Microsoft will launch a TV service for Xbox 360 this holiday season, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at a financial analyst meeting this week. Ballmer said Microsoft is working with "dozens or hundreds of additional video-content suppliers," which makes us wonder if someone should send out a company memo describing the substantial difference between those two figures. Xbox TV will feature live television as well as on-demand services.
Xbox TV will use Bing and the Kinect voice commands to facilitate users' searches, a feature that Ballmer said separates Microsoft from previous, failed TV-peripheral attempts by other companies, such as Google
. Van Baker, an analyst at Gartner, said that may not be as much of an advantage as Microsoft thinks. "Search is not discovery," he said. "Search as an answer to discovery implies you know what you're looking for. Most people have no idea what they're looking for."
A well-integrated streaming TV service is a wonderful idea, if it's implemented correctly -- we'll see if Microsoft has the magic formula (Wingardium televisiosa!
) this holiday season.