& cplSiteName &

Microsoft Sees Xmas Debut for Xbox TV

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

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
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

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
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
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


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. 

Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments

Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments

Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment

As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments

VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments

Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments

In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments

Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments

How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments

Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks' Kumar Mehta on SD-WAN Managed Services

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Versa's Kumar Mehta for an interview focused on why service providers are building SD-WAN managed services, and how Versa's telco customers are innovating.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/22/2016
Cisco Throws 5,500 Overboard on Cruise to Richer Waters
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/17/2016
VoLTE Can Drive 4G Small Cells Adoption
Ravi Narayanan, Senior Analyst – Cloud & Next Generation Mobile Networks, Heavy Reading, 8/18/2016
Slow Roll Builds for DOCSIS 3.1
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/17/2016
Rocket Fiber Lights Up Detroit With Gigabit
Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, 8/22/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.