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Rise of the Gaming Consoles

In the ever changing world of in-home entertainment the Cable industry is being assaulted yet again by competitors. But this time it is not an upstart Dish network that is challenging t

hem for media supremacy in the household; it is gaming consoles.

For a brief period Cable was poised to capture the whole pie. By offering cable internet with super fast speeds bundled to overpriced cable TV and phone set-ups they offered a little bit of everything your household needed for only a slightly overinflated price.

But that dominance may soon be crashing down around them.

What changed? Video game consoles.

Actually the consoles themselves hardly changed at all. The Play Station 3 and X-Box were created for this. But now they are actually being able to utilize more of their functionality with a more supportive online network.

Currently the X-Box rates as the biggest threat. You can buy a year’s worth of the X-Box Live service for $9 a month. For that money not only can you play games online with your friends but now you can watch movies, chat, listen to music, surf the web, and watch TV. There is the Xfinity on Demand, HBO Go, and Netflix channels as part of the media center. Additionally MLB.tv just joined the group providing thousands of games during the season. Also, news just came out that they are launching a new version of Internet Explorer that is going to have Kinect capabilities as well.

All of those movie options combine with the existing 36 channel of music, movies, and TV (which includes ESPN, UFC, and Hulu Plus). When you consider that many people just have a cell phone and laptop that can piggyback on a wireless connection from their X-Box it is easy to understand the draw for a switch. A cable bundle (internet/TV/phone) can run from $120 to $200 per month. Or you can pay that monthly charge for one year of service on the X-Box Live platform.

Microsoft is pushing its new campaign with the great slogan of, “change living room entertainment forever.” With the advances of using voice and motion it seems we are getting closer to futuristic sci-fi living rooms each day. Plus that price differential is hard to beat!

Sure the overall amount of what you get is much less than cable currently offers. But for many people, the internet is becoming so much more of a draw for entertainment that traditional cable is less enticing. Watching a new TV show or using Hulu to see the episode is less of a concern compared to all the money you save.

The Play Station is no slouch either. But currently its media network is not quite on par with Microsoft’s X-Box Live.

It definitely should be something to consider when you are trying to decide what your media needs are. With the advances in technology we are moving away from land lines, traditional cable, and desktop computers. Laptops, tablets, and now video game consoles are becoming hubs for information and media within a house.

With how easy they are to use and convenient they are it really is not much of a surprise. Sure, there will always be a few old dinosaurs that prefer the old method to the new. But if the new ways are so much cheaper and you can still get everything you want, then you have to really consider it; at least that is what Microsoft is banking on.

So far it looks like a good bet.

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