Microsoft to Launch XBox TV Service

By Michael Preston
|  Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010  |  Updated 5:15 AM CDT
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CHIBA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 16: The logo of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 video game console is projected on a floor during the Tokyo Game Show 2010 at Makuhari Messe on September 16, 2010 in Chiba, Japan. The computer and video game convention, which will be held until September 19, features exhibitions of upcoming game software and hardware from 194 companies and organizations to draw business visitors and the general public. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

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The battle for the future of the American television viewing experience is about to gain another combatant.

Microsoft, on the back of its successful XBox gaming console, plans to launch a new, subscription-based TV service, reports Reuters.

The new venture, following previous forays into living rooms with WebTV, would pit the software giant against rivals Google, Apple and Netflix, each of which plans its own TV-based service.

A current idea being floated by Microsoft is turning the XBox itself into a "virtual cable operator." Under this option, users would be charged a monthly fee to access major networks like ABC, NBC, Fox or ESPN.

Other options would allow for cable subscribers to use the XBox for viewing shows with interactive features, creating specialized programming bundles, or selling individual channels directly to subscribers.

Microsoft did not respond to Reuters' request for comment, but sources told the news wire that the TV service could possibly be running within a year.

Selected Reading: Reuters, Newser, New York Post

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