Microsoft Possibly Readying Television Service For Xbox

Two sources with knowledge of the situation have told Rueters that Microsoft has been in early talks with television providers to provide cable programming to Xbox, presumably to the LIVE platform. The plans – which are still in early days, and might not be seen for a year according to the sources – would involve Microsoft being a “virtual cable operator”, showing programming from different networks and would help consumers who are currently tied into expensive cable contracts further cut the cord. The Xbox LIVE service already offers sports programming, both live and archived via ESPN3.

This follows reported talks involving Google, who has announced the preliminary details on Google TV, and Apple, who has been trying to bring more video and cable content to their iTunes Store for awhile now.

Costs are still unclear, but I don’t see how this isn’t going to either raise the rates for Xbox LIVE Gold or create a new tier of support, one that would incorporate all of the LIVE perks but is more expensive than the current going rate of $60/yr.

It’s important to note that none of this is confirmed, and I usually don’t report pure speculation. However, if Reuters is picking up on it, then I feel that the sources are viable enough to past muster. If this does bear out to be true – and I have every reason to believe it will – it further shows that Microsoft is looking at furthering their influence with non-gaming content on their gaming feed, which would help bring in more of a non-gamer audience that they’re trying to attract with Kinect. It’s a savvy move, to say the least.

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