Jim Harrer


Xbox 360 and the battle for the living room

Let me start-off by saying, "I love my Xbox 360". It's actually hard to believe it just celebrated it's 7th birthday (May 12th).  According to Microsoft, about 70 million consoles have been sold.  When you think about it, a piece of hardware that has lasted 7 years is pretty amazing. It's a testament to the design team, I tip my hat to them.  

the-cable-guy-photoLet me switch gears now and discuss what puzzels me about their strategy. Perhaps some of you can comment and help me better understand what I have wrong.

My living room has an Xbox 360 + Kinect, DirecTV HR20-700 DVR and LG BD670 BlueRay Player all connected to my home theather and Sony 55 Bravia/  It's a nice system, not great in today's terms.  The LG BluRay player is less than a year old, everything else was purchased when we bought our home in 2007.  The piece of equipment I hate the most is the DirecTV DVR.  If you scan our recordings, we only watch like 10 channels on our DTV. It's not worth the $100 bucks a month we pay for it.

In an ideal world, it would be great if my Xbox 360 could be hooked up to receive my free, over the air, HD channels and allow me to record them, like the old Microsoft TV.  That would get me pretty close to dumping DirecTV altogether.  It would be great if they could add the balance of the channels offered on PlayOn (a neat application to sling content from your PC to any DLNA device). It would allow me to turn off my PC, save power and add videos from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, Comedy Central, TV.com, TBS, Spike, and a dozen more. I often wonder why Microsoft doesn't just buy PlayOn from MediaMall and grab Jeff Lawrence (President and CEO) and David Karlton (Chief Technology Officer) two smart and passonate guys?  

Next, I would do everything possible to make sure every living room and bedroom had an Xbox 360 in it.  Here are some of the things I would talk to the team about:

  • Skype - Microsoft owns Skype, so I'm not sure why it's still not supported in the Xbox 360 + Kinect?  The new line of Samsung Smart TVs has Skype built-in and they don't even come with HD cameras, it's an extra $170.00 bucks!
  • Apple's Airplay - Anyone who has used AirPlay, loves it.  It's a great way for Microsoft to tap into Apple's AppStore.  Want to watch TED talks on your TV? No problem. With the number of iOS devices on the market today, this has become a must have feature.  Even companies line Denon and Pioneer are adding it to their new midrange AV receivers.
  • Other Services - I'm a pretty fierce competitor, so I wouldn't let companies like Roku go unchallenged. All their apps should be available in the Xbox 360 app store.
  • Media Sharing - It would be great if all the Xbox 360s were connected in the house and they all could share eachother's hard drive.
  • More Apps - I don't understand why my LG BluRay has more apps in their AppStore than my Xbox 360? I'd love to know why.
  • 3D BluRay Player -  I know all the reasons Microsoft didn't add a BluRay player, and yes I know things are moving to streaming, but dammit, my grandkids love watching the same old disney DVDs all the time. Why does Microsoft want me to go out and purchase a 3D BluRay player and add it to my home theatre?  Honestly, I wished the Xbox 360 team got pissed when we added any additional equirement to our receivers, because I want the Xbox 360 to be it all.

There you have it, I welcome your comments and suggestions below.

  • ...Jim



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