Microsoft Wants To Turn Your Xbox Into A Cable Box

Whether it’s through the Zune Marketplace or Netflix, you can already watch movies and other video content on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console. But a new story says the company is looking to expand its offering to what could end up turning Microsoft into your cable company.

From Reuters:

The maker of the Windows operating system has proposed a range of possibilities in these early talks including creating a “virtual cable operator” delivered over the Internet for which users pay a monthly fee.

Other options include using the Xbox to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows with enhanced interactivity similar to how pay TV operators have sought to do over the Web, said these people.

Microsoft is also exploring the possibility of creating content silos and selling more individual channels directly such as an HBO or Showtime.

Whatever this service ends up being, the insiders tell Reuters it is likely to be a year away from becoming a reality.

Microsoft in talks for new TV service -sources [Reuters via Kotaku]

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  1. J-Purchase says:

    If I could pay just for HBO or Showtime and a couple of other channels, I would jump right on that.

  2. MerlynNY says:

    Microsoft would make a boatload of cash if they just offered cable channels a la carte and let folks pick the channels they want for a price. Then turn the xbox into a DVR and run the cable companies and tivo out of business. Sounds good to me!

    • sonneillon says:

      They would never get licensing for it.You have to get the companies to go along with that and they have no incentive too.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        The popular ones do.

        Let’s say Fox charges Comcast $1/week for their station. Comcast in turn charges you $2/week, which includes infrstructure costs, wages, and profit, averaged out per channel.

        You, you with fancy Xbox 360, decide instead to pay Fox $1.50/week for the same programming. You do the same thing with your 20 favorite channels and skip paying for the 75 channels you don’t want. Fox makes more money from you than from Comcast. It’s a win-win. It also puts Comcast out of business; so it’s a win-win-win-win (I assume Fox hates Comcast, too).

        • Deezul_AwT says:

          Uh, and Microsoft doesn’t ask for a dime? Sounds like yes, you’d pay $1.50, and Microsoft would get $.50, Fox $1.00. Microsoft is the one making out on this, not you or Fox.

          • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

            Microsoft’s cut of the deal comes from the sudden influx of Xbox-Live Gold subscriptions. ;)

  3. hoi-polloi says:

    A while back my wife and I cut way back on cable. We kept the most basic level because it was a couple bucks cheaper to bundle this with our internet service. We pick up local channels through an HDTV antenna, stream shows through our Mini, and use either the 360 or PS3 for Netflix streaming. The only thing I miss is HBO. I’m so there if Microsoft can give it to me for an affordable monthly cost.

  4. kriswone says:

    i wanna pay for each channel i select and no more. if i order HBO, i don’t want HBO Spanish, i order SPIKE, i dont want MTV, etc

  5. carefree dude says:

    if i could pick my channels and only pay for those channels, I’d be happy.

  6. Rachacha says:

    Microsoft has been trying to get on your TV for years, with Home theater PCs and trying to become the software behind the STBs that providers use, and all major players are trying to find the next big product that provides streaming movies, ALL TV shows and internet content on your TV that is inexpensive and simple to use. Until a hardware company can form a deal with the content providers, everyone loses. Everyone is cautions because they don’t want to get into the situation like the music industry did with Apple where Apple was holding all of the cards and became too powerful too quickly. Nice concept, but I will believe it when I see it.

    • sonneillon says:

      The music industry is more afraid of Bestbuy and Walmart than they are of Apple, Still I think it is more of old prejudices that make them wary of the xbox than anything.

  7. sonneillon says:

    I would pay for this service if it was cheap enough.

  8. kingofmars says:

    To Chris Morran, it’s also worth mentioning that the xbox 360 can also act a media center extender. That coupled with a ceton cable card tuner(if you can find one) already turns your xbox into a type of cable box.

  9. JoeTheDragon says:

    Where is the bandwith for this?

    Comcast caps takes them out and I don’t they will like M$ selling tv over there intenternet.

    Dsl maybe but ATT has ties to directv and also has uverse. also 6meg dsl is not much more then 1 HD channel at a time.

    • jason in boston says:

      Not on a business account. I go through about 500 gigs / month easily. It is less than 10% more than consumer class. And I have someone I can call 24/7.

  10. Donathius says:

    About a year ago I put together a business plan for a setup where people could pay ala carte for cable channels and then receive them via the Internet. I had a fee structure set up that was based on the per subscriber cost of the channels, as well as an additional pay option to access any show on demand. I was just about ready to start shopping around for some venture funding, but got stonewalled by the networks. No one was willing to work with me on it. They’re just too locked into their existing model. I’m glad someone finally looked out from under their rock.

