E3 2011: Xbox 360 Gets Live TV in ‘New’ New Xbox Experience

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What’s the one thing you wish Xbox Live had in the U.S., that it doesn’t today? Yep, I said live TV, too. I haven’t actually had live TV (or frankly any sort of cable TV package) for years. When I watch TV at all, it’s to plumb Netflix’s super-giganto library, or to pop in a couple seasons of something long-since-aired on DVD. But I might be persuaded to sign up for live TV through a set-top box, if I could pick and choose what I wanted.

Enter Microsoft’s New New Xbox Experience. That’s a double “new” because the Xbox Experience was already new in November 2008. And after Microsoft’s E3 2011 stage show this morning, it’s new again. Call it “new-squared.”

Microsoft already does live TV in the UK, France and Australia, so this isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but it is a first for U.S. consumers, or at least U.S. consumers like me who tend to pipe all their video-based media through a game system. Which of course begs the question whether it’s really a game system anymore, since plenty of us—myself included—spend as much or more time using it for stuff that has nothing to do with games.

(More on TIME.com: Hulu Plus Debuts on Xbox 360)

“Now, Microsoft has announced its commitment to expand access to live television programming on Xbox 360 to more providers in the United States and around the world during the upcoming year,” reads Microsoft’s press statement on its official E3 page, which sounds more or less like what (incredibly little) it said about the service at the press show.

And further: “Consumers will enjoy news, sports and their favorite local channels, all just a voice command away, on Xbox 360.”

It all sounds lovely, no? And it might be. But what we don’t know, is what sort of “news,” “sports,” and “favorite local channels” they’re talking about. Also: whether they’ll be offered buffet style or a la carte.

I suspect I’m like you (or that you’re like me). I’d like the option to choose instead of subsidize. I want to be able to pay someone pennies to scan the daily comics without paying dollars for the full paper. I want to pick the channels I want and subscribe, same as I do for apps on a phone.

Of course Microsoft could trump what I want by offering the whole thing for some ridiculously low subscriber price, in which case, hey, that works too.

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