After a few year drought (just ask Chris Lanier), Microsoft is re-entering the media extender space via hardware partners with Vista-compatible devices. The new extenders will feature:
- Various form factors including dedicated set-top boxes, DVD players, and television sets
- Some devices with integrated N-flavor WiFi
- DivX and Xvid playback (!)
- Hooks into online content services such as Napster and Movielink
Of course as soon as Microsoft adds DivX and Xvid support to the 360 (they better), they’ll end up killing their partner’s initiatives. Why buy a dedicated Linksys or D-Link extender when, for about the same money, you can buy an Xbox that offers extender functionality and much more?
I was only able to get software pics out of Microsoft’s press folks, but supposedly hardware is being demoed at CEDIA. There’s a decent contingent of bloggers attending, including Engadget and Gizmodo reps, so hopefully they’ll snap some pics for us. And I expect the relevant hardware vendors to release info/images in the next day or so.