Xbox 360 could serve up cable TV channels in the US

The Xbox 360 game console could double as a cable TV service in the US if preliminary plans from Microsoft come into fruition. Advertising Age reports that the company has recently started looking into securing the rights to offer cable TV networks via the Xbox 360 console, although the article adds that adding such a feature is still the subject of much internal discussion at Microsoft.

Officially, Microsoft is only saying that it is "interested" in offering new entertainment options for the Xbox 360. The article quotes Ross Honey, the head of content acquisition for the Xbox business as saying "from our perspective, gaming and TV are going to coexist." Microsoft already offers an option for Xbox 360 owners to allow AT&T U-Verse subscribers to use the console as a substitute for a conventional DVR device. It also offers a cable TV service in Australia, in association with local cable Foxtel. Over in the UK, Sky Broadcasting began to offer programming via the Xbox 360 in October 2009. Way back in 2007 Microsoft announced plans to offer IPTV services but so far those plans have yet to be fully implemented.

Of course here in the US the Xbox 360 console has always been more than just a gaming machine. After launching in 2005 the console's Xbox Live service began offering movies and TV shows to download and rent in 2006. It later added support for streaming movies and TV shows via Netflix and just a couple of days ago it began to offer Hulu Plus streaming video services to its users.

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29 Comments

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cooky560 said,
You can watch sky (satellite provider) on the x-box 360 in the UK already, this is nothing new

Yes we know, but it's just sky, one channel, right? This is talking about more of a packages of channels like you get with normal cable but using the 360 and not having to pay for a cable box etc.

You do realize that Xbox live been around that price ever since original xbox. Sony has to offer free online in order to compete with live. Sony has to turn it around so you all don't have to pay.

minster11 said,
You do realize that Xbox live been around that price ever since original xbox. Sony has to offer free online in order to compete with live. Sony has to turn it around so you all don't have to pay.

Yeah, but advertising is starting to sneak in also which is something I don't agree with considering we pay.

SteelToast said,
Need web browser on this ms.

Why? If the channels/services have a custom part in the overall UI what do you gain from a browser?

SteelToast said,
Need web browser on this ms.

Would you rather an app or it be hosted on a website? I prefer the app option.

SCRISP said,
Is Internet TV the future? Is the question. I belive so.

In the long term yes; in the short one.... not so sure.
Until IP providers will be allowed to overcharge people while offering slow speed and more and more download limits I see a serious threat to this scenario.

I'm a very happy Foxtel on XBox360 user in Australia. I pay $65/mth for my foxtel, $65/year for xbox gold. (total around $75/mth all up)

I use to pay $100/mth for my foxtel cable package.

The Foxtel/Xbox360 user interface and UX is so much better than the foxtel cable. And I use to worry about connection and download limits BUT MS did deals with the cable provider to make sure the quality of the stream is great and that your download limits are highly subsidized.

I'm loving my foxtel on xbox360, and it's so good having cable and games all in the same interface, makes switching between them so easy

The Foxtel service has apparently been going good for people here in Aus so i dont see how this could be bad Bit of buffering when i tested it at the start but like when watching the movies it caught up

I will only "subscribe" if it means a-la-carte programming. I don't want any sports.. Don't want 20 cooking/home channels, i just want Discovery HD and a couple other channels and thats it.

blahism said,
I will only "subscribe" if it means a-la-carte programming. I don't want any sports.. Don't want 20 cooking/home channels, i just want Discovery HD and a couple other channels and thats it.

Now THAT would be awesome...

blahism said,
I will only "subscribe" if it means a-la-carte programming. I don't want any sports.. Don't want 20 cooking/home channels, i just want Discovery HD and a couple other channels and thats it.

+100

blahism said,
I will only "subscribe" if it means a-la-carte programming. I don't want any sports.. Don't want 20 cooking/home channels, i just want Discovery HD and a couple other channels and thats it.

+1000

How would this work for Xbox 360's with low disk space for dvr, not a good enough internet connection for streaming, and i hope this isn't too much to pay for that i'm already paying much for Xbox Live already.

MrTwentyfour said,
How would this work for Xbox 360's with low disk space for dvr, not a good enough internet connection for streaming, and i hope this isn't too much to pay for that i'm already paying much for Xbox Live already.

$3/month is too much for XBL....?

MrTwentyfour said,
How would this work for Xbox 360's with low disk space for dvr, not a good enough internet connection for streaming, and i hope this isn't too much to pay for that i'm already paying much for Xbox Live already.

low disk space? heck we still have cable tv DVR's out there with 80GB of recordable space... the standard now is much higher but still very few had 500+ GB yet, as cable providers try their hardest to keep the space low

MrTwentyfour said,
How would this work for Xbox 360's with low disk space for dvr, not a good enough internet connection for streaming, and i hope this isn't too much to pay for that i'm already paying much for Xbox Live already.
MS could easily keep copies of every show on their servers for on-demand.. Basically you would choose to record it, and it would just be able to make a reference to the copy stored by MS, then when you want to watch it, they would stream it as they do with netflix and the like..

At least that would be the ideal way..

Ryoken said,
MS could easily keep copies of every show on their servers for on-demand.. Basically you would choose to record it, and it would just be able to make a reference to the copy stored by MS, then when you want to watch it, they would stream it as they do with netflix and the like..

At least that would be the ideal way..

This sounds like an interesting way of doing it, and saves space though this depends on the cost of storing everything from MS's side.

The whole "cable TV service" makes no sense, since you are talking 2 totally different things here.. the Xbox would be a IPTV type of device and have nothing to do with "cable" at that point.

xendrome said,
The whole "cable TV service" makes no sense, since you are talking 2 totally different things here.. the Xbox would be a IPTV type of device and have nothing to do with "cable" at that point.

why does it make sense? Cable has been doing everything they can to classify IPTV as a "cable" tv service... just so it has to follow the same rules as them

neufuse said,

why does it make sense? Cable has been doing everything they can to classify IPTV as a "cable" tv service... just so it has to follow the same rules as them

Technically IPTV service IS cable tv service, just in a differing implementation than traditional cable service. The naming itself should give you a clue as the alternatives are typically satellite and terrestrial antenna. It is all about the transmission medium in which the TV service is delivered. Actually many Digital Cable services are using some aspects of IPTV such as Video-on-Demand. Cable and IPTV are not mutually exclusive, and the sooner people(customers and providers) come to realize that the better off we will be.

rafter109 said,
Technically IPTV service IS cable tv service, just in a differing implementation than traditional cable service. The naming itself should give you a clue as the alternatives are typically satellite and terrestrial antenna. It is all about the transmission medium in which the TV service is delivered. Actually many Digital Cable services are using some aspects of IPTV such as Video-on-Demand. Cable and IPTV are not mutually exclusive, and the sooner people(customers and providers) come to realize that the better off we will be.

exactly, heck DSL was originally supose to be a replacement for Coax (RF) cable TV... a lot of the spec for DSL is designed around video transmission

It will never fly. Cable and Satellite companies just don't get it and all you end up with is a similar or gimped service on top of your cable or satellite subscription at an obscene price. No thanks.