The never-ending quest to ditch your cable box may become a more realistic endeavor as rumors are beginning to surface regarding ESPN showing up on Xbox Live. The New York Times first broke the story on Monday, after word got out that the Walt Disney Company and Microsoft had taken meetings regarding the subject. There hasn't been anything officially announced as of yet, but the idea seems to be similar to what ESPN 360 currently offers--the ability to stream live sports events through a fast Internet connection.
Regardless of the content, it's definitely a huge first step toward a cable box-less future. When Xbox 360 first debuted, Microsoft was very adamant about making the console the center of living room entertainment. Four and a half years later you can rent and buy movies or TV shows, stream Netflix, update and browse Facebook and Twitter, and soon (hopefully), catch an out-of-market baseball game.
Theoretically, a TV network could reach millions of people with an Xbox Live "channel." Microsoft has sold 39 million consoles worldwide, with half of those systems hooked into Xbox Live. With numbers like that, it's no wonder cable companies are looking to game consoles as another outlet.
The service, of course, will cost a premium, though it's not clear if you'll need to be an Xbox Live Gold Member as well. Also, there's always the variable of picture quality, which will solely rely on Internet speed. While it's still very early, this business model could be a sign of things to come. Wouldn't you rather pay for individual channels via something like Xbox Live instead of a lump-sum to the cable company?