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Television XBox (Games) Microsoft Games

Xbox TV Launch Planned Before End of Year 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the xbox-surf-channels-until-i-pass-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has confirmed plans to launch its TV service over Xbox Live by this holiday season. Negotiations with content partners are still underway, but options for live TV will include both news and sports. 'Microsoft believes the key differentiator between Xbox as a TV platform and the sea of failed competitors will be its voice and motion search tool. Utilizing the Kinect attachment, users will be able to navigate through content with voice commands. The search function will be powered by Bing.' The company also wants to tie Xbox Live's social experience into viewing video content. Steve Ballmer said, 'You should have any entertainment you want with all the people you care about, really simply and on any screen.'"
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Xbox TV Launch Planned Before End of Year

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  • All the TV shows I already don't watch because I'd rather play video games, now on my video game console. What a deal!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Now, when you're too stoned to play video games, you can lie back and watch TV on your console.
      Once they figure out how to make it deliver pizza to satisfy the munchies it will be perfect.

  • That many buzzwords and brand synergies concerns me greatly.
  • by rsborg (111459) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @01:35AM (#37432472) Homepage

    The key areas for almost all TV services is content, price and usability. Look at the success of Hulu in years past and the recent stumble of Netflix (somewhat attributable to both increased prices and the loss of the Starz contract which gave them Disney and Sony content). Look at the failure of divx (the single-use DVDs). Big Content two of these three key factors (they've learned since TiVo).

    So Ballmer says "Negotiations with content partners are still underway, but options for live TV will include both news and sports"... good luck man. Perhaps big media is so scared of Netflix and Apple that they'll give you some great combo of content... but if the content isn't there, or the price is too high, it's a lose.

    So they think Kinnect is somehow going to make their system more usable than say, an AppleTV or Roku? Novelty aside, that's just crazy talk. Poeple have been using remotes for decades now.

    • by calvert (1335203)
      Completely agree. A nifty interface (no matter how usable) does not make a TV service great--it's all about content. If they can't get big media hooked (at a reasonable price), no interface in the world will save them.
      • by ge7 (2194648)
        Yeah, we already saw Google TV [wikipedia.org] already. It was its own device too and didn't come with any agreements with content producers, it only displayed YouTube and tv channels own websites. It was quickly blocked and pretty much become completely unusable device.
        • by Lumpy (12016)

          That is google's fault. if they would have OSS'ed the platform and left it unlocked the "blocking" on website would have been bypassed in 30 seconds. all you needed to do was change the browser user agent string. in fact if they were smart they should have reported as Internet Explorer 9.0 running on Vista and that would have screwed the content providers hard.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        If they can't get big media hooked

        How relevant is "big media"? You enjoy watching re-runs of the same old shows, over and over? How many times can you watch Friends, or House?

        • How relevant is "big media"? You enjoy watching re-runs of the same old shows, over and over? How many times can you watch Friends, or House?

          Well, given all the screaming, handwringing, and threats of cancellation right here on Slashdot [slashdot.org] a few days ago when it was announced Starz was walking away from the negotiating table with Netflix... I'd say it's pretty darn relevant, even to this group.

        • by tepples (727027)

          How relevant is "big media"?

          That depends on how many people rely on Big Media to help them figure out whom to vote for [pineight.com].

        • by Mr_Silver (213637)

          How relevant is "big media"? You enjoy watching re-runs of the same old shows, over and over? How many times can you watch Friends, or House?

          Well, the Google TV team thought they didn't need "big media" and look what a rip-roaring success that product has been...

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      Negotiating local news/weather/traffic as well as professional and semi-pro (college) sports is the only way to make a dent in this market. Microsoft's problem is that they opened their collective mouth. If you are negotiating with local affiliates and NFL/NBA/NCAA/etc. then STFU until it is a done deal.

    • by cgenman (325138)

      The thing is, the Xbox is already a successful TV platform. Streaming Netflix took off in large part because of Xbox's living room integration. Hulu on Xbox... actually, I have no idea how Hulu is doing on Xbox. But Netflix is solidly there, Hulu is on, and ESPN streams to Xbox (if your cable carrier includes it, weirdly).

      This is all heresy, but Netflix and Hulu have displaced traditional premium cable for a large number of friends and colleagues. Why pay $100 a month for 50 channels of crap that never

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Yup. and Microsoft wont gain me back because of their $70.00 a year extortion to use any online apps. I bought a RoKu box and only pay the hulu plus fee.

      Hay MSFT, I'll consider yours if you drop the gold membership fee.

