The Xbox 360 game console could double as a cable TV service in the US if preliminary plans from Microsoft come into fruition. Advertising Age reports that the company has recently started looking into securing the rights to offer cable TV networks via the Xbox 360 console, although the article adds that adding such a feature is still the subject of much internal discussion at Microsoft.
Officially, Microsoft is only saying that it is "interested" in offering new entertainment options for the Xbox 360. The article quotes Ross Honey, the head of content acquisition for the Xbox business as saying "from our perspective, gaming and TV are going to coexist." Microsoft already offers an option for Xbox 360 owners to allow AT&T U-Verse subscribers to use the console as a substitute for a conventional DVR device. It also offers a cable TV service in Australia, in association with local cable Foxtel. Over in the UK, Sky Broadcasting began to offer programming via the Xbox 360 in October 2009. Way back in 2007 Microsoft announced plans to offer IPTV services but so far those plans have yet to be fully implemented.
Of course here in the US the Xbox 360 console has always been more than just a gaming machine. After launching in 2005 the console's Xbox Live service began offering movies and TV shows to download and rent in 2006. It later added support for streaming movies and TV shows via Netflix and just a couple of days ago it began to offer Hulu Plus streaming video services to its users.