According to a new report, Microsoft are planning to release a web based pay-TV service through its Xbox Live platform. If the Bloomberg report is correct, the programming menu looks like it will be quite extensive, with movies, sports, TV shows, and music on offer through a number of content providers.
Microsoft are already in communication with a number of content companies, and are also negotiating with Comcast and Verizon among others. According to the report: “Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, is in talks with almost two dozen providers of music, sports, movies and TV shows in the U.S. and Europe, and may announce an expanded Xbox Live streaming service as soon as next week, said one of the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.”
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has been putting a lot of energy into the Xbox of late, promoting it not just as a gaming platform but as a complete home entertainment solution. According to Ballmer, the Xbox will also add the Bing search engine by the end of the year, which will be able to utilise the Kinect controller’s voice recognition to move between content online.
“We all know the frustrations of using guides and menus and controllers, and we think a better way to do all of this is simply to bring Bing and voice to Xbox,” Ballmer said at a developers conference, adding “You say it, Xbox finds it.”
Since last year, Microsoft have been slowly integrating social networking functionality into Xbox Live, allowing users to chat with each other while watching movies and shows and basically trying to socialise the entire process of content consumption. This latest report suggests they are getting ready to take it to the next level, through integration with pay-TV and Hollywood studios.