      • by MHolmesIV (253236)

        Microsoft doesn't want you as a customer. A customer is only useful if you can make money from them :)

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      I used to believe in the Xbox, but this whole Kinect push has really made me lose faith in MS. The console is at the end of the traditional five year console lifespan, and seriously showing its age (especially with the lack of a blu-ray drive). And instead of announcing a new generation console, all MS is doing is pushing that stupid Wii-knockoff motion control system that no one I've ever met gives a rat's ass about. Now they're even trying to pitch their non-game content with lame Kinect "enhancements," s

    • But can't you envision the awesome synergies? Now when you want to change channel all you have to do is shout "XBOX, hear me!" then stand up, raise your right hand for 10 seconds, wave it around a bit, do a squat and you will have changed channel! It's going to be soooo awesome.
  • Ooo. Voice commands! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @01:38AM (#37432482) Homepage Journal

    Yeah. That'll make for a killer app. After all, voice command has been promised for general computing for what, 20 years now?

    And as good as software like Dragon is, it's still never been good enough to include in a "standard" desktop from any vendor.

    Some people download TV. Some people PVR/Tivo it. Some settle for a standard cable/satellite feed.

    But I have never heard anyone complain that they couldn't use voice commands to control their viewing.

    I predict another epic fail...

    • But I have never heard anyone complain that they couldn't use voice commands to control their viewing.

      This. Microsoft has a long history of adding features no one ever asked for and ignoring the features they do.

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        That's funny. I don't know of anyone who has never yelled, "Where's the fucking remote." at least once or twice a week, if not hourly.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How does it tell the difference between your voice commands and someone else's voice commands?
      Could a commercial include voice commands in it's audio to take over your viewing?

      • Could a commercial include voice commands in it's audio to take over your viewing?

        Presumably it will already (be attempting to) cancel out the sound it's passing on to the TV.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Could a commercial include voice commands in it's audio to take over your viewing?

          Presumably it will already (be attempting to) cancel out the sound it's passing on to the TV.

          That's too bad... I think about 1/5 the star trek episodes revolved around "computer, activate self destruct", instant red ring of death on the xbox. I suppose all those pr0n actresses who think acting is saying "F me" over and over, would cause the xbox to change its user interface to "microsoft bob" mode or sign me up for multilevel marketing schemes or have me online internet e-vote for Obama...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      Uhhh...you mean included in a standard desktop like say... all versions of Windows 7 [microsoft.com] except Starter? While I haven't personally tried it I hear its quite nice.

      As for TFA if they can score football and basketball they have a shot, but if they don't get the content they are boned. I guess it will all come down to how much Ballmer is willing to lose to get a real toehold in the market, because as we saw with the original Xbox MSFT isn't above taking a loss if it'll get them a good foothold into a new market

      • by msobkow (48369)

        And it's so well advertised and integrated that this is the first I've heard of it after 6+ months of using 7 Ultimate.

        At least I learned something today. :)

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          You'd think they'd advertise such a cool feature, wouldn't you? Just shows what a shitty CEO Ballmer is. I found out about it by accident when my dad plugged in his mike and typed mike into the search box trying to find out where he needed to be to change the settings Up popped "voice recognition" and he started working with it. works about 50/50 with dad, but a lot of that is due to the meds he's on making his voice change timber. Some days he sounds normal, other days like Slappy White, and I think having

    • Yeah. That'll make for a killer app. After all, voice command has been promised for general computing for what, 20 years now?

      I personally wonder about all the technical issues. Like, a console is usually placed in the living room. And in the living room there's usually more than one person and constantly some noises around. Then there could also be several people talking simultaneously. Somehow the console has to filter out everything except the voice of the person controlling it, and that's going to be tricky and likely not work all that well in lively homes. And how about a situation where you're just watching something and som

      • by msobkow (48369)

        I can picture some TV show messing with people, too, by having a character shout "TV off!" :D

        • It can't happen if the TV show is playing from the Xbox. The Kinnect sensor knows what sounds are being output from the Xbox, so all such sounds are automatically cancelled out when listening for commands.
          Honestly, the voice commands I can use on Netflix and Zune are the best part of Kinnect. The motion controls work fine, but it's just awkward waving your hands around. The voice commands make it feel like the future has just arrived.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >>And how about a situation where you're just watching something and someone in the same room says a word that the console (mis-)recognizes?

        You have to say the word Xbox to get its attention. So it's "Xbox pause", for example. That said, it will indeed fuck up occasionally - the worst is when it things you said "Xbox fast forward", and it nicely spoilerizes the next 10 minutes for you while you yell at it to stop. This happened to me a few times (including it just flipping to the next chapter), and si

    • Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all.

