Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 21-09-2011
Microsoft is eyeing partnerships with Comcast and Verizon to bring live TV to the Xbox 360, according to reports.

DigiDay is reporting that Microsoft is cozying up to the pay-TV operators for the live TV service, which it announced at the E3 expo in Los Angeles earlier this year. "This is the year live television comes to Xbox 360," said Microsoft Vice President Marc Whitten, head of X-box Live, at the time. But, deals have not yet been forthcoming.

At the time, it said it planned to work with operators to offer their subscribers the ability to authenticate to the service, rather than offer TV as an over-the-top "virtual cableco" initiative.

An agreement with YouTube kicked things off, but the company has been mum since then. Whitten said then that Microsoft plans to increase its partnerships for the service by a factor of 10. "This is only the beginning," he said. Apparently, the company is now ready to move forward.

Microsoft has been busy striking deals with operators around the world to act as a STB, meanwhile. It has an existing relationships with AT&T U-verse, and deals with Canal+ in France, BSkyB in the U.K. and Russian IPTV provider Beeline TV are all in place already.

Xbox Live is also adding Bing to enable smart searches for video content--meaning online video sites, YouTube, Live TV and the on-demand services Microsoft already partners with, meaning Netflix and Hulu Plus. Voice control will be added to aid content discovery, and will allow users to speak rather than say the name of a movie, TV show, or game.

"You no longer have to navigate through the menus to find content," said Whitten.

DigiDay also said that the Redmond behemoth is about to announce a deal with Samsung to supply a Windows Live gaming hub to be embedded in connected TVs.