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Microsoft reportedly building 'Xbox TV' set-top box for streaming video, casual games

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Microsoft is working on a relatively low-priced set-top box dedicated to entertainment services and casual games, reports The Verge.

The device is a "low-cost alternative" to Microsoft's next-generation gaming console, and both are being prepared to launch in time for the 2013 holiday season, according to The Verge's sources. The box is said to run on "the core components of Windows 8," as part of Microsoft's effort to make the operating system — and the guts of the next Xbox console — scalable across multiple platforms such as smartphones. And with the launch of Xbox Music last month, Microsoft solidified the "Xbox" name as its company-wide entertainment brand.

The purported "Xbox TV" device would be able to boot, sleep and resume quickly for always-on access to entertainment, a cheap way to bring video-on-demand content into the living room or elsewhere in the house without buying an additional full-on gaming console. According to The Verge, Microsoft has also considered working with television manufacturers to package the device's functionality into TVs.

When reached for comment, Microsoft told The Verge, "We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention."