Microsoft TV project gets new hardware-expert boss

Talk of a Microsoft TV project to take on the Apple TV and Google TV has reignited today, with the news that Microsoft has put an experienced hardware exec in charge of its interactive TV business. New corporate VP in charge of Microsoft's TV and Service business Tom Gibbons was previously the head of Microsoft Hardware, the company's peripheral arm, before moving to Windows Phone where he oversaw smartphone hardware reference designs.

Earlier this month, leaks suggested Microsoft was working on project Orapa, described as an "Xbox LIVE, Kinect & Mediaroom mash-up" which would use Mediaroom streaming content with avatar and Kinect control together with social networking and recommendations. Before that, a a "Santa Fe" Mediaroom/Silverlight set-top box was rumored, along with a "Silverlight system-on-a-chip" (SoC) implementation that could form the basis of third-party STB and Blu-ray player hardware with a Microsoft heart.

Gibbons' involvement could suggest that Microsoft is now shopping a reference hardware specification around its OEM partners, or indeed heading a team of in-house designers putting together their own product. The company already has a foot in the living room thanks to Xbox 360 and its media extender functionality.

[via Business Insider]