  11. KillerBee says:

    You can already use your Xbox as a cable box if you have AT&T U-verse. You have to have at least one regular cable box in your home, and then the Xbox can be an additional box. It costs $100 for a tech to come out and install the software, but at $7/month to lease a second box, it’s a savings in the long run.

  12. redskull says:

    They’d have to do something about the RROD before I decided to get ALL my TV & movie content from it.

    • kingofmars says:

      Have you ever used a scientific Atlantic or motorola set top box? Those things are junk, so the Orginal xbox failure rate wouldn’t make much of a difference.

    • cluberti says:

      The old design would indeed be a foolish choice, but the “slim” 360 released this year in the new black packaging does not have the RROD issues that the older units had, as the CPU/GPU is now a single-chip design with a single cooler (and it’s quite a bit smaller than the original designs too, reducing heat). It has thermal protection which should prevent heat-related damage, and you’ll also notice the slim is barely perceptible when running, versus the old 360 design which could sound like a vacuum cleaner at times.

      This is not to say a defective console is impossible, but the slim should fail no more than any other piece of electronics, assuming you give it the same sort of ventilation you would any piece of A/V equipment in your entertainment center.

    • humbajoe says:

      RROD? You never decided to take a stroll outside of 2007 did you? Go on, you can do it. It’s ok – the bad men won’t bite you.

  13. backinpgh says:

    Yes, please.

    If they offer HBO over Xbox Live I will jump for joy. Then I can get rid of my ridiculous cable package.

  14. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Microsoft has decided that the “Blue Screen of Death” should be enjoyed during all your daily activities.

  15. dolemite says:

    I’d be interested in this if I could price it a la carte or as small packages (like say…$25 a month for 25 channels of my choosing).

    If they merely add functionality or interactivity…no thanks.

    I won’t pay for cable AND another service from Xbox. It’s one or the other.

  16. Alvis says:

    No tuner = not a “cable box”

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Let’s not be pedantic. If the service offered is the same, then no consumer cares what the backend delivery mechanism is.

      • Alvis says:

        I for one care. A “cable box” doesn’t require an internet connection to display content, and my 360 is offline.

    • baquwards says:

      OK, so not a “cable box” but an “IPTV box”

      That is essentially what UVerse boxes are, they contain no tuners, they are just mini computers.

  17. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    as interesting as the idea sounds, i get this ‘eggs in one basket’ vibe. what happens when one device does all your entertainment and then goes all red ring of death on you?
    i like having more than one option

  18. davidsco says:

    Great, so now instead of cable outages, we’ll have rings of death

  19. hansolo247 says:

    The xbox is already a cable box.

    I can already watch all channels I pay for live from my PC to my Xbox. out of the box.

  20. El_Fez says:

    Do not want!

    Seriously, I want my gaming console to do one thing: play video games. I dont need to to watch movies, check email, track facebook, wash the dishes, mow the lawn or shave my back. Seriously, how bloody hard is that for Big Companies to understand?

    • dolemite says:

      I haven’t exactly seen the Xbox failing at playing games. The more things it does, the happier I am. It means I don’t need an HTPC, a Google TV box, a Netflix box, a video game console, a cable box, an internet radio, etc, etc.

      I like the fact the Xbox can do lots of things pretty well.

    • caradrake says:

      I would totally buy an XBox if it would do the dishes and mow my (nonexistant) lawn.

    • Tongsy says:

      Galileo called with an important scientific breakthrough; YOU ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

  21. chuckv says:

    I’d be happy with SlingPlayer on my XBox

  22. The Tick says:

    I did a hardware service call to the AT&T U-Verse headend here in town. All of the software and system support comes from Microsoft. We had to call Redmond before taking a server down. The local AT&T hardware wrangler thought that Microsoft provided most of the software for U-Verse.

  23. steamboatdevil says:

    If I could figure out a way to still get NFL and college FB games I would cut cable in a second.. any idea.. OTA does not work as many of the games I watch are only on ESPN etc..

  24. Razor512 says:

    great, you get to use a 200+ watt energy hog console to do the job of a 40 watt cable box/ DVR

    • Alberto says:

      I thought I was the only who to notice that it doesn’t sound wise to me to use a 200+ watt box to perform a 12w box duty.