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Apple TV vs Xbox 360 vs Google TV

The living room is the centre of the next stage in the battle between computing mega powers for control of our digital lives. Having carved up the desktop and now the pocket, Apple, Google and Microsoft are after control of your TV set.

Of the three, Microsoft has the best current position. The Xbox has been a great sales success and over time more and more features have been added to make it more entertainment and media centre and less games console.

Apple has the Apple TV, a device that is the unloved red-headed stepchild of the company's product line up. Despite having everything required to deliver a compelling media consumption device the Apple TV is hobbled by the need to tie it to a desktop running iTunes to gain access to content. It has no support for uPNP or DLNA so can't stream from media devices and even Apple's own Time Capsule can't serve media directly to it. 

Google's position is worse. It's been unable to get any traction at all with Google TV and the Nexus Q is a mythical beast that isn't even shipping right now.

Next week though, Microsoft launches the Xbox Infinity (or at least that name is the consensus amongst rumour sites) and it may force both Google and Apple to compete a little harder for TV viewing eyes. 

Its a rare thing to suggest that both Google and Apple have failed to work out a market sector, even more so that Microsoft is succeeding in their stead, but that's where we are.

Of all its current consumer products only one is class leading. Microsoft's announcement next week becomes even more important as a result.