Microsoft’s Xbox Media Streamer Joins The Surface Mini

Posted on November 7, 2016 by Brad Sams in Xbox with 39 Comments

Xbox Hero

Back before E3, I received quite a bit of information about what Microsoft was going to announce at their upcoming gaming event. Everything from a new standard controller to a smaller white Xbox One was accurately leaked but one item I said would be announced, failed to make an appearance.

The device, or possibly devices, was a media streamer that would fill the gap in Microsoft’s lineup that would make it easier to get Windows and even Xbox content, on to more displays in your house. The device, which was codenamed Hobart, was canceled and Microsoft was reportedly set to order 300,000 of these devices for manufacturing shortly after E3.

The report comes from Jez Corden and while I knew the name Hobart, his independent report of the device further confirms its existence and sadly, demise too. I cannot confirm the 300,000 figure but seeing as the device has not materialized, it’s fair to say that the project is on hold, or more likely, canceled.

It’s not exactly known why Microsoft decided to cancel the device and it’s unfortunate too. While the home media streamer market is well established, Microsoft doesn’t have anything in this segments to promote their own products like Groove Music or even apps in the Windows store. Hobart would have been able to run UWP apps and some games from the Windows store natively with a price of around $99.

Hobart now joins the Surface Mini in the pile of products that were nearly on store shelves but killed at the last minute. Will the company actually release a device in this segment? Who knows, but I think that they should as Miracast has not caught on in a way that has been meaningful to sharing content inside your house with a Windows PC and Hobart would fill this void nicely.

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29 Comments
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  1. 2 | Reply
    Awhispersecho Alpha Member #1649 - 3 weeks ago

    Another market they are too late to get into. Doesn't matter though, as I have said before, they are slowly leaving the everyday consumer space. No need to introduce something that would have gotten limited support, would have been cancelled after a couple years and honestly has no real demand. Most people already have a streaming solution.

  2. 1 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 3 weeks ago

    Either MSFT marketing and financial people can spot a money-loser before committing to manufacturing, or they can't and MSFT is doomed, Doomed, DOOMED!

    I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and believe those MSFT employees know more about product prospects than all tech journalists and blog commenters.

    As for Groove Music, are there any public numbers on its profitability separate from the rest of More Personal Computing?

    1. 0 | Reply
      awright18 Alpha Member #405 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I'd have to agree with this being the primary reasoning for the cut.  I doubt they could sell enough of these to even cover their costs, even if it was the best streamer on the market and could stream Xbox games.  I think where Microsoft has the best chance with hardware is going to be inventing new product categories (like they continue to do with Surface).  Entering overcrowded already dominated markets is a challenge for every company.  

  3. 1 | Reply
    prettyconfusd Alpha Member #1780 - 3 weeks ago

    Shove the innards of a Lumia 650 into a stick - remove the screen, nfc, phone, speakers, cameras etc. And add Xbox streaming for less than $50 and you've got a viable product. Windows 10 Mobile would be much more suitable than Desktop for something like this.

    They'd just need to make sure everything supported landscape mode - and edit it a little for remote control use.

    It's probably getting a little too late for something like that. But Xbox streaming could be a pretty decent USP still if they got it out there reasonably soon.

     

    Or they could just frikkin' make apps for their services on Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku etc... It's about time really...

  4. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 weeks ago

    Expect more cuts from Satay Nutella Inc.

  5. 0 | Reply
    bbold Alpha Member #669 - 3 weeks ago

    Another reason why we Windows users are losing confidence in this company. They cancel the Band, this media streamer, plus dozens of other devices, as well as kills off mobile. Who's to say they won't kill off the Surface Studio and that won't be the first and last release of that device? Microsoft needs to stick to its guns and show some guts. Not liking where they are going. One of the reasons Apple is so popular is because they have great consumer confidence and their tech support is top notch. If you call Microsoft Support you reach someone in India who has no idea what you're talking about, and that's with paid 'extended complete protection' coverage. Shame.

