Microsoft's Xbox TV service may be near

There is speculation that Microsoft will announce a TV subscription service for Xbox 360 at E3

Streaming TV may soon be coming to an Xbox near you.

There is speculation that Microsoft is preparing to announce its long-awaited TV subscription service for its Xbox 360 video game console on Monday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the annual video game conference and show at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Winrumors is reporting, based on anonymous sources, that Microsoft is in last-minute talks to secure the necessary agreements in time. The TV service is expected to be called Xbox LIVE Diamond and function as a "virtual cable operator." Microsoft could withhold an announcement if the ink hasn't dried in time.

Winrumors also is reporting that Microsoft may partner with cable companies to use the Xbox 360 to allow existing cable subscribers to watch shows and interact with their Xbox LIVE friends. The feature is available for Sky Sports subscribers in the U.K., who can scope out football rows with their Xbox avatars sitting in the front row.

The streaming TV business already has a crowded field of players, including Internet powerhouse Google, whose first attempt at Google TV didn't do so hot.

That means Microsoft may be taking a risk, though it could be successful if it turns the Xbox into a multimedia set-top box and maintains strong relationships with the cable companies.

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
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