Microsoft planning Xbox 360 cable TV service

Reuters reports that software giant is in talks with networks to create "virtual cable operator" on its console.

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When the Xbox 360 fall dashboard update went live earlier this month, it brought ESPN programming to Xbox Live. Now, according to a Reuters report, Microsoft may be planning to bring more cable channels to the console--so many channels, in fact, that it may become an alternative to standard cable television.

The cable box of the future?
The cable box of the future?

Citing sources close to the matter, Reuters reports that Microsoft is mulling several options, including a new "virtual cable operator," which will offer a range of channels for a monthly fee. The company is also apparently in talks with cable providers themselves to turn the Xbox into a cable box of sorts to allow for "enhanced interactivity" with programming.

Unfortunately, Xbox 360 owners eager to cut the cord with their cable TV providers will have to wait a while, as Reuters' sources say that any such service is at least 12 months away. Currently, television shows from a variety of networks, including NBC and Comedy Central, can be bought individually on Xbox Live's video marketplace. The box can also be used as a second receiver for AT&T's U-verse cable TV service, provided there is already one U-verse DVR in the home.

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