    1. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 3 weeks ago

      In reply to bbold:

      . . . Microsoft needs to stick to its guns and show some guts. . .

      Could be argued that exactly what MSFT did with Zune, Windows RT, Surface RT/2, the purchase of Nokia's phone design and manufacturing operations, and making Lumias for a few years. MSFT's been there, done that, lost a mountain of money. Perhaps MSFT has now lost enough money to gained enough experience to know when to kill off future money-losing products.

      Perhaps MSFT shareholders would prefer a bigger dividend to MSFT losing a few US$ billions on some new device.

  6. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 3 weeks ago

    "....in HELL!!!"

  7. 0 | Reply
    paulbuchanan1 Alpha Member #2563 - 3 weeks ago

    Microsoft have just about totally given up on the consumer market would not surprise me if they announce in the next year that they are going to ditch xbox to be an exclusively a enterprise company. granted they are doing well in that sector right now they seem to be putting all their eggs in one basket. If someone manages to bring out competition to office 365 and the cloud they could be in danger of having no area to fall back on they need to focus on consumers because if they are not using Microsoft products or services then why should the enterprise use it

    1. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 3 weeks ago

      In reply to paulbuchanan1:

      How many consumers use digital landline phones, file servers, Oracle, SAP, Siemens software, IBM hardware or software? There are several enterprise-focused tech companies with NO consumer lines which are doing quite well. Unclear why MSFT couldn't also.

      10 years ago PCs were the ONLY way for consumers to do most of the computing they wanted to do. That changed with consumer smartphones (OK, there were various Palm smartphones already, but not widely used; also lots of business smartphones like Blackberries, but no consumer offshoots back then). Habits die hard, so it took about a decade for people to drop PCs and switch to phones and tablets. In contrast, enterprises large, medium and small have kept on using PCs and are likely to continue to do so for a while.

      Finally, as for Office, what one uses at work tends to dictate what one uses at home, in part for work, not the reverse. Office is safe-ish for a few more years, though there are already some things Google Sheets and LibreOffice Calc can do better than Excel.

  8. 0 | Reply
    elitemike Alpha Member #633 - 3 weeks ago

    I would have liked to see a product like this materialize, but I personally have no need in my house at the moment as the xbox handles all my needs. I have family members that would have used this though. Maybe xbox one keeps dropping in price and then price isn't an issue for home use, portability of course is.

  9. 0 | Reply
    nys Alpha Member #2362 - 3 weeks ago

    I own a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter (the new one, with the last firmware), movies are unwatchable (lag, problems with sound and image...)

    so anything would have been better then this.

    1. 0 | Reply
      FreeJAC Alpha Member #1723 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to nys:

      I have the old one and a first gen Chromecast plugged into the HDMI port on my Xbox One. If you screen mirror and then drag the content over to the second screen, it works fine.

    2. 0 | Reply
      Finley Alpha Member #1029 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to nys:

      This may be the reason of the delay / cancellation. Poor cast to capabilities.

    3. 0 | Reply
      the_zeni - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to nys:

      Same. Was waiting for this device as chromecast in theory works fine, just not with UWP Apps.

    4. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to nys:

      Anything better?  Like a Roku? You took your chances with the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. What makes you think anything else from Microsoft is remotely better?

  10. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 3 weeks ago

    I'm glad people won't have the pleasure of another Microsoft product that'll die in the wind. From your description, people have no use for it as a UWP and gaming platform. That's what Xbox is for. As a media box, any smart television or Roku will do the job. Miracast is too little too late. The Miracast technology was never given a chance especially with how bad it was implemented on tablets and PCs. The streaming dongles were expensive and unreliable. Microsoft should stick with what they know.... Hint: Turn Xbox into a living room PC. Bring back Media Center with DVR capability.

