Microsoft has acquired R2 Studios, a home-entertainment technology startup for its Xbox unit.  R2 Studios has been in talks with companies considering buying it, with Microsoft, Google and Apple cited as participants.  The company, known as R2 Studios, has been working on technology related to distributing and displaying digital media on TVs, a big new battleground for technology giants.

The company, id8 Group R2 Studios Inc., was created by entrepreneur Blake Krikorian in May 2011. Mr. Krikorian is a veteran digital media entrepreneur. He founded Sling Media Inc., maker of the Slingbox for watching TV on computers, and sold it to EchoStar in 2007.

According to the WSJ Microsoft acquired several patents in the exchange that cover controlling various electronic devices.

The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.

The Xbox business has struck deals with companies such as Netflix, Comcast ,Time Warner, HBO and Google’s YouTube. Subscribers to its Xbox Live service can watch on-demand TV programming or Web video on TV sets hooked up to Xbox devices.