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Xbox To Get Live TV and Massive VOD Update 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the consoles-are-eating-the-rest-of-my-devices dept.
CNETNate writes "It's a global first for Microsoft, and massive news for Xbox owners. Redmond and the largest pay TV service in the UK — Sky, owned in part by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp — has tied a deal that brings simulcast TV, sports, entertainment shows, pay-per-view movies and back catalogue television to the Xbox 360. It's an entirely streamed service, offering no download-to-own content, and partly rivals the BBC iPlayer, which is available on UK PlayStation consoles and the Nintendo Wii. The service will go live later in the year at no cost to existing subscribers, and screenshots show it fits in seamlessly with the Xbox Live interface."
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Xbox To Get Live TV and Massive VOD Update

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Launching soon, live goatse [goatse.fr] TV channel, and goatse on "demand".

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hate the commercials on goatse TV

  • Is this UK only? Seems that way from the articles, but the summary doesn't mention anything. If it is, that's good news for them, but kinda useless for the rest of us.
    • Re:Availability? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jools33 (252092) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:43AM (#28135767)

      Sky currently only operate in the UK - you can't buy SKY tv overseas - unless you have a UK based bank account - so I wonder if this means sky are becoming more global - or if this really is just content for the UK market only...and will Sony respond by cutting a deal with Viacom?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by rwjyoung (674310)
        Not strictly true, we needed a UK address for Sky to send there junk mail to but we paid with a credit card and viewed Sky TV in Switzerland for a couple of years. There is a company [insatinternational.com] who will install the sky satellite dish and box with card all over Europe, but I am not sure how legit they are or if they affiliated with Sky in any way (my guess is no)
      • Since when is Rep of Ireland in the UK?

        • by jools33 (252092)

          Since when is Rep of Ireland in the UK?

          OK my appologies - being Welsh myself I'm not exactly pro-uk either...

          • OK my appologies - being Welsh myself I'm not exactly pro-uk either...

            But like the rest of your countrymen, you're more than happy to accept money from Westminster to keep your country running.

        • You're all useless drunkards, why should we differentiate over here...I know because the movies told me so. ;P
        • by Xaoswolf (524554)
          I would say it started in 1169, and ended with the final war in 1603...

          http://wiki.answers.com/Q/In_what_year_did_England_take_over_Ireland

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by tychver (1293788)
        Sky is just one of many brand names for News Corporation's broadcasting services. New Zealand has Sky, Germany has Premiere and Australia Foxtel.
      • by jgalty (1549935)
        Man i wish Canada would get some love but the damn crtc has to ruin everything. Barrie Web Hosting [wiredtogether.ca]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      From the article "Millions of Xbox 360 owners in Britain and Ireland" Pretty sure this means it's just us in the UK. Bare in mind that the US only has had access to netflix for quite a while now. Personally I'm more interested in the pricing of this service, the post says "no cost to existing subscribers" but I can't find any evidence of this anywhere. As an existing subscriber I think it should be free but I doubt it will go that way.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Millions of Xbox 360 owners in Britain and Ireland" Pretty sure this means it's just us in the UK

        A bit of news for ya buddy... Ireland became independant in 1922!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ciggy (692030)
          A bit of news for you...only the Republic of Ireland (Eire) became independent in 1922

          UK is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" in full.

          So at a guess, "Britain and Ireland" can either mean "UK and Eire" (interpreting Ireland as "the whole of Ireland, Northern & Republic") or UK (interpreting "Ireland" as "Northern Ireland"); Perhaps we should ask Reuters.
          • Sky provides Satellite Tv to the Republic of Ireland as well as the UK. It's largely the same service with the addition of RTE1 and RTE2 (broadcast encrypted) into the bundle (these are terrestrial channels in Eire) There was a Sky News Ireland but thats now a few minutes of news each day.

            It's a bit tricky to guess which channels would be available to both UK and the Republic of Ireland, because some channels belong to Sky and some are only carried by the same satellites. I would guess bbc, itv channel4 and

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by LordSnooty (853791)
      now you know how I feel when I wade through 100 articles about how Sen. Bob (CA (R)) has gained support for the lobbyists and tacked an amendment onto Prop 61 of the REALLYWELLACRONYMED Bill in the State Senate Legislature Tuesday
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      Is this UK only? Seems that way from the articles, but the summary doesn't mention anything. If it is, that's good news for them, but kinda useless for the rest of us.

