Microsoft is believed to be readying an announcement of its Xbox TV channels later today.
The software maker is working on deals with Comcast and Verizon to provide TV channels through its Xbox LIVE service. Microsoft originally announced its plans for an Xbox TV service at the E3 gaming conference this year. The company revealed it was partnering with a number of content providers to stream live TV to the Xbox. Microsoft is expected to officially confirm its launch partners on Wednesday for its Xbox TV service.
Microsoft will announce the deals later today according to All Things Digital. Microsoft plans to offer music, sports, movies and TV shows in the U.S. and Europe. The deals will involve channels like HBO, Sony’s Crackle service, Bravo, Syfy and LoveFilm being made available on the Xbox LIVE TV service. Microsoft is also rumored to be working on partnerships with TV manufacturers, including Samsung. The alleged plan would see Microsoft supply a Windows Live gaming hub to be pre-installed on Samsung TVs that support a web connection. The software giant is not likely to announce the rumored deals on Wednesday however.
Microsoft offers a similar service in the UK where Sky customers can use their Xbox LIVE avatars during sporting events. Xbox LIVE subscribers will likely be charged a premium subscription cost (think monthly) which includes access to the Xbox LIVE Gold features and streaming TV. Microsoft also tried to woo Conan O’Brien into its Xbox LIVE subscription TV service last year.
The Xbox TV service is expected to be rolled into a new Xbox LIVE Diamond subscription. The diamond name comes from the original “Orapa” codename for Xbox TV. The name is based on a small town in the Central District of Botswana. Orapa is the site of one of the biggest diamond mines in the world. Microsoft previously introduced an Xbox LIVE Diamond card in December, 2005. The card gave Xbox LIVE paid subscribers exclusive access to benefits and discounts from stores, restaurants and retailers. The card was eventually discontinued.