Sources say Xbox could remove Gold subscription requirement for Netflix, Hulu

One of the most oft-cited displeasures with Microsoft's Xbox series of consoles is the restriction of content to non-Gold users. At current, those looking to watch videos on streaming services like Netflix or Hulu have to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription in addition to the normal subscription fees for those services. But this may soon change: According to sources from ArsTechnica, Microsoft could be lifting the paywall on Netflix and Hulu and allowing anyone to access the services without a Gold subscription.

If you're a part of one of the 30 million subscribing households who use Netflix, you may finally be able to ditch the computer and start watching on the big screen. But this may not hold true for every service, as sources also say that Microsoft could put other services behind a subscription paywall to compensate -- including preexisting apps and upcoming TV series from Xbox Entertainment Studios.

At current, Microsoft competitors Sony and Nintendo offer free access to Netflix and Hulu without a subscription, which has left Xbox in the dust. According to a 2011 Nielsen report, while nearly 50 percent of all Netflix users viewed on a console, only 12 percent opted to use an Xbox 360 for the task. With the potential removal of their subscription paywall, Microsoft could significantly bridge the gap and fulfill their long-lusted potential as a home media kingpin.

Source: ArsTechnica | Image via Microsoft

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The Wii doesn't require you to have anything special for netflix, nor does Playstation 3 or 4.


They shouldn't have made it that way to begin with.

This would have been welcomed a long time ago. For a long time my 360 has sat doing nothing. It's now been replaced by a Chromecast to get Netflix content where I want it.

MS got greedy here IMO.

I think this comes as "too little, too late." There was a time when I had 2 xbox 360s in my house for slinging media around my network. Now, my media needs revolve around Roku. It's a great, quiet little box that serves my needs. Unless Microsoft can further woo the consumer, I predict the xbox will remain stalled in the home media entertainment market.

This is cool...
I'm covered on Xbox Live Gold till 2020.
Yep I would pick up the 12month Xbox Live passes when they are on the cheap. Never paid over $35 for any of them either.

And Skype ... put ads I don't care but this is another idiotic requirement for a service facing extremely stuff competition and arguably dying.

So many complaints. Thought I wonder how many of them are from people who aren't paying for gold for multiplayer anyway...

If you work in sales like I do, you're absolutely free to bitch about it. Try explaining to a single mother raising 3 kids why she needs a gold subscription just to watch Netflix, opting for cheaper alternatives to cable...

I'm not trying to be a dick either mind you, it's a legitimate question that sucks having to answer when everything else under the sun supports Netflix...

dead.cell said,
If you work in sales like I do, you're absolutely free to bitch about it. Try explaining to a single mother raising 3 kids why she needs a gold subscription just to watch Netflix, opting for cheaper alternatives to cable...

I'm not trying to be a dick either mind you, it's a legitimate question that sucks having to answer when everything else under the sun supports Netflix...

Sorry, but I guess we have different ideas about sales. The sales process includes a step known as "Overcoming Objections", during which the salesperson addresses, redirects, justifies, or otherwise helps a client overcome a negative on the way to closing the sale. "Bitching" about something is not a part of the sales process.

In your example, I don't think you qualified your client (another step in the sales process). If you had, then you would have asked whether she intended to provide her kids access to online multiplayer, or whether she thought getting two free games per month would be valuable. Or how important the other streaming services and Xbox media apps would be to her -- informing her of the offerings in the process.

You should never have been in the position of explaining why she needs a gold subscription "just to watch Netflix". If she JUST needs Netflix she doesn't need an Xbox at all. And if you can't demonstrate the value of the product you're trying to sell then you are probably not trying to sell the right product.

Did you tell her she could get the Xbox AND a Roku for the price of a year and a half of Gold?

Sales is about finding the right solution for the client. Not getting the client to buy what you want to sell them.

If they couple this with introducing an Xbox Media streaming box (ala Roku/FireTV), that has access into the Xbox apps, it could be a HUGE hit. I would buy one without thinking twice, the content will grow fast given the universal app platform. Roku by comparison is really limited in terms of UI and design of the apps.

Let's see how it goes...

pmbAustin said,
About time.

More signs that the new Microsoft is actually listening, and actually cares about improving.

Yep, the new MSFT is getting it! They always perform best when they are the underdog.

Wow, I've never owned an XBOX and I had no idea they did this. Hell on my PlayStation I don't have to have ANY kind of subscription to their services to watch Netflix or Hulu or anything.

MS wanted the revenue and again misjudged the situation. It came off as pure greed and rightly so. Imagine how many customers discovered this after the fact and how they must have felt at that moment...once again, just brilliant.

My Asus chromebox is connected to the TV and have netflix and the entire internet for free, for the price of one gold subscription.

Actually my TV has netflix too, and my apple tv, and my phone, why do i need to pay for Microsoft for something that is provided for free from everyone?

OMG I was gonna say the exact same thing. MS are so greedy. why should someone have to pay for something that they are already paying to use ? cmon it's logic dick

You mean like how you have to pay for standard cable in order to pay again to see HBO, Cinemax, etc.? As it is now, only large media companies are able to make money in the consumer market. If users want greater choice, they will have to pay into a subscription system, so that smaller media companies can make money as well.

Patmore Douglas said,
You mean like how you have to pay for standard cable in order to pay again to see HBO, Cinemax, etc.? As it is now, only large media companies are able to make money in the consumer market. If users want greater choice, they will have to pay into a subscription system, so that smaller media companies can make money as well.

Not the same thing at all. Forcing users to pay for XBL to access Netflix is a joke when you can buy a streaming device for a one time payment of $30.

Patmore Douglas said,
You mean like how you have to pay for standard cable in order to pay again to see HBO, Cinemax, etc.? As it is now, only large media companies are able to make money in the consumer market. If users want greater choice, they will have to pay into a subscription system, so that smaller media companies can make money as well.

I don't pay for cable. So yeah, not related.

Essentially, you're paying for internet access, Xbox access, Subscription access.

"Article"
t Microsoft could put other services behind a subscription paywall to compensate --

Compensate for what? Are Microsoft Servers used for Netflix and Hulu streams?

Jose_49 said,

Compensate for what? Are Microsoft Servers used for Netflix and Hulu streams?

The lost subscriber revenue. They will find another way to hopefully force most users into Gold.

Jose_49 said,

Compensate for what? Are Microsoft Servers used for Netflix and Hulu streams?

I think a lot of associated traffic goes through their servers.
Whatever though, this paywall needs to go, it was srupid from day one. I'm a Gold subscriber, but have always thought this was holding them back.

I wonder if this means we'll see a TV only Xbox device in the short future for apps and arcade games only, to complete with Apple TV and the like.

Well it'd be sweet if this happens before September this year. My Gold subscription runs out then, and I don't use the 360 unless I need to watch Netflix, and or the occasional single player game.