A number of sources are confirming to us that Microsoft is apparently holding talks with a numerous programming providers in an effort to add streaming virtual cable TV support to the Xbox 360 platform. The service could be a premium offering that would apparently cost owners a flat rate monthly fee, according to reports.
The move would make Microsoft a virtual cable operator and the channels offered would add at least some level of interactivity between users on the Xbox Live service, similar to what we have seen with the introduction of the ESPN streaming service that arrived with the recent dashboard update.
While Microsoft isn’t commenting on the possibility that this is what the company is planning, sources seem to suggest that it could be as long as another year before the service offering is ready to be offered as an add-on to Xbox Live subscribers.
Our take is that Microsoft might not be as successful with this addition as it has been with other offerings if it simply mirrors regular cable programming and is just presented as a streaming service on the Xbox 360. Many subscribers would miss the DVR functionality that they enjoy from satellite and cable providers, and that alone might be the difference.
Perhaps Microsoft might have more success with on-demand type streaming functionality of shows from specific channels; but that does not appear to be what the company is after at this point. We will have to see how this plays out, but sources seem to believe that this is going to take a while to sort out, so don’t expect any news soon.