Xbox 360 to Stream Live TV

3:35 PM -- Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) isn't the only company with big announcements on Monday.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) had its own to-do at E3 in Los Angeles, as it introduced an array of updates for the Xbox 360, making it look more and more like a set-top box alternative. (See Microsoft to Launch Xbox Subscription TV Service.)

Here in the U.S., AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has already enabled the Xbox 360 to deliver its U-verse TV service (you'll need a $99 hardware kit to make it go). Microsoft on Monday unveiled its own plans to add streaming live TV to the console and the Xbox Live service. The enhancements are due this fall, along with an expected tenfold increase in content partners. (See Xbox 360 Joins the U-verse Lineup .)

But Microsoft Xbox Live Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten barely skimmed the surface on how the company intends to package and price those offerings, referencing live TV partners such as Sky TV of the U.K., Canal Plus of France, Foxtel of Australia, Ultimate Fighting Championship events, and the addition of YouTube Inc.

The ESPN logo also made an appearance during the brief demo, but the Xbox 360 already has access to the broadband-only ESPN 3 service; the catch is that you have to subscribe to cable or another traditional pay-TV service to access it. (See ESPN Feeds Fare to the Xbox 360.)

Whitten promised more domestic and international content partnerships. He didn't say if Microsoft would develop subscription TV packages and, in essence, create a virtual MSO that could rival the offerings of cable, satellite and telco TV operators, but a more aggressive expansion into the live TV arena represents a big step in that direction.

In any event, the Xbox 360 is certainly becoming an IP video platform, where service providers could gain entry through integrations and branded buttons akin to what we're used to seeing from Xbox 360 partners like Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu Plus.

Microsoft's next, best opportunity to detail any cable MSO partnerships would be next week in Chicago at The Cable Show.

Among other additions announced today, Xbox Live will let consumers use voice commands to search for video content by integrating its Kinect technology with Bing.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

SteveDonohue 12/5/2012 | 5:03:13 PM
re: Xbox 360 to Stream Live TV

There's a good chance that Microsoft hasn't struck deals with Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal and other major content providers to deliver live network feeds through Xbox Live TV -- otherwise we would've heard about them today. Microsoft has the potential to shake up the pay TV business by delivering live TV to millions of Xbox owners, and offer a unique way to channel surf by using gesture and voice-based controls. But until major programmers are able to reach agreements with cable MSOs, satelilte providers and other affiliates that would allow them to offer live networks to the Xbox and other connected devices, Xbox Live TV may be a dud. 


bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 5:03:04 PM
re: Xbox 360 to Stream Live TV

it will only be a dud if MSFT choices to let it be so.

Look at the upside for MSFT and XBOX Live you can actually do "real targeted" advertisement roll-outs. Therefore advertising with XBOXLive is quantifiable and financially more rewarding versus exisitng methods used by Telcos and MSO.

Advertising will drive the  live TV content on to the XBox.

Seriously how many of the 1000 channels of TV do you really get to watch or want to watch. Now you have the likes of Verizon charging you for the Fios channel line up of your choice. How about a new world in which you get to choice the TV channels you want to watch free of charge !


Go MSFT, hurry up Google TV and Apple TV.


bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 5:03:04 PM
re: Xbox 360 to Stream Live TV

This is a real big step for MSFT.

If you look at the Kinect combined with the  XBOX360 then you can see a viable challenge to the current STB market but with the real advantage of home networking and real applications at your fingure tips.

They  can really shake up the industry with MSO and Telco TV offerings/partnerships by offering OTT solutions!


Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:03:01 PM
re: Xbox 360 to Stream Live TV

Or they could try to play both sides... offer a pared-down subscription video package as they continue to obtain more programming rights and integrate IP-based cable apps that pipe in the MSO pay-TV tiers. Giving both options would help MSFT move consoles and give the existing ones more legs with the potential to add in more subscription packages. JB

bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 5:02:53 PM
re: Xbox 360 to Stream Live TV

Excellent analysis Jeff.

If you look at MSFT IPTV platform they have gained much need experience and a deeper understanding of how SP operate in delivery for paid revenue services. This new knoweldge coupled with a superior understanding of the market and the sticky aspects of retaining customer loyalty, makesthem potentially a king maker for OTT service delivery.

Millions of consumers would most definetly shift to an OTT live TV services because MSFT and others can delvier an experience that is value for money. If we look at the ARPU spent on TV and Internet and communications services it has in fact increased substantially over the last decade - this not sustainable and the industry needs a shake up and the consumer pocket relief. The question remains does MSFT have the insight and commitment to make the change and offer an alternative solution for consumers, I am sure Google is also moving along this path as well.






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