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Microsoft Xbox TV rumoured for 2013 launch

Microsoft is rumoured to be planning an assault on Apple TV and Google TV devices with its own low-power video-streaming set-top box product.

Dubbed the Xbox TV, the device is claimed to be based on the same platform as the company's upcoming next-generation Xbox console - but considerably cut down. As a result, it will feature instant-on capabilities and draw very little power - and should be fanless and silent, unlike a full-fat games console.

According to The Verge, which cites multiple anonymous sources on the matter, the device will be based on the company's Windows 8 platform and feature the ability to access Xbox Live online services including Xbox Video, Xbox Music, and third-party applications including YouTube and various TV catchup services.

Due to be unveiled next year alongside the next-generation Xbox console, the device won't be able to play the same games as its more powerful stablemate. That's not to say gaming isn't on the cards, however: rumours suggest that the Xbox TV will include access to Xbox Live Arcade, giving the user the ability to download and play casual gaming titles.

The Xbox TV is claimed to mark Microsoft's efforts to extend its Xbox product line: as well as the games console, the company has recently started pushing Xbox branding onto its smartphone software and other devices. As such, the company is believed to be looking to license the Xbox TV technology to TV makers, who could build an Xbox TV system directly into their next-generation Smart TVs.

Thus far, Microsoft hasn't officially confirmed or denied the rumours, but with an announcement expected at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) next year, fans shouldn't have long to wait to see if the rumours are true.

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