Microsoft hopes the new Xbox One—its first console in eight years—will become a hub for entertainment. In addition to live TV, the device will offer exclusive media content, including a live-action Halo video series produced by Steven Spielberg, according to Reuters.
Don Mattick, Microsoft's svp, interactive entertainment, told the BBC that he sees the Xbox One as an "unrivaled device," and "the ultimate all-in-one entertainment system."
The Verge reported that the Xbox One's live TV functionality will work in conjunction with the user's existing cable box.
The Xbox One's “Snap Mode” feature looks like Windows 8 and allows users to run two activities simultaneously, according to TechCrunch, providing a second-screen experience alongside things like live TV. TechCrunch said it might be the Xbox One’s biggest appeal for content providers who are looking for additional ways to engage audiences losing interest in traditional ads.
Microsoft already competes with Nintendo's Wii U Sony Playstation—the new generation of which will be out in the coming months—for its position in the $65 billion world gaming market. In the realm of smart TVs, Microsoft is part of a crowded market that includes Apple, Google and many others.
However, live TV on the Xbox One is fraught with the same bugaboos as Google TV, according to The Verge. AllThingsD pointed out that the Xbox essentially serves as a remote, allowing users to change the channel and providing a programming guide. The box is inextricably tied to cable.
Though it may not be the future of television, the Xbox One was designed as a home entertainment hub, with features including Internet connectivity, group video calling on Skype, and original content including NFL programming and 15 exclusive gaming titles. It will be the first console to release the next installment of Activision's Call of Duty franchise.
Microsoft also announced it will have an updated 8-gigabyte SmartGlass app that connects the Xbox One to smartphones and tablets. The app will bundle in Kinect, a $100 sensor for voice and gesture commands.
The company did not specify when the console will be publicly available and is still figuring out the cost.