Most people don’t know it, but the Xbox360 has supported running IPTV, or TV that is broadcast entirely over the Internet, for years. Microsoft has made no secret of their desire to push that segment open further, just as it comes to light that more people are using their Xbox consoles for non-gaming uses than ever before.
This year’s E3 show looks to be just the place to do that, as rumors are flying that Redmond’s keynote show is going to all about Project Orapa, their next-generation TV aggregation service. Thought to be Microsoft’s answer to the glut of smart TV extenders entering the market, Orapa takes the pre-existing IPTV services and mixes it with the company’s Xbox Live platform and forms the rumored highest tier of Xbox service, known as Xbox Live Diamond.
ES3 provides applications that run on Mediaroom, Microsoft’s current IPTV service.
It’s been suggested that Microsoft is currently in talks with content producers to provide the requisite content necessary for the company to become what’s been termed as a “virtual” cable company. That is, a cable company with no discrete connection to the end user; instead, that pipe is completely agnostic and the bits are essentially bits.
Whether the company will be able to snag the proper agreements before the conference goes live is still up in the air. If they can pull it off, however (and if anyone can, it’s Microsoft, with their enormous war chest), then it has the potential to change the way people watch TV in a very big way – overnight, anyone with a broadband connection could be free from their region’s TV monopolies.