      I don't believe this thing will cross the Channel any time soon. Beyond the strange idea of "connect your XBox to your TV to watch TV" (huh ?), all French ISPs already offer this as part as their standard plan. And you need Internet access to use the XBox thing. So it's kind of pointless (unless you're *really* fond of the XBox interface). Especially since it'll presumably be streaming from outside the ISP's network instead of (currently) from its own servers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you take all the evil US megacorps and add them together, that's the kind of evil we have in Sky.

    Nothing good can come from this. Xbox owners beware. :-(

  • by viyh (620825)
    My computer can do the same thing already!
  • Xbox is a gaming console first announced 2000, discontinued 2005-2006... Why does everybody call Xbox360 for Xbox?

    It's a heck to find information about the regular xbox theese days... Everything called just "xbox" is the new one...

    • Because most people aren't as pedantic as the typical Slashdot reader.

      • by Sloppy (14984)

        In this case, it matters, though. When a distinction is vitally important to the very subject at hand (watching video) I don't think it's pedantry.

        You can run a MythTV frontend on an Xbox. (Though it's a bit underpowered so you need to stay low-res.) The Xbox 360 is not yet as functional.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Wholeheartedly agreed. we pedants should make an organized drive to tag all stories about the Xbox 360 with "!Xbox Xbox360". I'm dismayed but not surprised that the public at large will do this; I'm saddened by the fact that the Slashdot community will, because it suggests to me that lots of the people commenting in games aren't nerds, they're just gamers. That doesn't make them better or worse people in any way, but it's Slashdot's nerdliness that makes it special.

    • I remember back in the day it was worse. Anything videogame related back in the day was called "Nintendo," by the uncool adults in my life.

      Mom:"You've been playing too much nintendo dear, it's time for bed"
      Me: "I'm not playing any nintendo, this is a sega genesis. I haven't touched the NES at all today."
      Mom:" I can SEE you playing nintendo RIGHT NOW!"
      Me: "Gosh darnit mom! You're so unfair! You don't know anything! I wish I was dead!"

      I think she may have referred to the PS1 as nintendo as well. Parents

  • by tero (39203) on Friday May 29, 2009 @04:09AM (#28135917)

    From TFA: "Millions of Xbox 360 owners in Britain and Ireland will be able to watch live programing such as Premier League soccer and movies following a deal with pay-TV group BSkyB"

    That's not very "global" to me - what about the millions of Xbox users outside UK who'd also want to pay and see Premier League and other stuff on their Xbox? And yeah, that was rhetorical question, I know we're hosed until the "global" train arrives on our little local station.

    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Friday May 29, 2009 @04:56AM (#28136117)
      What about the billions of computer users outside the US that would like access to Netflix, Hulu and every other VoD solution that seems to be geographically limited...?

      In short - the reason you can't have the Sky content is the same reason we can't have Hulu content, and that is that Sky doesn't have the distribution license outside of its particular viewership area. Premier League TV rights are a huge huge business...
      • by tero (39203)

        Sure, I understand that.
        I'm just tired of all these "global" announcements that really affect a tiny fraction of global users. Also very tired of all the arcane old licensing deals...

        The Premier League offering in my country is very crappy and very limited - and the commentators are even crappier, the packaging sucks and it's really freaking expensive channel to get for the value you're getting - just for once, it would be so cool to be able to get the freedom to choose whatever value proposition you like,

        • You misunderstood the summary then - its not a global announcement, its a global first. As in Microsoft hasn't done this before anywhere.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        How about the Trillions of US people that want to watch the netflix they PAY FOR without paying a "fee" to microsoft as well?

        Jeebus, the Xbox live system is the largest scam I have ever seen. they snag $60.00 a year out of every owner because they cripple the boxes online capabilities if you dont.

        Yes I love my Xbox360, no I dont think that having to have a "gold" account is fair for netflix or basic online play. Make me pay for ranked and the big events as well as some value added stuff.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          Actually, it's more like $40 [amazon.com], but the point is taken. Netflix should be open to silver members, not just gold. Still, I gladly pay the $40 each year for Live. Live is still by far the best and most consistent online service out there for gaming (for the console anyway). PSN and Nintendo Online, by contrast, are all over the map.
        • by sricetx (806767)
          So don't pay a yearly fee to Microsoft to watch Netflix then. Buy MediaMall's Playon server for a one-time $40 fee and stream Netflix, Hulu, CBS, etc. content to the xbox. It's windows-only, but it does run fine in a VBOX Windows XP virtual machine on a linux host. To hell with Xbox Live. Who needs it?
        • There's a reason we Playstation users have always said the PS3 is cheaper in the long term.

          Most of these features already exist on the PS3 as well, although admittedly not Netflix.

