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No HomeStation For XBox

by Thomas on Feb. 17, 2002 @ 9:54 p.m. PST

Microsoft Corp. denied it is building the "HomeStation'', a rumored living room entertainment hub industry watchers have speculated could combine the software giant's Xbox video game console with digital video, music and Internet functions. HomeStation rumors were sparked last September by a report in PC Format magazine that such a device would cross the Xbox with a PC and boast a bigger hard drive, audio and video technology and a wireless connection.

HomeStation talk resurfaced earlier in January as one analyst said he could confirm the existence of the machine in Microsoft and that it could debut later this year.

"This reared its head several weeks ago. The odd thing is there is no thing called the HomeStation product or initiative,'' Microsoft spokeswoman Erin Brewer said.

Microsoft was interested in "some of the longer-term ideas, but there's no product called that,'' Brewer said.

Talk that Microsoft could beef up the Xbox with music, movies, TV recording, e-mail and instant message capabilities has abounded since the company announced the product in 2000. The Xbox went on sale last November in the United States.

Company executives have admitted that the Xbox, with its PC-like design using an Intel Corp. processor, Nvidia graphics chip, 8-gigabyte hard drive and fast Internet jack, is capable of doing more than just play games, but have insisted they are just focusing on games.

However, last November, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told an analyst conference there was a "bigger play'' than video games the company hoped to eventually achieve with the Xbox.

Microsoft was exploring lots of possibilities in the areas of interactive television and PC-based digital entertainment, Brewer said, adding some of those ideas could eventually make their way into the Xbox.

"In the longer term do we have plans like that, but there's nothing concrete in the works yet,'' Brewer said.

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