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Microsoft May Challenge Cable Companies With Pay TV Service Through Xbox

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Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) may be trying to create a “cord-cutting” over-the-top TV service by selling access to networks’ programming through its Xbox system, Reuters reports, citing unidentified sources. So far, Microsoft appears to be in the early stages of talks with programmers about its planned service, which would be at least a year away from being introduced to the public.

Microsoft is considering a range of possibilities for becoming a “virtual cable operator.” The basic scenario would call for Microsoft charging Xbox users a monthly subscription as part of an internet streaming service, similar to other over-the-top providers like Boxee. It would also consider participating in the “TV Everywhere” concept by using Xbox to authenticate current cable subscribers and allowing them to watch shows through its interactive system.

In that case, Microsoft would establish “content silos” by selling individual channels such as HBO or Showtime directly to its users. The company has already taken some limited steps in that direction. For example, in June Microsoft said it was adding content from ESPN (NYSE: DIS) 3 on the XBox Live online service (but not ESPN’s main channel).

Word of Microsoft’s interest in offering expanded pay TV subscriptions for Xbox Live first surfaced in April, in connection with meetings between former News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). COO Peter Chernin and Redmond executives.

Microsoft’s exploration of expanding its video services comes as Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) are getting attention for their respective efforts to offer subscription TV programming through internet-based systems. At the moment, both are experiencing some resistance from programmers. While it seems that Microsoft may be a little late in jumping into the pay TV space that its rivals have already entered into, considering the disputes about the actual amount of cord-cutting going on, timing its service a year from now might be the better bet, as consumers and content companies warm up to the idea.

3 Responses to “Microsoft May Challenge Cable Companies With Pay TV Service Through Xbox”

  1. Well this looks like a good idea but your only going to get access in your home. I work for DISH Network and the TV Everywhere allows you to hook up to a laptop/notebook, tablet, Smartphone, and, pc. This is true TV everywhere since you can take the equipment to other locations not just home bound. I first used this equipment at DISH and I thought it was great. I recommend this to all. Find out more contact DISH today.

  2. We help customers “cut the cord” and install off air antenna’s and combine that with internet TV. Systems cost about $2000, or $200 a month for 12 months, then it’s free TV forever. It’s a great feeling to say goodbye to TV bills. More information at goodbyepaytv . com