Microsoft may be trying to create a "cord-cutting" over-the-top TV service by selling access to networks' programming through its Xbox system. So far, Microsoft has held talks with TV networks to create a new subscription-based TV service on its Xbox gaming console that would rival efforts by Google, Apple and Netflix, Reuters reports.
Microsoft's considering a range of possibilities for becoming a "virtual cable operator." The service would charge a monthly fee for access through the Xbox to networks such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN or CNN, according to two sources familiar with the plans.
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 addition, it could sell more individual channels, such as an HBO or Showtime, directly to subscribers. It already has Walt Disney Co's ESPN on the Xbox Live online service.