Is Microsoft Plotting a Subscription TV Service?


Talks with the networks fire up rumors that the Xbox 360 could be the next TV hub.

Nov. 30, 2010 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Many of you already have Netflix, various web apps, VUDU, the PlayStation Network, and much more. Could you possibly crowbar another streaming service into that mix? That’s what Microsoft is hoping.

However, this isn’t going to be Web TV, part 2. It shouldn’t even be Google TV. According to a Reuters report, the company has been talking with TV networks, with plans to create its own subscription-type service that would run on the Xbox 360. The goal is to come up with something that could compete with Netflix, Apple, and Google.

At this point, the details are a bit fuzzy. One scenario could have the Xbox replace your current cable or satellite box. Another option would add interactive functions into your regular TV viewing. Another would be an a la carte option, where viewers could watch specific programming from pay services, such as HBO and Showtime, without the need for a subscription to those channels.

Of course, all of those options could change at any point. If the Xbox is to become the next media hub, it could be another year before any official announcements are made.

Meanwhile, both Netflix and Hulu have recently launched streaming-only services, which bring limited movies and TV shows directly to subscribers. Those plans are each priced at $7.99 per month.

This announcement does make for some very interesting possibilities. Would you get rid of your cable or satellite for this type of service? Would you rather pay for individual channels versus a package? Do you think someone will jump into the fray before Microsoft makes an official Xbox announcement? Sound off in the comments section below.

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