    1. 0 | Reply
      MutualCore - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      I think it comes down to the weakness of UWP. Any device that only would run UWP is potentially cancelled because of 'no apps', 'no developer interest'. This is why Surface PCs are being made, they run Win32 applications.

      Look at the Apple TV - already 8000 apps and huge developer interest.

    2. 1 | Reply
      FreeJAC Alpha Member #1723 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to MutualCore:

      They need to hurry up and get UWP apps working on Windows 10 IoT already! Let the community come up with something first. Again another initiative that is languishing.

    3. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to MutualCore:

      Apple TV leveraged off of its app library and iTunes. It offers compatibility with its own existing products. It's the same story with Google. On the other hand, Microsoft never done well with leveraging its own products. Windows Phone apps are treated differently from its Windows 10 apps ("Built for Windows 10") and its previous iteration of Windows apps. Now, UWP is built differently from Windows 10 apps too. And there's the Win32 app converter for Windows Store. Xbox game apps are not compatible with Windows 10.

      As for Surface PCs, you're not using the terminology correctly. They are Surface Pro, Book, and Studio. They aren't PCs specifically. They are tablets, convertibles, laptops, and All-in-One. They are demonstrated with Windows apps as far as I can tell. I can't tell if Win32 applications will necessarily work well with touch for we should assume they won't. UWP will be a fiasco with the living room streaming model with an underpowered device, and they just won't work with Win32 applications.

  11. 0 | Reply
    awright18 Alpha Member #405 - 3 weeks ago

    Is this correct "the device has not metalized" not exactly sure what that means. (not trying to be a d-bag over a possible typo)

    I just don't know who the audience would be for this. They have an Xbox One at only $299, and many $99 windows 10 PCs exist that plug into HDMI. So they probably saw the lack of success of those and decided that it didn't make sense.  Also if they were going to offer some type of casting it was probably "mira-casting" which again hasn't went over well.  So unless it did something that nothing else does, there may not be a market for it.

    1. Brad Sams
      1 | Reply
      Brad Sams Alpha Member #2 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to awright18:

      Should be materialized, fixed. 

    2. 0 | Reply
      mebby Alpha Member #219 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to awright18:

      I guess it it not needed in the sense there are alternatives out there.

      Roku, Apple TV, etc. are energy sippers compared to XBox. I would love a device I can access Groove and Movies & TV content on another TV. My XBox is in the living room and I don't won't another XBox at $299 plus.

      Of course, I would rather use WM10 than my current iPhone.

    3. 0 | Reply
      Jacob Bearce Alpha Member #31 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to awright18:

      It'd be a competitor to things like Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, etc. There's definitely a market there. Not everyone wants to pay for a fully fledged game console, and hooking up a Windows 10 PC to a TV isn't exactly a great experience. I personally would love an Xbox media streamer like this, for secondary TV's in my home.

    4. 0 | Reply
      awright18 Alpha Member #405 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to Jacob-Bearce:

      Out of curiosity, which features do you want that aren't available on the other available items?  

    5. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to Jacob-Bearce:

      I still don't see the point. It'll be a cheap paperweight after figuring out all the limitations of the product. The Xbox should be the route to have the best experience. Microsoft still can't figure out how the living room entertainment thing works. Until it does, don't waste your money.

    6. 0 | Reply
      Simard57 Alpha Member #631 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      who has figured out the living room experience?

    7. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 3 weeks ago
      Simard57 Posted
      In reply to glenn8878:

      who has figured out the living room experience?

      Don't you go with what works?  Roku, Netflix, and Amazon have demonstrated success. Xbox sold many units for gaming so it's just taking it a step further. Microsoft trying a streaming dongle with it's lack of success with UWP is a mistake.

    8. 0 | Reply
      Finley Alpha Member #1029 - 3 weeks ago
      In reply to Jacob-Bearce:

      Exactly what I wanted from this device, to be able to play Xbox on a secondary TV.