Microsoft unveils SportsLounge at CES

In a 90-minute CES keynote about the latest in digital connectivity, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates this week revealed SportsLounge, a new interactive service with Fox Sports that combines live HDTV broadcasting with real-time supplementary sports scores, news and other data.

An option to Microsoft’s Vista operating system that’s scheduled to be available to the public on Jan. 30, the premium sports service further blurs the line between traditional television and the personal computer. It works on Microsoft’s Media Center platform.

SportsLounge was co-developed with Microsoft and Fox Sports, and is “a dream if you’re a sports fan, or have a sports fan in your house,” Gates said during a demonstration in his keynote. Fans can watch a live HD feed of a football game while also getting real-time information and scores for every sports program in a user-defined channel lineup.

Gates then added that SportsLounge visitors interested in fantasy sports could easily track all of their virtual teams, including football, basketball, baseball and hockey, and get the most recent stats.

SportsLounge is expected to be part of Microsoft’s Ultimate Vista bundle, an enticement for Windows enthusiasts to purchase a premium version of the new operating system. The higher-priced version will cost about $100 more than standard versions of the software.