As Google TV comes under pressure due to poor sales and content bans by US TV networks, Microsoft has finally decided to jump into the TV market and is currently in discussions with the same networks that rejected Google.
Microsoft who are currently struggling in the mobile phone market, is looking to create a new subscription-based TV service on its Xbox gaming console that would rival efforts by Sony with their PS3 Google and Apple.
The move is surprising as Microsoft has had a TV element with their Windows OS Media Centre offering for over five years but has failed to do anything with it. In Australia Media Centre has no music store and limited content.
Microsoft’s latest efforts come as competitors to Microsoft including Google and Apple try to redefine living room entertainment. At the same time Companies like Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic are starting to deliver IP enabled TV’s that can stream content from the likes of Telstra BigPond and several other providers.
Reuters claim that one scenario under consideration by Microsoft is to create a new TV service on its Xbox gaming console that would establish 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, all networks that are set to be made available to several operators in the subscription and IPTV markets.
Other options include allowing consumers like Foxtel subscribers, to use the Xbox to watch shows with more interactive functions. Viewers could, for instance, message with friends over the console while viewing their favourite shows.
Speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit on Monday, News Corp Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said the arrival of alternative TV services gives cable and broadcast networks yet another way to reach fragmented audiences.
“The emergence of platforms like that — from people like Microsoft which is really more a theory at this point, or Netflix — increases the value of content and brands and those who create the content and channels that actually the business and drives consumer demand,” Carey said.