    • Actually, I VERY much enjoy Netflix with Kinect voice-command. Enough so that i'll pony up for another year of LIVE for it until such time as we have some mature Kinect PC software for my HTPC.
    • by gubers33 (1302099)
      As software developer who has to interface with Dragon, it is not all the great.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    in soviet redmond, the tv watches YOU.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @03:33AM (#37432690)

    Utilizing the Kinect attachment, users will be able to navigate through content with voice commands.

    Me: "HalTV, can you hear me?"

    HalTV: "Yes, I can hear you, Kid."

    Me: "Could you please select something intelligent from the program offerings for me to watch?"

    HalTV: "I'm sorry, Kid. I'm afraid I can't do that . . . the program offerings seems to be the result of human error . . . "

  • The Next Xbox. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EnsilZah (575600) <.moc.liamG. .ta. .haZlisnE.> on Sunday September 18, 2011 @04:20AM (#37432782)

    I'm getting the feeling the next Xbox will just be a dumb Kinect terminal that connects to an OnLive-like service, or potentially an outright buyout of OnLive itself.

    They can put out a box for $50, they get to do that whole cloud thing they like so much, all running on their own servers, collecting subscription fees, no need to give those pesky users access to the game data files, no need to compete with Sony on who has the most powerful hardware or lose face by licensing their optical media format.

    And if the country you're in doesn't have Microsoft infrastructure you're probably all dirty pirates anyway and not worth bothering with, right?

    Personally I wouldn't like this to happen one bit, but it seems to make a lot of sense to me from Microsoft's point of view.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday September 18, 2011 @06:59AM (#37433120) Homepage Journal

      I'm getting the feeling the next Xbox will just be a dumb Kinect terminal that connects to an OnLive-like service, or potentially an outright buyout of OnLive itself.

      Good luck getting ISPs to cooperate. They're having enough trouble with 720p24 Netflix as it is, and that's pre-encoded and buffered. Imagine what it'll take to get 1080p60 video with low latency over home users' last mile, especially in rural areas where the Xbox 360 is the only thing kids have to do after farm chores.

    • OnLive has a built in latency problem that is impossible to solve, which would be universally rejected by the Xbox 360's user base of fast-action gamers.
    • OnLive takes SERIOUS uninterrupted bandwidth. I couldnt even get it to start up until I replaced my WRT54g Router (which was capping at 5Mb/s) and went Docsis 3.0 and a Netgear WNDR3700.
  • XBMC4XBOX (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.xbmc4xbox.org/

    Lets me watch all the TV I want on my XBox...

  • If they focus on live sports with video chat for virtual game parties they could have a win. It's an under served market in this space - likely because of existing contracts of course but if it could be done... Imagine watching favorite sports teams with friends abroad or big game face-offs between rivals and being able to say "eat it" to your rival fans.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      The problem with showing sports would be the cost. You can already get online access to the games from MLB.tv and the like, but it costs around $150 per season. Just supplying the big four would cost $50/month, unless Microsoft manages to extract a sweetheart deal from the NFL, MLB, and other TLAs. And that doesn't include the postseasons!

      Add in the cost of all the non-sport programming, and you're probably looking at ~$80, at which point you might as well just pay for cable or satellite.

  • It's called the Windows Media Center extender. Sadly, MS don't seem to be that interested in WMC which is a shame. It's one of their better products.
  • Your watchers want to know whether you are watching them, to twist a phrase.

    "Microsoft believes the key differentiator between Xbox as a TV platform and the sea of failed competitors will be its voice and motion search tool. Utilizing the Kinect attachment, users will be able to be identified by number and state of activity, providing valuable feedback to the content providers and their customers, the advertisers." Fixed that for you.

    Bonus if they build profiles of individuals and estimate ages by corre

  • by sunfly (1248694) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:02AM (#37433920)

    The fact that TV will soon stream over the internet is too obvious, many companies are vying to be first mover. But the complete ecosystem is still missing, preventing mass adoption.

    Interface - We use an old Dell re-purposed to drive our HDTV, but the masses will not want to use a wireless keyboard and mouse to find something to watch. Someone will have to get a simple to use interface going that you can use with a simple remote from your couch. There have been several attempts, like Boxee, but none are really ready for prime time. btw we cancelled our Netflix because they aped the interface, not the price increase.