      • When is someone going to figure this out? Suppose Media Company X has some recorded shows and live sports coverage they'd like to put online, and make a profit from it. They want to make it available globally, but advertisers are only interested in targeting specific regions.

        The solution is to allow any website or company to broadcast this content to any end user for a fee, on a per-minute or per-segment basis. The content will have programmed commercial breaks which the broadcasting website can use any way

        • When is someone going to figure this out? Suppose Media Company X has some recorded shows and live sports coverage they'd like to put online, and make a profit from it. They want to make it available globally, but advertisers are only interested in targeting specific regions.

          The solution is to .... *snip*.

          Your solution does not take into account that that Media company may not own the rights to distribute outside its own territory, especially when it comes to sporting events. Distribution rights are hot potatoes, and change hands for huge amounts of money.

    • by Inda (580031)
      Judging from the Sopcast steams I watch, every other country in the world gets all English Premier League matches free. Sky and the Premier League wont show all matches in the UK because they think it'll reduce gate money.
      • by johnsie (1158363)
        Most UK isp's are blocking sopcast, so in fact you're getting an access that many people in the UK don't even have. I personally have to go to the pub to watch some sports events, but someone in an another country can watch it on sopcast.
    • by jools33 (252092)

      Skys content - particularly the sport is bound up with a ton of licensing restrictions - Sports tv rights are still bound by licensing deals that arose in the 1980s - and don't seem to be changing anytime soon. I currently live in Sweden - if you wanna watch a game of rugby in Sweden on TV - you basically have 3 choices:

      1) Buy a big satellite dish and put it in your back yard... (not an option for me - I live in an appartment that frowns on big dishes...
      2) Find a dodgy internet stream - quality is pretty c

    • by cb95amc (99589)

      I can't imagine the various broadcasters around the globe that licence the Premier League from Sky being too happy with them allowing the deal with Microsoft to expand globally...Would have thought there would some fairly detailed contract terms around certain broadcasters having exclusivity on the Premier League rights in their country.

    • by johnsie (1158363)
      The problem is that companies are creating artificial borders on what should be a World Wide Web. This should not be allowed to happen.
    • So...I wonder when everyone will remember that Canada still exists. Nice of the US to offer all those wonderful Xbox services. Nice of the UK to get this wonderful little service too. Hulu, Netflix, etc. Hell, even Apple and Itunes shaft us on a continual basis.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Just when we had solved the "getting first run of some great new BBC show years before everyone else" problem with good old Pirate Bay, now we have a new reason to be jealous of the Brits.

      You guys had better be careful. You keep getting stuff like this and people will begin to resent you as much as the Americans.

  • So, in other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 29, 2009 @04:20AM (#28135957)

    You can now use an Xbox 360 as a really expensive, loud, and fragile cable box? Woohoo!

    • Umm most HD cable boxes run for at least $200 dollars, the XBox is not much more expensive. I know this is anecdotal, but I've had to replace my DirectTV box once (and had to restart my contract), and never had any problems with my XBox.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cheeko (165493)

        Indeed most of the motorola boxes Comcast uses are in fact pricey, fragile pieces of crap with a garbage in house OS Comcast uses to replace the Moto OS.

        So the comparison is really around volume, and yeah the 360 is louder, but I'll take that given the chance to watch Sky or other things my cable box doesn't give me.

        Most cable companies subsidize the cable boxes, renting them to customers as a fee. If I could own one and buy one of better quality than the ones the cable companies provide I'd do that in a s

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have to admit, even thought I am not a fan of microsoft corporation, they did get it right with the 360. It's a fantastic console. Even though I hate Windows and other microsoft software, I have to commend them for the 360.

    And although not related to the 360, I find their mice and keyboards fantastic also. The intellimouse 1.1 I think is the best mouse I have ever had...

    Maybe they should just quit software and move to hardware only because that seems to be a strength of theirs (except the Zune...)

    cue tro

  • Whats the catch? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm waiting for more details before I start even considering this a good idea; my monies on it requiring a Sky Broadband ADSL connection...

  • So for all the folks who can't watch the TV because the XBox is plugged into it, now have a slution. They can watch the TV through the XBox, with an added layer of DRM, customer profiling and what have you added in, I have no doubt.

    Can't really see this one changing the world, somehow...

    • Typical Sky and Xbox customers probably dont care or dont understand the issues.

      They will lap this up in droves till they realise they are now spending 100quid/month on the combined Sky/MS Live/Broadband services, and still have no more functionality than a freeview PVR.

