& cplSiteName &

Microsoft: 'Virtual MSO'?

Jeff Baumgartner

12:25 PM -- Rumors that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is working on an over-the-top Trojan Horse video strategy have been brewing ever since the company unleashed the original Xbox gaming console back in 2001.

It appears that those rumors are now inching toward reality with word that Microsoft has held discussions with media companies about licensing TV networks for distribution to the company's Xbox 360 console, PCs, and other broadband-connected devices.

Reuters, citing multiple sources, says those discussions are paving the way for Microsoft to become a "virtual cable operator" that distributes TV content via broadband for a monthly fee.

That service, believed to be at least a year out, would certainly apply pressure on other OTT video providers, including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Boxee . But an embedded base of millions of Xbox 360s with subscription video potential would obviously cause some disruption for traditional cable operators and telco and satellite TV service providers, particularly as the "cord-cutting" hype engine gathers steam and consumers, hit hard by a tough economy, seek out less expensive video packages. (See No-Frills Cable TV .)

Even if the service is months away, Microsoft has already made some video progress with the Xbox 360, which already has access to the Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) streaming library and ESPN3, a broadband video portal that offers video clips and a range of live events, but still requires the user to subscribe to an ISP or MSO that has a deal to carry the regular ESPN TV channels. (See ESPN Feeds Fare to the Xbox 360.)

Plus, the Xbox 360 has shown it has the chops to morph into a set-top capable of delivering a full suite of on-demand and live video services. Among recent examples, the console has been adapted to support the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse IPTV service. AT&T started supporting the Xbox 360 as a U-verse receiver in mid-October. (See Xbox 360 Joins the U-verse Lineup .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from The Bauminator
As the traditional pay-TV biz suffers and the direct-to-consumer OTT video market rises, You.i TV has found its niche as companies on all sides seek ways to simplify the path to a wide array of screens.
Meanwhile, Android TV trails the pack at retail, but continues to make strides with cable ops and other service providers worldwide.
Price hike by PlayStation Vue and new packaging options from Sling TV are more indicators that virtual MVPDs need to adjust to become sustainable businesses.
DOCSIS has taken a few twists and turns over the past 20 years as it heads toward a next-generation of specs that support Full Duplex DOCSIS, low-latency DOCSIS and Extended Spectrum DOCSIS capabilities.
Unlike Aereo, Locast has found a way to stream local TV channels without raising the legal hackles of powerful broadcasters. But can it drive enough donation dollars to survive for the long haul?
Featured Video
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 17-19, 2019, Dallas, Texas
October 1-2, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana
October 10, 2019, New York, New York
October 22, 2019, Los Angeles, CA
November 5, 2019, London, England
November 7, 2019, London, UK
December 3, 2019, New York, New York
December 3-5, 2019, Vienna, Austria
March 16-18, 2020, Embassy Suites, Denver, Colorado
May 18-20, 2020, Irving Convention Center, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events