    Interface Push vs. Pull - Many people watch tv to sit and unwind, and do not want to constantly select content. Imagine the dentist office constantly having to select something to watch off the food network. On demand is wonderful when you really do want to watch something specific. I believe the internet interface of the future will have both, some channels you can just "tune" to and they stream, and then an on demand interface to watch content from those same channels. Give the power to choose to the users.

    Content Sports - I only follow a couple local teams, but many want to follow more. Our local teams are usually playing on a network channel that my real antenna can pick up. But many people want to follow a college or pro team from a different part of the country, and they are not on local over the air channels. Some people like ESPN, and/or want to watch Monday Night football. For this demographic cable is the only way to follow what they want.

    Content Original - HBO makes original content just to push their premium channels, and soon original content will soon start showing up on internet only channels not available to Cable companies. This will help drive adoption. Who will be first?

    Content Ala Cart - Price is what is driving us cable cutters today, but could also drive mass adoption. To do so will require the provider to choose what "channels" they subscribe to. Discovery channel is not going to take a price cut simply because it streams over the internet, and they should not have to. I would gladly pay for Discovery, Science, Animal Planet, HGTV, etc., but not $60 a month to include all the stuff I don't watch. In other words the content providers that are getting watched will get paid, and the ones not getting watched will not.

    Content Movies - As a casual movie fan that doesn't watch everything that comes out, the older selection on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu is enough. Many people want more. Apple (and Amazon?) has a lot of this covered through rentals (I hear). Get a nice internet interface to stream HBO, and then a way to rent a huge selection of movies, and everyone wins. This should also include a ton of Indy content.

    Kinect as remote?- As someone that owns a Kinect, and loves it, I'm not sure this would make a great remote. You have to be right in front of it for it to track you correctly, so across a big room, to the side of a small room, etc. and it doesn't work. Voice? So now we have to watch what we say or the channel changes?

    Complete System - The internet video distribution is a lot like music before iTunes, with people working on different parts of the whole, but nobody has put together a complete system. The company that can make an interface anyone from a 5 yo kid, to a 95 yo grandad can use from their couch, with a great selection of content, with original content, with sports, with ala cart pricing will win! The problem is... simple is hard to do.

    • i really do wish hulu or netflix would pick-up hbo and/or shotime as a partner, with an additional but fair price increase, say $5-7. it's $14.99 thru cable but that quality is better, i can record it(if only at lower dvd res), etc., so a balance must be struck. i think that is part of the problem. these companies expect the same pricing when they take away more consumer abilities. if i can no longer record to a permanent copy, then you must charge less. they think just because they found a new (at the time
    • by vlm (69642)

      Interface - We use an old Dell re-purposed to drive our HDTV, but the masses will not want to use a wireless keyboard and mouse to find something to watch.

      My mythtv frontends use IR keyboard/mice, because my infrared learning remote control works perfectly with them.

      I standardized on mythtv before the wii was released, but I hear that relative "noobs" swear by using a wiimote with mythtv. A wiimote is just another bluetooth gadget.

      The other part is that times change. If you told my semi-technophobe sister in law that most of the 1st worlds "socializing time" would be carried out by typing on a website using a smartphone that costs more per month than my ele

  • so will there be mirroring fees or outlet fees to get less channels that you will get that adding a full box or cable card will get you?

    Also this will kill the download caps as well. MS should try to make a cable card powered box with the same UI as ATT U-Verse.

    You can add a xbox to ATT U-Verse but then like cable card there are lot's of BS fees like
    * Purchase of $99 Xbox kit required. For existing U-verse TV members, additional $55 installation charge will apply. Requires subscription to U-verse TV with at

  • Yeah because I really want to share my obsession with desperate housewives with all my friends. Even better my xbox live friends.

  • I watch Netflix and Hulu + using my Xbox+Kinect with a DSL link, which saves a lot of money compared to Comcast, the cable TV monopoly in my area, which I used to use until six months ago or so. My observations:

    1. The Kinect is a detriment to my TV watching experience, not a benefit. About once every 2 or 3 nights, the Xbox will start fast-forwarding or fast-rewinding for no apparent reason. The Kinect software did it, either because my wife or I said something it interpreted as a command, or because
    • by MHolmesIV (253236)

      So you rotate the kinect completely out of position, invalidating the audio calibration (which measures the audio reflection characteristics of your room), and then complain that the echo cancellation doesn't work perfectly? Did you even read the text that said you need to rerun calibration if you move the kinect or your speakers?

  • 'You should have any entertainment you want with all the people you care about, really simply and on any screen.'

    Except Blu-ray

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