Microsoft set to unveil Google TV competitor and Avatar Kinect at CES

By Tom Warren, on 4th Jan 11 6:46 am with 5 Comments

Microsoft is expected to unveil a Google TV competitor at CES alongside a new Avatar Kinect function for Xbox 360.

The Seattle Times reports that Microsoft is planning to make a splash at CES with an announcement of new hardware running a stripped down Windows version that uses the familiar Media Center UI for televisions. The boxes will go on sale in late 2011 and will cost around $200:

“Microsoft’s going to make a splash in this market with a stripped-down version of Windows tailored for set-top boxes and connected TVs. The software is a version of its embedded device software, overlaid with the Windows Media Center interface, with media streaming and remote-control capabilities.”

The software is not new however. Microsoft has demonstrated this functionality in Windows Embedded Standard 7 earlier in 2010:

Glimpse Dog has also leaked slides that it claims will feature in Microsoft’s CES presentation on Wednesday. The slides reference “Avatar Kinect” which Microsoft is set to introduce at CES. The software update, delivered over Xbox LIVE, will allow Kinect owners to interact with each other using their avatars. The avatars will have a separate area, much like Nintendo’s Mii channel, that will allow for users to control them using Kinect and interact to watch content or play games.

Avatar Kinect

  • Tim Fox

    Avatar kinect looks nice. shouldve been right out of the door but still awesome

    • Clemens

      At Christmas it wasn’t even available in most place in the US. Now it is, so people need impulses to buy it… and one impulse is a good announcement like this. Therefore, from a consumers point of view it may have been great to have this from the start, but from Microsoft’s point of view it’s smart to do it this way… it may sell some extra Kinects.

  • Thom McKiernan

    Thought Avatar Kinect was going to be some James Cameron tie-in!

    Great to see Media Centre/Windows TV devices are getting a push. Did Media Centre Extenders (other than XBOX) ever really kick off?

  • Kanelp

    I would love to see a full power Media Center box that is designed to connect to your TV. If they can pull it off, they would have the best ‘over the top’ solution on the market. Media Center is a great product and it looks like they have added Zune marketplace support in to it in the video. If they can get Hulu and Amazon to support it, it would do it all.

    • Avatar X

      That is the idea exactly. Media Center running on a stripped down WES7 install or a Media Center running on a stripped down WES7 install running inside of a Connected HDTV, a la Vizio or Sony’s take on Google TV.