CES 2007 - Part II: IPTV on Xbox 360, iPhone and DTXby Anand Lal Shimpi & Manveer Wasson on January 16, 2007 12:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Trade Shows
Over the past decade, Intel, Microsoft and the gamut of PC technology leaders have been saying that convergence is coming. Years of Intel Developer Forum keynotes were full of talking about the future and convergence and how it was just around the corner. Yet every year we found ourselves wondering when it was really going to happen. It seems like one night the industry went to bed and when we all woke up the next morning, convergence had happened.
Our first CES article had that phrase in its title: "Convergence Happened", because indeed it had. Last year's CES seemed very much like two discrete industries (PC and CE) meeting awkwardly at a single trade show; this year's CES however felt like the two had been married for years, and now it was only a question of which devices would do convergence well. When we say convergence, we're speaking of the intersection of the PC and Consumer Electronics industries where both types of devices can work together, often enabled by so-called convergence devices.
The debate over this convergence of PC and CE technologies mainly revolved around what technology would be the center of the digital home. PC companies like Intel and Microsoft felt it would be the PC, while CE companies like Sony wanted it to be a CE device. While the race is far from over, it looks like Microsoft and Intel have an early lead, as the PC is most definitely the center of the digital home today.
The center of the digital home doesn't necessarily have to be the most frequently used device in the home, rather it is the device that enables all of the other devices in the digital home. In Microsoft's digital home, that device is currently a reasonably powerful Windows XP PC; in the future, it will be a Windows Home Server PC. Your content is stored on that computer, your emails, music, videos, everything. Other devices revolve around it by either syncing to it or streaming data from it. For example, your iPod or Zune syncs music to it, and your Xbox 360 streams videos from it.
It's amazing how much Microsoft has been able to do with the Xbox 360 in just over a year of it being on the market. While Microsoft had lofty goals for the original Xbox, the only people who were able to use it as more than a DVD player/game console were those who modded the console to support homebrew applications like Xbox Media Center. The 360 however is a different story entirely; it's already more than a game console. It's not that Microsoft did anything earth shattering with its Xbox 360 and Live strategy, it's that it was the first time a convergence device was even remotely well executed. Microsoft has spent the past decade trying to get a PC into the living room, and at the end of the day all it took was an Xbox.
You see, everyone has been in search of what Microsoft has been able to put together with Windows and the Xbox 360. Sony's attempt centers around the PS3, coupled with intelligent TVs, Blu-ray players and other CE devices. And Apple's attempt, well Apple's attempt is a little different.
Today's article focuses on some of the convergence related news that happened around this year's CES. From Microsoft's Xbox 360 IPTV announcement and the iPhone to AMD's new form factor, it's all part of a much bigger picture that will impact all of our lives.