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Microsoft in partner talks to bring more cable TV to 360

Tue 20 Sep 2011 8:48am GMT / 4:48am EDT / 1:48am PDT
Hardware

Report claims platform owner talking to Comcast, Verizon for Autumn launch

Microsoft is coming closer to finalising a deal which will see live cable TV services coming to the Xbox 360 in the US, speaking to established player Comcast and relative newcomer Verizon in a run-in to a partnership deal, a report has claimed.

Citing sources close to the company, a report by Digiday has claimed that the cable deal which Microsoft announced at E3 could be launching in the Autumn.

Microsoft, sources say, is looking to make allies rather than enemies from existing cable companies by facilitating the spread of their services, offering tightly targeted advertising and an install base of 35 million Xbox Live gold account members.

That install base would mean a raft of potential new customers for cable companies, who wouldn't need set top boxes or install processes, instead being ready to receive cable on a demostration or permanent basis, with an established billing system already built in to their hardware.

Previewing the forthcoming cable system last week at Microsoft's investor conference, Steve Balmer said that the offering would be live by the holiday season, with "dozens or hundreds of additional video content suppliers," providing "news, sports, and your favorite channels."

9 Comments

Craig Burkey
Software Engineer

177 274 1.5
This is probably for the US only.

I understand why Microsoft are being awkward with the BBC but why is there no ITVPlayer, 4oD, Demand5? Also the billing options for Sky Player are laughable, they only make sense if you already have Sky and then whats the point?

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Guy Costantini
Managing Partner

12 0 0.0
This almost makes me want to buy MSFT stock again.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Paul Erickson
Senior Analyst

10 0 0.0
I suspect it'll be as a client box play. - If you already have a main STB / gateway / DVR then the 360 can be a client just like a DLNA-enabled TV from Sony, Samsung etc. running a client app for Time Warner like was demoed at CES.

If it is on a pure standalone basis, all you need is a broadband subscription from the relevant cable operator (necessary I would think for the right security and conditional access) I would be pretty impressed.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Paul Erickson
Senior Analyst

10 0 0.0
I suspect it'll be as a client box play. - If you already have a main STB / gateway / DVR then the 360 can be a client just like a DLNA-enabled TV from Sony, Samsung etc. running a client app for Time Warner like was demoed at CES.

If it is on a pure standalone basis, all you need is a broadband subscription from the relevant cable operator (necessary I would think for the right security and conditional access) I would be pretty impressed.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Craig,
Is it not the case that the BBC is being funny with Microsoft due to it needing a gold live account?
The BBC IPlayer being TV license funded would mean its restricted on the 360 instead of being open like the trustees require it to be.

As for the Sky player.. Its the same if you want the on-demand/online service its pointless unless you have a sky subscription but for a second room it can be cheaper to use a 360 and a network connection instead of installing the sky box in another room. At least thats the way I see it.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Kevin Danaher
Associate Producer

45 62 1.4
I'd say it's Microsoft being funny in that respect John.
The BBC are perfectly willing to get iPlayer onto as many devices as possible, as long as it's available to all levels of the service, this they wont budge on. That's a fair stance to take in my opinion.



If they want to save money on this then they have to rewrite their own rule book and not pump everything through their servers. Trust the content providers themselves to deliver that data up the pipe and connect users direct, thus reducing their own load and the need to make just about everything gold only, even non xbox live services.

I'd love it if they could get their heads around that but their stringent control of xbox live content so far has ensured high quality so I doubt they'd be willing to change their ways, unfortunately... I really hope they eventually prove me wrong.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
You make a good point Kevin. It true that as its people like me who fund the BBC that its online/on demand solution should be accessable on any divice for no exta fee.

There is another factor here.
How many 360 owners with silver membership and an internet connection dont have another way to access the I-Player and other On Demand solutions?

The whole point of have a preimum online service is to deliver features that you cant get for free so while on one hand it looks stupid they wont work with the BBC at the same time they still have people willing to pay that fee to get access to the extra features and probally dont see a need for the I-Player.

Sony on the other hand want to sell the PS3 as the device that does it all and as such need the I-Player.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Kevin Danaher
Associate Producer

45 62 1.4
Oh I totally agree with that. I love the quality standards of the Xbox Live network so I'm perfectly willing to pay for that level of service. Paying for things I otherwise don't get for free is unquestionable.

Paying for things that are actually free everywhere else seems a little much for me. I wouldn't pay the yearly fee just for the on demand services, if that's what they were offering I'd turn my nose up at it.
I've always wondered why Sky Player isn't available for silver members too, to be honest.

Sky are probably losing out on quite a few customers there thanks to Microsoft. People who'd be happy to get a Sky Go subscription but who aren't interested in Xbox Live Gold too. Why, in the long run, would any company narrow their potential user base?

To put it in a wordy analogy:
The 360 is a door to lots of content. Unfortunately for Microsoft it's a free standing door, with no walls around it. So if users have to pay for a key to that door to get some content they'll be unimpressed with the owner of the door and just walk around it instead.

In the end the users are more annoyed with Microsoft for blocking off an otherwise freely accessible route to a load of content and they're losing users who will happily find other ways to do it. Luckily the 360 stands up as a great games console because as much as I love my Xbox, Sony are making Microsoft look like amateurs as far as on demand media services go.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

John Donnelly
Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Sony are embeded in to the media through its music and film arms.
That is why they can make Microsoft look bad in some ways, but Microsoft also have pushed Sony to step up their game with the nature of Xbox Live.

I do question some of the decisions but if you look at the 360 as a games system then it makes sense.
Could Microsoft do things better. Sure.
But so could a large number of companies.

Even those doing well in this on-demand entertainment space are not imune to losing customers and making stupid mistakes

Posted:2 years ago

#9

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