      • by 91degrees (207121)
        People will only care if it stops them doing what they want to do. I suspect this isn't going to.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Can't really see this one changing the world, somehow...

      Then wake up because more IP streaming means less power in the hands of traditional broadcasters.

      • Then wake up because more IP streaming means less power in the hands of traditional broadcasters.

        Only if people use the service - and I have difficulty imagining that happening in this particular case, Drinky.

        Let's face it, most XBox owners who want Sky probably already get it. I can't see many folks subscribing to this service just so they can get Sky over their XBox instead of direct from cable or satellite.

        And for that matter, we're only talking about streaming Sky, so the only broadcaster I can se

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I can see how, in general, the trend to streamed video on demand is going to shake things up, but I really don't see what either side hopes to achieve with this specific exercise.

          Microsoft hopes to extend their reach and gain experience. Sky hopes to maintain relevance and gain experience.

          • Microsoft hopes to extend their reach and gain experience. Sky hopes to maintain relevance and gain experience.

            mmm... I rather suspect they're going to be disappointed in this instance.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Microsoft doesn't care if it behaves efficiently so long as its plans eventually come to fruition. On the other hand, getting boned is pretty much par for the course when you "partner" with Microsoft, so...

  • There's no way that "at no cost to existing subscribers" means this is going to be free to use; why would Sky undercut themselves?

    I think it means that you won't have to pay anything to access the service (unlike, say, PlayTV which requires an outlay for the kit). Same as the downloadable films; any Live user can browse the service without having to pay, but it costs to actually download them.

    I suppose it's too much to ask that MS sort out the constant.......... pauses........... when......... trying......

  • Simulcast? Really? I'm a person that believes that speech evolves and there's a natural progression in language... but that doesn't excuse terrible marketing words. This neither flows off the tongue nor is intuitive. I mean, how do you even say it? Sim you'll cast? Sy mule cast? Sim ool cast? And what does it mean? Simulated broadcasting?

    I know this is listed in some online dictionaries (I just checked), but really, words really ought to be meaningful before being accepted as "language."

    • Simultaneous broadcast? Seemed pretty intuitive to me...

    • by _Shad0w_ (127912)
      It's in the OED with the earliest cited usage dated from 1948:

      1948 Amer. N. & Q. May 26/2 To simulcast, to broadcast by radio and television simultaneously. 1948 N.Y. Herald Tribune 15 June 16/6 A press agent at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia has rather timorously launched the verb 'simulcast' into the uneasy seas of the English language.

      See, now you even know who to blame.

    • by Novotny (718987)
      Wish I had mods points atm, that's not a troll at all. It's a very good point. Marketing people are always making up stupid words these days.
  • by Inda (580031)
    And Sky and MS will probably want a week's wages to watch a half-hour programme.

    Why do the likes of Sky, Virgin and the other online providers think I'll spend a fiver on a streamed, low quality DVD, when I can get the same content in the bargin bin in Tescos? The same content that I can lend, resell, rip, ...
    • by Cheeko (165493)

      It says in the article that usage will be covered by the cost of a regular Live Membership. So $50/year or whatever, but the vast majority of 360 users pay that already.

  • by Chris Tucker (302549) on Friday May 29, 2009 @05:10AM (#28136193) Homepage

    "It's an entirely streamed service, offering no download-to-own content"

    Anyone remember the first series of The IT Crowd, streamed online only to the UK, WMV DRMed up one side and down the other. And on The Pirate Bay as a .avi file within minutes after each streamed episode was over?

    Good times, good times!

    Really, why do they bother? The stream will be intercepted somewhere inside the XBox, or fed from the XBox into a digital recorder or computer, converted to .avi and upped to TPB. all automatically.

    Assuming, of course, the programming is worth it and is unavailable elsewhere.

    • by Gulthek (12570)

      Definitely. The media companies just don't seem to understand one crucial fact: if we can see or hear it, we can record it.

      That's it. There's absolutely no way around that fact. Even if the "solution" ultimately turns out to be an HD camera with a feed from the output of the sound system, that quality will be good enough for people to pirate it if they want to. If there is no piracy of the content, no one cares.

    • by MrNemesis (587188)

      Assuming, of course, the programming is worth it and is unavailable elsewhere.

      Your comment made me think of today's Daily Mash :)

      SEVEN million people in the UK are illegally downloading the sort of music and films you wouldn't pay for even as you heard the ominous click of a gun being cocked.
      According to the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property, illegal downloaders are accessing material that could be worth up to £120bn a year if it was any good.

      http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/arts-%2 [thedailymash.co.uk]

      • Really! It's like pirating the Saturday night SciFi Original Movies.

