Over the years, we've watched the Xbox 360 become less of a gaming console and more of an entertainment center, just as Microsoft had planed from the very beginning. It became more family friendly with the introduction of avatars in the New Xbox Experience update, and as of late, offers even more entertainment options by way of installing apps like a giant tablet. The only thing that seems to be missing thus far is an actual live TV service.
That may soon change. Microsoft's plans to offer streaming TV isn't anything new, but three job postings on Microsoft Careers, dated for October 31 and November 1, shows that the company is inching even closer to its goal of replacing your cable company's set-top box. The service is called Cloud TV, and the Redmond company is looking for two Software Development Engineers and a Development Lead:
"Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business is revolutionizing entertainment. IEB has a rich set of entertainment offerings from Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE to Zune Marketplace and Mediaroom," reads one job listing. "Our customer base is growing fast and our pace of innovation has been incredible with our latest product Kinect selling over 10 million units since its launch in November of 2010. We’re looking for a Software Engineer who is passionate about building awesome client applications for a new Cloud-based TV platform."
So far it's unknown if Microsoft is using a code name, or plans to move forward with the Cloud TV brand. There's already a non-Microsoft CloudTV.com and a Cloud.tv website up and running, and ActiveVideo Networks currently owns the trademark for "Cloud TV". That said, Microsoft will likely stick with the Xbox branding unless it plans to cough up bags of money to get control of the "Cloud TV" label.
So when could we see this Cloud TV service? It's quite possible it will make its debut at E3 2013 in June along with the Xbox Infinity console. And as the job listings point out, this TV service won't be locked to the console itself, but instead will be offered through Microsoft's four-screen setup – desktop, tablet, smartphone and console – as a subscription service. Even more, it will probably be offered on non-Microsoft platforms like Android and iOS.