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Microsoft may release a smaller, cheaper Xbox

Microsoft may release a smaller, cheaper Xbox
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

One of this past Christmas' hottest gifts was streaming media players. That was fueled in large part by the increasing popularity of streaming content providers like Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, which now has 69 million worldwide subscribers.

It was also fueled by the low cost and small size of streaming media players, like Amazon Fire TV, Google's Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV. Prices for streaming media boxes start around $69 and media sticks start around $35.

One name you don't hear when people are talking about streaming media players is Microsoft. Which is ironic because it essentially invented the concept of streaming media players back in 2005, with its game player Xbox 360, which could stream the likes of Netflix.

That's also true of its current gaming console, the cool and popular Xbox One. But the Xbox One, by comparison, is bulky and expensive ($349 online at the Xbox store).

So, don't be surprised if by next Christmas you're hearing about a new, smaller, cheaper version of the Xbox One. Tech executives say they're hearing rumblings that Microsoft is preparing this new version of  Xbox One to debut later this year.

Next page: Is an Xbox streaming media player in the works?
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