        <ComicBookGuy>"Check it out! First generation TV rip of 'Mansquito'. NO COMMERCIALS!"</ComicBookGuy>

    • by Trojan35 (910785)

      Because most Xbox's still have the craptastic 20GB HD. Rolling out saving support is additional legal/engineering work and would be a nightmare on a system that probably has less than 3gb free anyways. They'd rather have their customers downloading demos and buying games than watching streaming TV.

    • Well, it's contractual obligations. Everyone can say "but it was DRMed, someone cracked it." Do you think Microsoft really WANT DRM? Or Apple? No, they do it so they can license the distribution of other people's content, people that wouldn't license it unless it is "protected." The whole thing is a giant waste of time, but it looks good on paper.
  • Price..? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bhunachchicken (834243) on Friday May 29, 2009 @05:20AM (#28136231) Homepage

    Any mention of the price anywhere? Because if I need to sign up to Sky to use this service, then it's not really solving anything. Personally I want access to a massive library of films and TV shows to watch on a pay-per-play basis, without any ties.

    The thing that is still stunning me is that you'd think Sony, being the huge entertainment conglomerate that it is, would've been offering this already with the PS3. Yes; I know that you can rent movies from the Playstation Network, but there are two major flaws with that service,

    1) It's not available outside of the US (I mean, why? Seriously, why? Is it European law or something?!)
    2) It's too expensive.

    I'm sure they'll do it eventually, but to be honest you'd be hard pressed to believe we're living in the 21st century sometimes...

    • The thing that is still stunning me is that you'd think Sony, being the huge entertainment conglomerate that it is, would've been offering this already with the PS3.

      RTFS much?

      ...rivals the BBC iPlayer, which is available on UK PlayStation consoles...

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Price guide for SkyPlayer, which the service will be based upon:

      http://corporate.sky.com/documents/pdf/press_releases/SkyPlayerTV [sky.com]

      If you want sport (particularly football) you'd need the £26 package I guess

    • by rAiNsT0rm (877553)

      E3 this year, my prediction is that one of them will offer something like this service in the U.S. it may just be DVR/ATSC tuner, it may be something more full-blown like this... but one of the big two will do it and it will be the sales generator.

  • I just hope there'll be some way to get setanta sports on this.

    How can man live without old Celtic matches and the few bits of GAA they show?

    • Wait, this isn't a troll! I really do love watching old Celtic matches and the GAA!

      I went up to Ruislip last weekend just to watch Galway destroy London.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wow, something is actually coming to Europe before the US? *Admires the winged swine passing by the window*

    Seriously though, I find it extremely amusing that every USian commenting on this thread is up in arms about that. If you had any idea how many cool services don't make it past your borders because of stupid licensing agreements... Hulu, Pandora, Rhapsody, Amazon MP3 (some of them did make it to the UK, but not Ireland or the rest of Europe)

    • And of course, you can get Netflix streaming on the Xbox in the US.

      Far more content than Sky will be providing, for a fraction of the price..

  • Neither Sky not Microsoft have ever given away for free what they could charge people for.
  • I am pretty sure this will be based on that stupid Microsoft iptv middleware named Microsoft Mediaroom(formerly known as Microsoft TV IPTV edition) witch is already ported to Xbox360. Mediaroom is full of DRM, not based on OpenIPTV Forum standards, doesn't scale well(while it is based on multicast, it uses unicast heavily) and is a real PITA for developers( you have three choices to develop apps on the platform: XHTML/JS/CSS running on Tasman rendering engine, with was the renderer used in IE for Mac witch
  • Really? (Score:2, Funny)

    by MadKatAlpha (1393157)
    I can't believe that this has not been tagged as skynet yet.
    • by Tokerat (150341)

      I can't believe that this has not been tagged as skynet yet.

      That's because the first thing an X-Box would do if it became self-aware is commit suicide.

  • They've been promising IPTV support for a while, I'm surprised they actually implemented it somewhere. Now how about releasing for everyone cursed to use Microsoft's IPTV software?
  • I was watching Channel4 news just a moment ago and they mentioned the BBC's Canvas platform [bbc.co.uk] that rivals this setup. The interesting thing though - they mentioned open source. On the tele! Wow.

    Ahem, it might not be open source, but it is an open standard, they specifically mentioned it being used for BC and ITV programmes, but also for any content provider - like newspapers or, well anyone. This is not the same as the Project Kangaroo that would broadcast programmes from the 3 main UK broadcasters, this is a

  • Is there any improvement in the area of support for subtexts in streaming media?

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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