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Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox Live TV is on track to become a viable rival for Apple iTunes/TV and Amazon television streaming services worldwide, according to an analyst. While at present the service already seems pretty competitive, it is now only the tip of an iceberg that will eventually show itself as one of the leading entertainment platforms on the planet.

A total of 50 world-leading TV and entertainment partners have joined the Xbox Live TV platform. The Xbox Live members will have access to both live and recorded content right from their game consoles and potentially from all Xbox Live TV-enabled devices, which eventually will include Windows Phone-based smartphones, personal computers and tablets running Windows 8 operating system. Xbox Live currently has 35 million members worldwide and the number is growing.

"I think that Xbox Live TV will have an impact on Kinect sales, but not necessarily on Xbox 360 sales this holiday. The product lineup announced [last] week is only the tip of the iceberg; in my view, once Microsoft can demonstrate to content owners that people are actually using Kinect with Bing search to find and watch programming, they will see a lot more interest in providing content, and it's only a matter of time before they have a product offering that compares with Amazon's or Apple's," said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, in an interview with IndustryGamers web-site.

Naturally, with a service akin to Apple's or Amazon's, Xbox 360 game console will offer a huge competitive advantage compared to PlayStation 3. What remains to be seen is whether Sony will attempt to integrate Google's media services into its console and add similar into Sony Ericsson's (Sony's) Android-based smartphones.

"Should they get a competitive product offering, Kinect's voice control, Bing's search functionality and the Xbox 360's processing power create a formidable competitive advantage. I don't think Sony's PS3 is positioned to compete without voice control and search functionality," added Mr. Pachter.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox Live, HDTV

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