Microsoft Makes Its Move
"If there's one guy who is going to try to put everything together ... Steve and his team have one of the unique opportunities," Tim Bajarin, president of tech consultancy Creative Strategies, said of Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a recent digital living room conference.
"Look at the Front Row interface they created -- you can see digital living room written all over it," he added, referring to Apple's interface for viewing digital media.
And then, of course, there's Apple's huge success with music and recent deals to sell video content from NBC Universal at its iTunes music store.Similarly, Sony is in a unique position to take over the digital living room, given its position in the consumer-electronics space, the success of its PlayStation video-game console and its music and movie businesses. And finally there's Internet search leader Google, which announced also at CES that it will begin allowing consumers to buy videos from major content partners through its Web site. Before IPTV, Microsoft's rolled out the Media Center version of its Windows OS to connect TV and PCs. But Media Center PCs have gotten off to a slow start in part because they were bundled with a preinstalled TV tuner, which increased their cost, Scherf says. Microsoft recently announced that 6.5 million Media Center PCs have shipped in three years, with 5.5 million of those shipping in just the past year. "The important thing to understand about that is that the majority of those units are not going into the living room," adds Gartner media analyst Van Baker. He estimates that fewer than 10% of Media Center PCs are connected to a TV set. And adds that they're still a "pretty tiny" portion of overall PC sales. The problem: PCs simply aren't stable enough to take over the role of the beloved TV. "If you're in the middle of your favorite TV show and you get the blue screen of death, you're going to go crazy," Baker says. Despite that, Microsoft is still aiming to bring television to the PC, with announcements last week about connecting DirecTV (DTV) video onto Windows Media Center PCs.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV