For reasons you’ve no doubt already read about on our front page, I’ve been taking some time to focus on building paige aiden Media into a full-fledged, tax paying, business these last few weeks. I won’t go into much detail on that process here, -you’ll soon be able to read that elsewhere soon enough, my master plan called for a slight update to the office I built a year ago to run enConnected from. Most of the process probably won’t be of interest to most of you here, but it’s during this process that I realized something: Microsoft’s pure entertainment consumer story still stinks like a cab drivers armpit.

Take my situation for example. paige aiden’s newly revamped office is mere steps away from my living room right now. This will change effective the soon as I’ll be renting a small office in a neighborhood building to act as a new headquarters.  In this headquarters I’d like to add some way to get my fill of entertainment. Being able to listen to music while I work would be great, so too would video playback. Since I’m already so in tune with Microsoft’s services, I’d like to not fork over money to anyone else for all of this.

If you think this sounds like a job for the Xbox 360 you’d be right except, well –it isn’t. You see, I’ve already got one Xbox in my living room, and as it turns, that’s a problem. Because all of my content is attached to my Xbox LIVE account, if I’d like to watch that video I purchased at home, I’d need to connect my second Xbox at the office to that same account. Problem is, I’d have to load my profile on a flash drive and literally carry it with me to avoid running the restore process from each Xbox at least once a day. No, dice.

There’s always the possibility of buying another Xbox and using a separate LIVE ID for the new office. Unfortunately, Microsoft just silently axed Xbox LIVE Gold Subscription discounts for families, so that would cost me the normal $54 a year or $10 a month. Sadly that would mean paying full price. That’s not exactly a winning scenario either.

Lastly, there’s the price of the Xbox itself. In an age of smartphones that can stream to television sets and streaming devices the size of hockey pucks that cost $69, does it really make sense for users to actually purchase multiple Xboxes for a situation like mine for a minimum of $199? Absolutely not.

Simply put, Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE advances in pure audio and video entertainment have the service all dressed up with really nowhere to go. Not everyone wants or needs to play video games –I certainly don’t need to. What I want is a low-cost hardware solution for just watching Netflix and enjoying the shows I’ve already paid for –preferably without the hassle of moving my account between Xboxes. The fact that Microsoft hasn’t made it there yet, kind of worries me. It’s not like this is an unproven test ground. Microsoft has moved millions of units these two years simply by connecting people to entertainment services. Hell, their own metrics show that half of all Xbox LIVE activity is now happening in an entertainment application.

In the end, I’m left to look elsewhere. No, I’m not signing up to pay for a two-year service contract for Xbox LIVE in exchange for a $99 Xbox 360 S. No, I’m not paying again for a service I already have at home. No, I’m not going to maintain two separate media libraries. And no, I’m not about to carry around my profile on a flash drive on my keychain like this is 1864 instead of 2013.

How can we be this close, but yet this far? How can this still be an issue?

Come on Microsft. You’ve got Apple waiting in the wings, itching to take a stab at televisions. Roku is making some of the best set-top boxes ever seen. Yet, Don Mattrick is busy declaring you have no intentions of creating a media only device?

Contrary to popular belief, wars aren’t won by those who show up. They’re won by the ones who’ve used strategy and cunning to ensure losing was never even a real possibility.

Many of you have messaged in to let me know that “roaming profiles” which was introduced recently, gets around the restoration requirement for your Xbox LIVE accounts on every Xbox. This should clear the way for one account being used on multiple consoles without any of the complaints I’ve listed here other than the base cost of an Xbox 360. Thanks to Matt Akers and Matt Faraca for calling me on this, you can bet I’ll be picking up an Xbox 360 tomorrow to try this, and I’ll update you all on my progress after.

4 Comments on “A War Nearly Lost: Xbox isn’t for those who just want entertainment”

  1. I don’t have a problem with them producing a device for gaming and entertainment. But they need to address the account portability issue. I don’t have the problem (only 1 Xbox) but that’s a goofy scheme you’ve described.
    AND they need to extract their heads from their nether regions and fix the problems with the music service. What could be the best selling point for Win8, WP8, and Xbox as a combined force is just not living up to the hype. Not yet.

    • According to a few friends on the Xbox Team, Roaming profiles should address the account roaming problem I experienced when I first tried this two Xbox scheme. In this case, I may have very well just not realized that the issue had already been addressed in a recent dashboard update. I’ll let you know.

      Don’t get me started on Xbox Music. It’s still a huge issue for me.

    • Yeah, I saw the conversation and came back to read the update. Nice to know they’ve made life easier in that regard. For an office, I’m still not sire I’d go with the Xbox as a media center. I mean, after all I’ve already got a PC with Windows 8 for music, so a Roku or similar device would take care of the streaming video need (except for those videos from the Xbox service. Plus the Roku is going to be quieter and more energy efficient, I would think. I have an Xbox slim which is reasonably quiet but you can’t beat silent, which is what the Roku is.
      As to Xbox Music’s shortcomings… Folks like you need to keep hammering at it until it gets fixed. It’s a great service, but if it isn’t gonna work correctly, why am I paying for it?

  2. This is where a lower priced Tablet/ala Surface would make sense. I have purchased, downloaded and in other cases streamed video on my Surface RT. Downstairs, I can use Smartglass to expand the usability of XBox music on the TV in the living room, and upstairs HDMI allows me to pop the same onto the 22″ TV in the bedroom. As my phone and Surface have the same IDs, I get a relatively decent system through that ID if I log onto the Xbox with that ID. The beauty of Win8 is I can switch to the other ID on the Surface or Acer Tablet, connect to the Xbox and get the other side of it.

    Now, you know the predicament I am in for IDs and I have been running literally 3 accounts, using lately 2, with competing IDs. On one, I can rent slightly aged movies, access Hulu to catch up on some series. But no music. On the other, I have it tied to my Titan and the other account, so Xbox Music, but no video (I can cruise through it and see previews, but no go on watching). On the other account, there is no access to tunes. In a perfect licensing world this would be unnecessary, and in your case one ID should take care of you with 2 devices.

    But the 2nd device doesn’t have to be an Xbox. For your solution, if you have a Win8 machine (preferably a tablet) tied to your ID, all the media content should be accessible, synced to the cloud if matched. If you are not using your tablet for your office PC, you are set. To be honest, the first tablet I bought is perfectly capable of doing this (My Acer came with Win7 installed) and in fact it is actually Windows 8 Pro. It was 1/2 the price of a Surface RT 8 months before the release of Win8. I know maybe this makes the $99 Xbox look cheap, but this would actually deal with the ID problem for not so much more and give the benefit of a computing device.

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