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Microsoft mulling Apple TV competitor in slimmed-down Xbox One, report says

Rumors of a "lightweight" Xbox One are gaining steam as 2016 approaches, with a report on Wednesday claiming Microsoft is experimenting with a gaming console hybrid device that could take on Apple TV.

Citing sources familiar with Microsoft's plans, Petri IT Knowledge Base reports the company is again planning a slimmed down set-top box with capabilities falling somewhere between a content streamer and a full-fledged gaming console. Similar rumors cropped up when the

Xbox One launched in 2013, the report says.

According to sources, the alleged device would be a low power version of its bigger Xbox One brother, and could be limited to lightweight apps and casual Windows Store games sold over the Internet. Current Xbox One owners are able to purchase and download multi-gigabyte titles from the Xbox online store for storage and recall on their console.

A scaled down Xbox One is unlikely to launch until the second half of 2016, if at all, and will come with a "much lower" price tag than its full-size stablemate.

Other companies vying for the living room have taken a similar approach to tailored content delivery including Microsoft's gaming industry competitor Sony, which earlier this year launched a nearly identical piece of kit in PlayStation TV. Debuted in Japan as PS Vita TV in 2013, the small set-top device supports PS Vita, PSP and PlayStation One classic games, as well as streaming PlayStation 3 titles via the PlayStation Now beta service.

Apple set the bar for set-top streamers when it launched the fourth-generation Apple TV with tvOS. Along with raw processing power, the new Apple TV grants users access to a dedicated App Store where developers can sell ported iOS games and original creations, narrowing the gap between portable and big-screen gaming.