Microsoft is preparing to launch an Xbox LIVE subscription TV service later this year.
Rumors of the service have been circulating for months but the company appears to be close to finishing a key component according to reports. ZDNet said on Wednesday that Microsoft’s is currently readying “Orapa”, a mash-up of the company’s Mediaroom IPTV services and Microsoft’s Xbox services. “Orapa” will reportedly marry Avatar Kinect and the company’s Ventura music and video services. “Orapa, in development now, is going to be a combination of Xbox Live and Microsoft’s Mediaroom IPTV, from what I’m hearing,” wrote Mary Jo Foley on Wednesday. “It would give Microsoft a way to turn TV into a service that it could deliver to Xbox customers first, and Windows, Windows Phone and set-top-box customers, later.”
Microsoft has long been in talks with media companies to produce a TV service for its Xbox console. Microsoft is proposing a “virtual cable operator” which will be delivered over the Internet and charged with a monthly fee. Microsoft has also suggested that cable companies could use the Xbox as a device to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows and interact with their Xbox LIVE friends. Microsoft offers a similar service in the UK where Sky customers can use their Xbox LIVE avatars during sporting events.
Microsoft tried to woo Conan O’Brien into its Xbox LIVE subscription TV service last year. The software giant refuses to comment on reports of a TV subscription however. Microsoft is planning to make Orapa available by holiday 2011 according to ZDNet. If the company’s schedule is accurate then this could pave the way for the much talked about Xbox TV service just in time for Christmas.