Microsoft making Xbox 360 an AT&T U-Verse receiver

Microsoft has been trying to make its Xbox 360 into much more than a gaming console. What once was a pure gaming system has quickly transformed into a centralized media hub for your entertainment center. You can set it up to stream from any networked PC with Windows Media Center, you can watch and manage your Netflix movies and listen to your last.fm stations, to name a few. Now, according to sources reporting to Engadget, AT&T and Microsoft are rolling out a new feature to the U-Verse broadband platform that will enable U-Verse subscribers to use their Xbox 360 as a U-Verse receiver. Since U-Verse allows for 4 HD connections on a subscription, this will nullify the need for another receiver for your gaming setup. It will be implemented in the form of a Dashboard app, and it will have all the same functionality as a normal AT&T box. The roll out will begin in early November, and the only prerequisite is that you already have one AT&T DVR box somewhere in the house; the Xbox can’t be your only receiver.

This is almost expected, as Microsoft is actually a partner with AT&T in its U-Verse venture.  The set-top boxes that AT&T gives to U-Verse subscribers are running Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV software, after all. It isn’t a huge leap to say that Microsoft would port the software to the Xbox as soon as possible. This also means that the service will not likely be coming to the other consoles. Microsoft likely plans on leveraging their relationship with AT&T to make a unique spot for their darling console as not just a gaming system, but as a true media center. 

Image Credit: Engadget

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Meh....so what. Don't have Uverse, don't want it. Neighbor has it - doesn't seem like anything revolutionary. Plus I'm adamantly anti-AT&T at this time after my experience with AT&T + iPhone. Love the iPhone - hate AT&T's service.

That's hot. We have U-Verse and after seeing Dish Network and Comcast/Time Warner in action, I've got to say that despite it's expense, it is an incredible experience. It's quick, never laggy, and ORGANIZED compared to other providers. I especially like the fact that for the channels you are watching, say 140 for comedy central, you can easily jump to 1140 for the HD version.

I dunno, I could go on and on, so I'll just say this: I don't like AT&T, but this has to be one of the best products I've seen from them. Cheers to them working with Microsoft!

Time Warner has their channels situated like that now as well. They advertise to just add a 1 to the front of the number and you get the HD channel. Just FYI of course..

I'm getting my Telus Optik TV install done on Monday, and can't wait to have this enabled on my XBox... actually, I'm getting a free XBox from them too, upping my total to 2, one on my main 1080P monitor, the other on the 56" screen, AND I'm getting their Internet service, which is basically DOUBLE the speed of my existing connection... all for the SAME PRICE! The only downside is having to sign up for a 3 year contract, but that's no big deal considering the improvements and free new slim 360!

With Windows Phone 7 and it's MediaRoom app coming as well, this is definitely an exciting time for IPTV subscribers.

Yes, I'm happy!

Now if only I can find the Media Center plug-in for MediaRoom...

r1zzah said,
...

+1
I am in Saskatchewan, and SaskTel are making the switch now.

Anyone who doesn't know what mediaroom is should really look at the site.

It really opens up a new way to watch television.

Anytime TV - Provider maintains a cache for browse back + play features within the electronic program guide
AnywhereTV - Through silverlight smooth streaming (and other technologies) Subscribers are able to watch their subscription service over the public internet (and 3G technologies).
Instant channel change - reminds me of flipping the dial on my tube TV growing up.
and more......

What is U-Verse??? Never heard of it? I have Comcast Cable which has DVR and I use a Slingbox to view and control my TV over the internet. Is it something like that?

jimmyfal said,
What is U-Verse??? Never heard of it? I have Comcast Cable which has DVR and I use a Slingbox to view and control my TV over the internet. Is it something like that?

Quote from Wiki:
U-verse TV is delivered via IPTV from the head-end to the consumer's Total Home DVR or standard set-top box.[2] U-verse uses H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) encoding which compresses video more efficiently than the traditional MPEG-2 codec. Broadcast channels are distributed via IP multicast, allowing a single stream (channel) to be sent to any number of recipients. The system is also designed for individual unicasts for video on demand, central time shifting, start-over services and other programs desired by only one home at that particular time. The set-top box does not have a conventional tuner, but is an IP multicast client which requests the stream desired. In the IP multicast model, only the streams the customer uses are sent. The customer's connection need not have the capacity to carry all available channels simultaneously.

jimmyfal said,
What is U-Verse??? Never heard of it? I have Comcast Cable which has DVR and I use a Slingbox to view and control my TV over the internet. Is it something like that?

Everything before the slingbox. the mediaroom platform is capable of replacing your slingbox with a provider based solution. Meaning in addition to having access through a PC, if you own an iDevice or a blackberry or other smartphone technology, you can access the content via your data plan. I'm not sure how this would work in practice, but I presume the tv streaming data would be exempt from data consumption.

This is no news. BT have been using xbox360s on their mediaroom based service for almost two years now. Telus (western canada) have been using xbox360s for a while. Unfortunately, it requires an on-site visit by the service technician to install the software via disc.

I also read online that MS and AT&T are also testing the windows phone 7 client. This means you will be able to stream any DVR content to your phone, and perhaps even take a copy from the DVR on the road with you. In addition to the local features, you will also be able to set recordings and otherwise manipulate your DVR settings while on the go.

What is also exciting is that there is a mediaroom plugin for Windows Media Center (vista+7 only) which you can use as a DVR. Think of it as a virtual TV tuner provided to you by your cable company.

This is why I'm a microsoft fanboy. It's all coming together. My universes are converging, and at the heart of it is the power of software.


IPTV for Teh win!!!!

dotf said,
What is also exciting is that there is a mediaroom plugin for Windows Media Center (vista+7 only) which you can use as a DVR. Think of it as a virtual TV tuner provided to you by your cable company.

Where can I find the Media Center plug-in for MediaRoom to download? Any chance you can help me out here, please?

dotf said,
What is also exciting is that there is a mediaroom plugin for Windows Media Center (vista+7 only) which you can use as a DVR.

That is exactly what I'm looking for. Please let it be so, I'll switch to AT&T in an instant.

r1zzah said,
Where can I find the Media Center plug-in for MediaRoom to download? Any chance you can help me out here, please?

Unfortunately, it's for provider distribution only. If AT&T choose to launch it, then so be it. I know that in Canada, Bell's FibeTV service will use the plugin. I would presume the other IPTV providers will jump on the bandwagon soon enough.

The only downside is that the .wtv files cannot be shared to the other set top boxes on the LAN.
If Microsoft can get that down, I'm sure the providers will offer the service. Hound your local chapter.

I have uverse...so this is great. i could buy more xbox 360s and just keep the dvr receiver(which controls access to uverse tv). we have multiple tvs in the house...so now i can get rid of 20-30 dollars of fees a month...yay

This is almost a reason to get a 360. It currently does everything you need a media center pc to and now tv!

Take that Apple TV and Google TV.

ccoltmanm said,
This is almost a reason to get a 360. It currently does everything you need a media center pc to and now tv!
Take that Apple TV and Google TV.

If you live in the US, you also get a fantastic new ESPN experience with access to over 3400 minor league events across all sports, on demand.

Too bad you need an existing receiver, at least initially. We only watch TV where my 360 is, so if I could use my 360, I would have no need for an additional receiver, which AT&T requires having it installed by a technician, even if the service was already established and canceled.

Mathachew said,
Too bad you need an existing receiver, at least initially.

To my understanding you will always need an existing receiver. Thats because the xbox is a client STB and DVR recordings must be stored on a full receiver. The xbox (aparently) will never support recording to it's hard drive.

Vannos said,

To my understanding you will always need an existing receiver. Thats because the xbox is a client STB and DVR recordings must be stored on a full receiver. The xbox (aparently) will never support recording to it's hard drive.

It doesn't look like it will but if they want to push the sale of a bigger HDD later on, say a 500GB or higher they could unlock DVR features.

GP007 said,
It doesn't look like it will but if they want to push the sale of a bigger HDD later on, say a 500GB or higher they could unlock DVR features.

I was thinking that it would be a fantastic opportunity for providers and Microsoft to profit share on the endless reams of hard drives that would continually fly off the shelves. The only limiting factor to sales would be the ability to keep up manufacturing.

Viper550 said,
And yet you never bring up the fact that Telus in western Canada has had this for a few months now too

With the xbox? How do you like it? I figure all these setups would be like the Sky TV deal in UK.
I wonder who will be the first to allow non-cable subscribers to pay up for the Xbox version of thier services. i.e. Typical TWC customers that don't subscribe to TWC but are able to install a Comcast App. lol now that would be cool. But I'm sure there would be lawyers involved and all that wicked fun stuff.

If only the 360 would make less noise ...

I think reducing the noise should be the main goal of MS with their next console.

My PC does less noise than my 360 (tested with a dB meter). And i have a faily good PC with a core I5 and a Radeon 5850.

I heard that the new smaller 360 makes less noise. But the elite model i own is really noisy.

LaP said,
If only the 360 would make less noise ...

I think reducing the noise should be the main goal of MS with their next console.

My PC does less noise than my 360 (tested with a dB meter). And i have a faily good PC with a core I5 and a Radeon 5850.

I heard that the new smaller 360 makes less noise. But the elite model i own is really noisy.

The new model is very very quiet, even when playing a game from DVD for me it's still quiet. You won't know unless you test it out for yourself, if a friend has a new one stop over and see. Or just go in and buy a new one, which is what I did.

GP007 said,

The new model is very very quiet, even when playing a game from DVD for me it's still quiet. You won't know unless you test it out for yourself, if a friend has a new one stop over and see. Or just go in and buy a new one, which is what I did.

Never noticed mine 360 manking any noise. Then again, I did buy it January of this year.

LaP said,
If only the 360 would make less noise ...

I think reducing the noise should be the main goal of MS with their next console.

My PC does less noise than my 360 (tested with a dB meter). And i have a faily good PC with a core I5 and a Radeon 5850.

I heard that the new smaller 360 makes less noise. But the elite model i own is really noisy.

When I heard that it was "Quiet", I figured that it was just less noisy, but it's true.... very very quiet. I typically install the games to HDD so the disc noises don't bother me much.

LaP said,
If only the 360 would make less noise ...

I think reducing the noise should be the main goal of MS with their next console.

My PC does less noise than my 360 (tested with a dB meter). And i have a faily good PC with a core I5 and a Radeon 5850.

I heard that the new smaller 360 makes less noise. But the elite model i own is really noisy.

It's kind of like a computer, it depends how you're using it. I've been playing Reach for several weeks now and the only noise I notice is when the disc starts up. On the other hand, I remember Fable II sounded like a helicopter taking off when I was changing zones. It all depends on the game, and how much power it needs.

Or you could just install the game to your hard drive/external memory source. That eliminates all noise during use.

LaP said,
If only the 360 would make less noise ...

I think reducing the noise should be the main goal of MS with their next console.

My PC does less noise than my 360 (tested with a dB meter). And i have a faily good PC with a core I5 and a Radeon 5850.

I heard that the new smaller 360 makes less noise. But the elite model i own is really noisy.

It doesn't make noise unless the disc drive is spinning.

LiquidSolstice said,

It doesn't make noise unless the disc drive is spinning.

Not true, I install games to my elites hardrive but it's still as noisy as hell!

LaP said,
If only the 360 would make less noise ...

I think reducing the noise should be the main goal of MS with their next console.

My PC does less noise than my 360 (tested with a dB meter). And i have a faily good PC with a core I5 and a Radeon 5850.

I heard that the new smaller 360 makes less noise. But the elite model i own is really noisy.

I have a new 360, and I can confirm it is very quiet, my laptop is now louder than the 360. It no longer makes that 'whirring' sound it used to when sat on the dashboard, it sounds fairly similar to the PS3 now.

That's good because those Motorola DVR STBs they use are a box of S**T.. they crap out every 6 months... I've had mine replaced 4 times already in less than 2 years and are very slow too...

Um, its not the hardware. Its the WindowsCE whatnot that is running on them. Even more reason I was surprised that a Windows PC or XBox couldn't joing the UVerse network, at least as an endpoint.

Dashel said,
Um, its not the hardware. Its the WindowsCE whatnot that is running on them. Even more reason I was surprised that a Windows PC or XBox couldn't joing the UVerse network, at least as an endpoint.

Dude if the box craps out because the Hard drive died then it's the hardware...lol it is running windows CE tho... lame lame lame