Microsoft is reported to be in talks with a number of media companies over bringing a subscription based web TV service to Xbox consoles that could give the company an effective tool to fight Google and Apple in the new web television space. Sources have indicated that under the new plan, subscribers will pay a monthly fee to access television networks such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN and CNN over Xbox.
Another alternative proposal seems to be using the Xbox as an interactive layer above the service offered by cable TV. Using this, subscribers may continue to pay cable TV operators for content access but may be able to, for instance, message friends while watching a television show.
While there is not much information about the new plans on offer, Microsoft could also integrate its new expertise in motion control technology using Kinect that would let users change channels or fast-forward videos by waving their arms or using voice commands.
In addition to this, there is also a possibility of Microsoft incorporating a TV show recommendation service. You may remember our article from back in April this year where we had noted about a new Microsoft patent that talked about such a service.
Microsoft TV is a small segment of the Redmond based company that develops software products for the television industry. This includes UltimateTV, a DirecTV receiver and IPTV edition.
In a recent patent filed at the USPTO, Microsoft has sought to bolster its product offerings with an interesting recommendation engine. Inspired by the recommendation algorithm incorporated on websites like YouTube, Microsoft TV’s recommendation engine will recommend TV shows, movies based on user interests as well as the program’s functional value.
“Viewers have an ever-increasing selection of media content to choose from, such as television programming, movies, videos, and music that is available for selection and viewing. Given the large volume of the various types of media content to choose from, viewers may want recommendations for movies and television programs provided to them that not only may be of interest, but recommendations that are useful.”
The algorithm is pretty similar to how it works online. The system records the TV shows the user watches and clubs it along with other users watching the same TV show. By clustering groups of people based on their viewing interests, the system will be able to recommend new TV shows or movies that you may have not watched.