June 6, 2011 at 1:28 PM ET
Microsoft will bring a live TV service to its Xbox Live gaming service.
Xbox 360 owners with an online Xbox Live account will be able to access television programming from a variety of content providers both in the U.S. and overseas, the company announced at a Monday morning press conference in advance of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo taking place in L.A. this week.
The live TV service will deliver news, sports and local TV channels and will launch in the fall.
Microsoft executives spent Monday morning making one thing clear — they view the Xbox 360 as much more than a game machine.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Though Microsoft did not specify who they would be partnering with for their live television service in the U.S., Xbox Live's Marc Whitten said the company will increase their entertainment partnerships by a factor of ten this year.
This growing home ertainment experience is something the company has been slowly building toward — having already made Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and last.fm available through Xbox Live.
During the press conference, Microsoft also showed off the new Xbox Live dashboard and announced that Bing would be integrated with Xbox Live. They showed off how Kinect owners will be able to search for Xbox Live media content using Bing search controlled by voice commands (Kinect reads both movements and voice input). The motto: You say it, Xbox finds it. Looking for that "X-Men" game or movie? Using Kinect, simply say what you're looking for and Bing finds it on Xbox Live.
Among the other entertainment and media partnerships announced:
This kind of big move into home entertainment is no surprise. Microsoft corporate vice president Frank X. Shaw pointed out on the Official Microsoft Blog last week that 40 percent of Xbox Live activity is not gaming related.
“This year by bringing together the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing, we are transforming how people enjoy entertainment," said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.
For more E3 coverage, see: