Light Reading

Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
9/15/2011
50%
50%

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s broadband-fueled Xbox 360 console wants to be your next set-top box.

Speaking at a Microsoft financial analyst conference on Wednesday, company CEO Steve Ballmer gave a preview of Xbox TV, an update that will enable the console to deliver not just on-demand content but a number of live TV channels, as well. Microsoft plans to launch Xbox TV in time for the 2011 holiday season.

Microsoft hinted at its live TV streaming plans for the Xbox 360 at the E3 conference in June. (See Xbox 360 to Stream Live TV.)

Ballmer reportedly didn't offer much detail about pricing, content or who its initial partners will be (the Seattle Times posted a Microsoft slide that supplies some bullet points), but did note that Microsoft would be working with "dozens or hundreds of additional video content suppliers." He didn't offer a list of networks or MSOs that will be among Xbox TV's initial U.S. partners, but noted Microsoft would package in "news, sports, and your favorite channels."

Microsoft will also let users navigate for video using Xbox's motion-based Kinect system and use Bing to help users find and discover content.

Why this matters
With a an Xbox Live user base in the tens of millions, Microsoft probably has a customer base that's large enough to support a trimmed-down video subscription service that would be appealing to potential cord-cutters, but that's not what Microsoft has in mind.

Instead, it appears that the plan is to integrate the Xbox 360 with MSOs and other pay-TV operators so their subscription video services can be delivered to the gaming console over IP (and using software-based security instead of a clunky CableCARD)-- essentially replicating what Samsung Corp. and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) are already trying to do with cable operators via their new line of connected TVs. Cable MSOs have incentives to strike such deals as they look to avert AllVid, a "notice of inquiry" at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that's threatening to become a rule-making effort that would succeed today's CableCARD rules and apply to all domestic pay-TV operators.

Microsoft and the Xbox 360 have some experience in the live TV arena, having already done some similar kind of work with Sky TV in the U.K. and with FoxTel in Australia that lets the Xbox stream a limited number of linear channels.

In the U.S., Microsoft has completed full Xbox 360 integrations with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s U-verse and with Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) in Canada. Both require specialized hardware kits, with AT&T charging $99 for the option, while Telus charges $50.

For more
For more about Microsoft's video ambitions and cable's flirtations with the CE industry, check out.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:53:36 PM
re: Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV


Saying they'll offer live TV on the Xbox is one thing, but I'm curious to know how much support is to be given by major MSOs when this thing gets unleashed.  But it'll be nice for consumers who already have an xbox 360 and happen to live in a market where the MSO is partnered up and happens to be doing an IP video simulcast already.  Lotta stars need to align for this to go. JB

msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:53:35 PM
re: Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV


How long has Microsoft tried to wedge itself in with the cable operators? And how much longer can the company continue to beat its head against a wall? 


In this case, Microsoft does bring the advantage of an installed customer base, but it's hard to imagine that the MSOs want to cede any of the living room experience over to the Redmond giant. Presumably Microsoft's play is to get its branding on premium TV services and start integrating the Xbox Live platform. Meanwhile, all the operators want is a way to offload the hardware headache. The aims aren't exactly complementary.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:53:34 PM
re: Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV


How long?  Since at least back to the DCT5000, may it rest in pieces. But, yeah, Microsoft sure doesn't like to give up, does it? Points for persistence.


I'll have a bit more on this soon, but I think cable's move to IP and the idea of an IP simulcast bodes well for Microsoft this time around since integration should be easier, but this is cable -- nothing ever seems to come easy or quickly  for its partners.


And I think the specter of an AllVid rulemaking proceedure will cause cable to play nice, or at least nicer than it has in the past. But agree that ceding control of the interface and the cable set-top's dominance as the home's entertainment hub would be quite a big deal.


And it's still hard to know what exactly MSFT has in mind here because they are purposefully being so vague. Will it be a subset of live TV channels with the hope that they can get access to cable's entire subscription TV lineup?  JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:53:33 PM
re: Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV


 Yeah, I'm sure I probably wrote at least 15,000 words about that one when it was all said and done... probably doesn't rival how many I put in covering OCAP/tru2way since 2000 ;)


But it was fun to cover the weekly jabs between Microsoft and Liberate in those days when they were sorta fighting and hemming and hawing over nothing since neither was really getting much traction back then.  Then we'd have Hal K. at WorldGate throw in and regale us about the wonders of "Channel Hyperlinking". Good times, indeed.


Of course, the interesting about this is that I wrote ICTV (nee ActiveVideo) eulogy more than once during this span and they seem to be doing pretty well now.  Talk about a company that's been persistent, and now seeing that pay off . JB


 

msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:53:33 PM
re: Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV


Remember Microsoft TV Foundation Edition? Good times. 

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Choosing a Technology Supplier? Consider Changing Your Selection Criteria
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 5/18/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones