Microsoft Looks to Rival Google TV, Apple TV

The cable giant, which has made TV plays in the past, is in talks with programmers about a subscription service operated through Xbox.


NEW YORK -- Microsoft is talking to TV programming providers about a potential subscription TV service -- similar to cable or satellite TV services -- operated through its Xbox video game console, Reuters reported.

If it comes to fruition, such a service would charge a monthly fee for Xbox access to TV networks or program bundles in such areas as sports or kids content.

Such a service could rival Apple TV, Google TV and Netflix, which have looked to offer cheaper alternatives to traditional pay TV services and caused investor fears of TV "cord cutting."

Other options that Microsoft is exploring include allowing cable subscribers to use the Xbox to watch shows with more interactive functions, such as instant messaging. Such an offer would be seen as less of a challenger to current pay TV models.

Microsoft has looked at TV plays in the past, including its investment in MSNBC and a late 1990s deal for WebTV, which was an early provider of Web access via televisions.