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Your Xbox 360 may become a virtual cable provider

According toReuters' sources, Microsoft wants to make your existing cable or satellite box obsolete by turning your Xbox 360 into a virtual cable box, though it isn't yet surehow it wants to do it. However it's accomplished, the idea seems to be that you should never, ever have to hit the 'input' button on your remote again. Here are the options the company is allegedly considering:

-Become a "virtual cable operator,"allowing the Xbox 360 to streamshows for a monthly fee.

-Strike a deal with existing cableproviders to let the Xbox 360 stream liveTV content with increased interactivity.

-Strike deals with moreindividual content providers, such as HBO,to increase its inventory of downloadable/streamable shows.

The plan is unsurprising if true (the ESPN deal was only the beginning),and itnot only emphasizes the Xbox 360's goal to become the ultimate entertainment hub, but also illustrates how drasticallythe state of TV is changing. In a world of Netflix, Google TV, and Hulu, networksand advertisers are scrambling to figure out how the industry will work in the 21st century.

Turning game consoles into the only thing you need toplug into your TV would be great, but we've gotta imagine there aremany companies which aren't so eager to let that happen.

According to the sources, the unknown service may not arrive for another 12 months. Perhaps the plans will be revealed at E3 2011?

Nov 29, 2010