Xbox 360 wants to double as a cable box

Your Xbox 360 can already play movies, TV shows, games, music, and other online content, but now Microsoft is looking to take it a step further.

It’s not quite sure how it wants to do it, but Microsoft wants to make your existing cable or satellite set-top box obsolete. Here are the options the company is currently considering:

– Become a “virtual cable operator” in which the Xbox 360 literally acts as its own TV service provider

– Strike a deal with existing providers to let the Xbox 360 stream live TV content to subscribers of those providers

– Strike deals with individual content providers, and allow users to “buy” channels piecemeal

It not only emphasizes the Xbox 360’s goal to become the ultimate entertainment hub, it also shows how the state of TV is drastically changing. In a world of Netflix, Google TV, and Hulu, everyone from networks to advertisers is scrambling to figure out how the industry will work in the 21st century.

Game consoles are setting the pace, because they are typically the most technologically advanced pieces of equipment people have hooked up to their TVs, so everything ends up becoming an extension of those boxes. I wonder how the standard cable providers feel about that.