Microsoft Making New Cable TV Service for Xbox 360?
Microsoft is reportedly working on a TV service to offer through the Xbox 360 that will compete with streaming companies such as Netflix and Hulu and possibly even develop into an extension of cable TV.
The report comes from Reuters sources who say that Microsoft wants to compete with other services that bring TV into the home. That includes everything from Netflix streaming to the most recent iterations of Google TV and Apple TV .
The service would be available through the Xbox 360, which is already in millions of homes and has a reputation as a media powerhouse. Microsoft has been in talks with TV networks to provide TV shows and even entire channels through its gaming console.
The Microsoft service doesn't have a definite business plan (sources say it may still be up to a year away from launch). Rumors indicate it could be anything from having episodes available to watch at any time (similar to Netflix Watch Instantly) to a full "virtual cable operator" that would provide constant access to channels such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN or CNN separately or possibly in bundles.
Regardless, Microsoft is pitching this to networks as a subscription-based service. The company thinks it could provide additional incentive for consumers because they could interact with one another while watching shows. The Xbox 360 already incorporates messaging systems as well as Twitter and Facebook feeds.
It seems that the biggest resistance may come from the cable companies themselves. Many customers don't want a hundred or more channels, they just want the ones they choose, so cable providers worry such a service on the Xbox 360 would lead to a mass exodus of cable customers who just want to pay for a few channels through the Xbox.