With CES fast-approaching, the rumor mill is at full bore, and one of the latest items to come out of it is that Microsoft will be rolling out a "stripped-down version of Windows" that will run on set-top boxes and upcoming TV sets.
The report comes courtesy of The Seattle Times, which says the boxes will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $200, will run the Windows Media Center interface, and will be on the market sometime this year.
As The Times points out, the version of Windows that will be running this TV-friendly interface is not a new thing. Microsoft demonstrated Media Center running on Windows Embedded Compact 7 earlier this year, and offered it up as a public technology preview. What is new, is bringing it to commodity hardware for the living room, or built into TVs--both things Google has done with its still nascent Google TV platform.
One thing to note here is that Microsoft is also rumored to be unveiling a version of its Windows software that runs on ARM processors while at CES. However, those reports, which cropped up last month from both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, said that version of Windows would be at least two years out and aimed at bringing a full version of the OS to ARM devices. In other words, this is different.
For live news and photos from both of Microsoft's press briefings at CES, be sure to join us here tomorrow at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Pacific. We'll have more details on how you can keep up with that news on this blog a little later today.