It appears that Microsoft has woken up from its sleep and big plans and ideas are flowing from it. After all, the Redmond company has had a fairly good year: 2010 witnessed the resurrection of Windows OS (thanks to the greatly improved Windows 7) and the releases of two highly anticipated MS products – Kinect for Xbox 360 and Microsoft Office 2010. But Ballmer and Co. aren’t through with 2010 yet: apparently, they’re holding negotiations with two major TV companies to offer an Xbox-based TV service, a clever move that would position Microsoft very well in the TV business.
According to a Reuters report, it seems that Microsoft is studying its cards, since the company is exploring several options for implementing TV services. Which are these alternatives? They involve the possibility to offer a virtual cable service (in which, for a small monthly fee, subscribers would access networks contents through the Xbox), the creation of programming packages (categorized bundles of news, movies, sports, etc.) or the sale of individual channels (such as Showtime and HBO).
Initial estimates indicate that the service wouldn’t be available for another 12 months, enough time for Microsoft to decide its strategy and to set the necessary platforms for the service. However, the talks were allegedly productive and the Redmond company knows that now is the time for action, since rival companies already released TV-related packages and services (Google TV online and Apple TV, for example). Additionally, the timing is perfect for Microsoft, since if it decides to use the Xbox as the distribution device, the console is already spread throughout the world while the competitors’ services are only available after you purchase an additional gadget.
What would this move mean for the TV industry in general? Well, it’d provide a cheap alternative to the expensive cable TV and, assuming that Microsoft will offer shows “a la carte”, the way we watch TV would be changed forever. Today we watch the shows at an established time and day; with a digital service, you’ll be able to decide when to watch your favorite shows. On the other hand, statements predicting the death of TV as we know it appears as premature and unfounded, since the traditional TV is very different than the streamed TV and it’s as popular as ever.
For now, there are much speculation and no certainties surrounding Microsoft’s new TV service (top gadget system). Its form, distribution and cost are still unknown. But the fact that these negotiations are being held lights a spark of hope for all of us, TV lovers, who are longing for a TV revolution.
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