Microsoft expected to announce Xbox 360 TV plans today

By on October 5, 2011, 11:22 AM

Update:  Officially confirmed by Microsoft via press release.

Microsoft will likely announce plans to bring premium television programming to the Xbox 360 today. Essentially, users would be able to convert their Microsoft gaming console into a cable box / streaming video service, as first reported by All Things D.

Microsoft has allegedly been in talks with cable networks and media companies for nearly a year to bring television programming to the 360. But as we inch closer to an announcement, things aren’t looking as promising as they once were.

While the concept seems like a great idea, there is one big catch. The service isn’t really any different than other premium streaming offerings in that you need to be subscribed to cable through a traditional service provider in order to qualify. Basically, the only thing this does is provide an alternate delivery method for services you already have, much like the NBC, TBS and TNT iPad apps that we explored last month.

Currently, Xbox users can access premium content from Hulu and Netflix using their login credentials. Both require separate monthly fees, however, in addition to the requisite Xbox Live Gold membership.

A much more attractive option, although unlikely to happen anytime soon (if ever) would be a la carte programming options. If Microsoft allowed users to select only the channels they wanted on a per-channel subscription basis, they’d make a killing. This would send shockwaves through the cable TV industry and is not likely to play out, although All Things D thinks there’s always a slight chance that a single partner could stray from the norm and do just that.

User Comments: 7

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Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I want BBC i Player

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My cable operator charges $60 for basic service. I told them screw it, I'm not paying $60 a month for 23 channels, forgetting the $80 for the full (non-premium channels) service package. Their internet rates are competitive however. So, if I watch TV at all it's over-the-air or from the web.

I have a little more than 1 GB of space left on my 20GB drive. Should I upgrade it, or is this server streaming only?

Butch said:

I refuse to pay for a Gold membership just to use this or Netflix etc. on my Xbox. I'll stick with my PS3 and Netflix thank you very much...

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I have Timewarner cable and I stream Netflix with my 360S Reach:LE console all the time in stunning quality with a 54mbps wireless WPA connection. If Microsoft was to offer stations like NFL Network, Versus, Food Network etc on a channel by channel paid basis I would be highly interested.

To the above post, I use both a PS3 and 360 to stream netflix and I like the 360 better.

It has wireless so I can put it wherever I want it, and more options to full screen/stretch the image of shows like 'Family Guy' on my 42" 16:9.

The wireless works so good it's almost unreal.

I am picky ( I have a bluray collection ) and the image quality exceeds my PS3 which is wired.

Anyways, DO IT Microsoft. Just let people choose and give lots of options.

Thats what TV services don't do now and that why people are shying away from them.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Cable News announced this is factual and a done deal doday 9:30 PDT.

In addition, Comcast, Rogers, Verizon FiOS and others are also onboard with this deal.

The importance of this announcement would be the direct connection of the Xbox to the cable feed itself.

Having the TV then connected to the Xbox would bypass the need for ethernet and the attachment to the PC. Thus bandwidth should be superb.

SammyJames said:

This seems really cool. I used to own an XBox 360. I sold it and bought a PS3, which I also then sold. I'm pretty much done with gaming consoles, but even so -- I still think that this is cool.

Just sayin' is all.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This seems pointless to me considering you need to subscribe to both cable & internet packages on top of having LIVE to receive it. Not to mention if you're not in one of the provided areas your SOL. Looks like another ESPN ordeal and I'm sure price hikes won't be far off in the coming year because of these new 'services'. Still bitter about my rate hike on both cable & LIVE for ESPN that I still cannot access a year later >.> .

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