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Updated Xbox Live Will Stream Cable TV

Verizon and Comcast have already signed on
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Microsoft plans to reveal details today about the expansion of its Xbox Live streaming service. Among those features, Bloomberg reported, will be the ability to stream cable TV content from Comcast and Verizon.

But before you get too excited about ditching your cable box for your Xbox, there’s a catch: The Xbox TV service won’t actually replace your current cable subscription. According to AllThingsD, it will work more along the lines of a “TV Everywhere” plan in which a device can be authenticated to stream content from a cable provider, like an iPad streaming Time Warner content through an app.

This is not a tool for cable-cutting. As sources explained to Bloomberg, “The new applications from Philadelphia-based Comcast’s Xfinity TV service and New York-based Verizon’s FiOs would require users to prove they already are pay-TV customers in regions where the services operate”—meaning that users will need to keep paying their cable bills if they want to stream live TV through their Xboxes.

Microsoft also plans to sign deals with HBO, Bravo, and Syfy, Sony’s Crackle streaming service, and Amazon-owned Lovefilm UK to bring more content to Xbox Live, Bloomberg reported.

Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer detailed some of the new search functions in store for the console in a developer talk last month, including the ability to access Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adding voice recognition to the Kinect controller. Those features should be available by Christmas, he said.