Xbox Live to Add Comcast, HBO Go Today (MSFT, CMCSA, TWX, AAPL, GOOG)

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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) will roll out new applications for its Xbox 360 platform today, including one for the Xfinity video-on-demand platform from Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), another for HBO Go from the HBO group at Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWX), and a third for Major League Baseball. The number of movie, TV, and music applications now available thru Xbox 360 and Xbox Live now totals 36.

In order to watch any of the video, an Xbox 360 owner will have to be a subscriber to Comcast or HBO’s premium service or MLB.tv. The big attraction, of course, is being able to watch the program you want, when you want to watch it. The baseball channel will give subscribers access to more than 2,400 major league games.

Microsoft has sold 66 million Xbox 360s globally and 20 million of those pay for the Xbox Live service. A rumored ‘Xbox Lite’ is being developed to compete on price with Internet TV devices like the Apple TV from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google TV from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG). Given its shortcomings in some sectors, like smartphones, it’s unusual to think of Microsoft with a lead in something unrelated to PC software, but that could be the case here.

Paul Ausick