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Xbox TV May Be Real After All

Microsoft releasing a stripped-down Xbox One for use as a streaming device is hardly the weirdest idea ever, and yet it's been rumored again and again for the last three years. The rumor may finally become a reality at E3 2016, though. An experienced Microsoft prognosticator has posited the existence of two new streaming devices from the Xbox manufacturer, and while neither of them sounds outlandish, both sound potentially useful.

Xbox head Phil Spencer at an E3 press briefing in 2014. Credit: Microsoft

(Image credit: Xbox head Phil Spencer at an E3 press briefing in 2014. Credit: Microsoft)

Brad Sams is an executive editor at Petri, an IT site with a special interest in Microsoft products. Previously, he correctly called the existence of the Xbox Elite Controller before last year's E3, and he's hoping to make his predictions two-for-two. In his podcast, The Sams Report, Sams spoke about two Xbox TV devices: one cheap and simple, one more expensive and more ambitious.

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The first device, Sams claimed, would be very much like Google's Chromecast: a bare-bones streaming stick that would work with basic video and music services, including video and music downloaded through Microsoft's online store. This supposed Xbox TV stick may also be able to stream content from an Xbox One elsewhere in the house, making it useful for bedroom or playroom setups.

On the other hand, a more powerful device could take the form of a larger, more powerful box. The full-featured Xbox TV would be able to do everything the stick could do, plus have limited access to the Windows Store. This means that users could access a wide variety of apps, including productivity programs and a wide variety of casual games.

Now that the Xbox 360 has been discontinued, it's not hard to see why Microsoft might want to produce a cheaper, more streamlined console for families who want some gaming functionality, but don't need the latest and greatest hardware. Still, after three years of speculation with no Xbox TV to show for it, it's hardly a guarantee. We'll know for sure next month.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.