Microsoft plans Apple TV rival

Now that Apple’s TV set-top box is actually a hit, Microsoft wants to take it down. The competing software giant is reportedly working on its own device to bring Windows Media Center to the masses.

The Seattle Times reports Microsoft will put a simplified version of its media-centric operating system into a nice, self-contained box for the less tech savvy among us. It’s a bid to compete with Apple’s new Apple TV product as well as Google’s emerging appearance in the growing sector.

Microsoft isn’t a newcomer when it comes to the living room. Media Center PCs have been able to interact wirelessly with TVs for years, but it’s remained a relatively small slice of the company’s pie, as many consumers don’t have the know-how or wherewithal to install such a connection.

The market of Internet-powered TV is just starting to actually become relevant, even though consumer electronics companies have tried to push it down consumers’ throats for well over a decade. With broadband penetration now through the roof and technology that can make it seamless and simple for everyone, people are actually starting to take their TVs online, and like it.

There are some stumbling blocks. Google’s latest venture isn’t going as well as it hoped. The company has reportedly pressured companies to cancel their planned Google TV product announcements at CES this week, because Google isn’t satisfied with the direction its platform is heading.

Nevertheless, Microsoft wants in. Even though it already takes a good chunk of the TV time with the Xbox 360, it wants to control the living room of the non-gamers out there. We will reportedly see more when the company officially unveils this $200 set-top box at CES.