat Apple TV and Google TV. The rumored service will supposedly be demonstrated this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Said to be powered by a “stripped-down version of Windows tailored for set-top boxes and connected TVs,” a customized version of Windows Embedded is the likely candidate for this type of product. The devices are also said to feature a UI similar to the Windows Media Center interface, and will include a “polished and familiar TV-program guide that makes it easy to blend and navigate both online and broadcast content.” While no manufacturing partners were revealed in the report, an initial round of Windows TV boxes will apparently go on sale later this year for around $200. More →
By now you’ve no doubt heard of the recent Hulu on Boxee situation. Three sentence recap for those who haven’t: Boxee is a media management/viewing/streaming application for Mac and PC that became a popular way for users to enjoy Hulu content on computers or on an Apple TV. Hulu told Boxee to stop serving its content. Boxee complied.
With that out of the way, Boxee released a new early build today and a quick look at the screen shot above reveals that, umm, Hulu content is back. Huh? No, Boxee and Hulu haven’t struck a new deal — Boxee decided to get a little sneaky and add Hulu feeds. Previously, the Boxee team had used some grade A hackery to present Hulu content but now it apparently hopes to circumvent issues of the past by serving up content through publicly available feeds. Why did Boxee do it despite agreeing to remove Hulu content? We imagine the majority of Boxee users had been drawn in by Hulu content and once it disappeared, many of them likely vanished along with it. We understand the need for Boxee to bring Hulu back to its app of course, but we also imagine this little stunt will do more harm than good as the company continues its attempts to hold more meetings with Hulu. What’s done is done though, and it will be interesting to see how Boxee vs. Hulu plays out.