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Microsoft To Bring Cable TV To 360 133

Posted by timothy
from the aggregation-and-disaggregation-in-one dept.
iONiUM writes with a CNET article outlining the next step in Microsoft's plans for cable television, which he says "seems like yet another step forward in killing traditional cable companies." From the article: "[Microsoft] announced this morning that nearly 40 television content providers — including Comcast, Verizon, and HBO in the United States — will roll out programming over Xbox Live. The company also has deals lined up with providers in the U.K., Spain, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Italy."
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Microsoft To Bring Cable TV To 360

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @09:20AM (#37625506)

    and you may have to pay a outlet fee as well?

    • by mark-t (151149)
      It is almost certain that any third party TV over IP will contribute to your download cap.
      • The cable companies know that bandwidth caps are their best defense against people canceling cable TV. If they essentially say the Xbox (or Netflix, or whatever) plan is limited, but cable TV is "unlimited", then they still have a competitive edge they can try to wield.

        What consumers really need is real, effective choice in who their ISP is. Competition is the key to delivering value.

        As long as Comcast, et al., have monopoly power to wield, prices are going to be suspended artificially high and consumers wi

        • The cable companies know that bandwidth caps are their best defense against people canceling cable TV. If they essentially say the Xbox (or Netflix, or whatever) plan is limited, but cable TV is "unlimited", then they still have a competitive edge they can try to wield.

          But cable TV is unlimited, to all practical intents and purposes -- it is a broadcast medium, so the bandwidth cost is unrelated to the number of users.

          The internet, however, is a unicast medium, so every new user takes up more bandwidth.

          Microsoft aren't performing a public service, they're simply trying to monopolise. Microsoft have never had a big history of efficiency either. They almost singlehandedly handed a desktop monopoly to inefficient x86 chips, which led to battery life problems when the era o

          • by mark-t (151149)

            The internet, however, is a unicast medium, so every new user takes up more bandwidth.

            This is generally true at present, certainly, but it does not have to be the case. IPv4 has multicasting support, although because it was not originally part of the IPv4 design, its adoption rate has always been a bit sketchy. IPv6, however, supported multicasting right out of the box, so I would expect that multicasting support would be more broadly supported under that stack.

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      I know the ATT uVerse version of this for XBox was an expensive addition. I don't know anyone that did it.

      But assuming it's free for comcast or verizon users, the one thing this isn't, is a cord-cutting or cost saving move against your cable company... as was pointed out in a number of articles earlier in the week. It's another widget to try to keep you on board, just like their awful dvrs.

      I'm not sure what the whole "seems like yet another step forward in killing traditional cable companies" thing
  • Killing? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimbleNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday October 06, 2011 @09:28AM (#37625598)

    seems like yet another step forward in killing traditional cable companies

    Yet these same cable companies are the ones most likely providing you internet access. It's evolution, nothing more.

    • by cornface (900179)

      It really is kind of ridiculous to say it is another step in killing traditional cable companies and then listing Comcast as one of the companies that is on board.

      • The pricing isn't listed but if Comcast is on board I expect it to more expensive than regular cable. For years the cable companies have wanted to offer a-la-carte channels however they would charge much more than bundled channels. They have been stopped by a number of factors like technology, regulation, etc. This would effective bypass all of that.
        • by sporkboy (22212)

          As far as I know it's not an "instead of" type thing. The xfinitytv.com site that they have now is basically an online video on demand service for existing subscribers. Previously it was only accessible via a computer, so for those of us without their rental cable boxes (go TiVo!) this is the first chance to have easy access to their VoD solution on the TV without running HDMI to a computer.

          Nothing at all about killing cable, more features for subscribers.

  • Oh, boy, this is comedy gold:

    If Microsoft made TV...

    When you change channels, you will occasionally get an hourglass for a few seconds, for no apparent reason.

    Every time there's a change to the channel line-up, you'll have to download a 300 MB update, wait ten minutes for it to install, and then restart your TV.

    Instead of the NTSC color bars, during "technical difficulties" they will show a blue screen with white text.

    Every year they'll change what all the buttons on the remote do. Next year volume up/down

    • by Pope (17780)

      When you change channels, you will occasionally get an hourglass for a few seconds, for no apparent reason.

      Sounds like just about every digital cable box I've seen! :D

      Could be worse, though. My parents have digital cable through Rogers here in Ontario, Canada. The remote has a Guide button that would normally take you to the channel guide with all the program listings and a small channel preview area. Now with the latest boxes, it instead takes you to some shitty Rogers screen where you can go to PPV movies, Games, etc. and to get to the frggin' channel guide you have to push the Guide button a second time. Ther

      • by Tsingi (870990)
        Rogers sucks.

        You rarely hear opinions that disagree with that sentiment. The only thing Rogers has going for it is that it isn't Bell.

        When they first started delivering internet, I had a dedicated IP, nice. When they switched me to DHCP (with no notice) I was told by a help desk flunky that you can't get on the internet with Linux. I eventually learned that I had lost the dedicated IP.

        Then they dropped the news server.

        Now I have a cap.

        They do packet inspection and throttle services.

        I think those last t

        • by mrops (927562)

          Ever thought going DSL, maybe Teksavvy or Acanac!!!!

          A lot of places u can get 25mbos down 7mbps up, at least I do.

          • except teksavvy cable is horseshit right now. just look at their forums and all the complaints. yes people are leaving them to go to rogers... Insane right... but I am even contemplating it myself. I am getting 1.5Mbps down during the evening when it is suppose to be a 24Mbps connection, they even did a POI upgrade last week that doubled capacity but they still had to do a stop sale in my area.
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      More like comedy tin.

      Microsoft has made TV for 7 years now, and none of your predictions/joke have come to pass. Windows Media Center was released in 2004.
    • by Merk42 (1906718)

      If Apple made TV:
      There would only be one channel, because, "why would you want to change it"?

      If Linux made TV:
      Everything would look like low budget cable access shows.

      • Hey, who needs expensive NCIS when we've got "Navy Police" for free?

        They cancelled "Firefly"? Come and watch "Glowbug" instead!

        No more Stargate SG1? Why not try "Freegate SG2"?

        (Don't get me wrong -- I love Linux, just the Linux gaming scene is a bit of a joke....)

    • Oh, boy, this is comedy gold:

      If Microsoft made TV...

      When you change channels, you will occasionally get an hourglass for a few seconds, for no apparent reason.

      Every time there's a change to the channel line-up, you'll have to download a 300 MB update, wait ten minutes for it to install, and then restart your TV.

      Instead of the NTSC color bars, during "technical difficulties" they will show a blue screen with white text.

      Every year they'll change what all the buttons on the remote do. Next year volume up/down will be mapped to numbers 2 and 7.

      "Hi there! It looks like you're trying to find something good to watch. Would you like me to suggest something?"

      how's Apple TV doing?

    • "Hi there! It looks like you're trying to find something good to watch. Would you like me to suggest something?"

      *cough*TivoSuggestions*cough*

      Actually, the suggestions do a decent job aside from the fact that they suggest things I've already watched. Pretty accurate, though, so, um, two points for that, I guess. Mmmmyep.

    • by DinDaddy (1168147)

      Our U-verse DVR runs microsoft-supplied software. While my wife isn't a huge fan of it (I rarely use it), it's more or less on par with the dishnetwork unit we used to have, and usable. It does none of the things you jokingly posted.

      The standout nits are probably no predictive search, and no memory of past searches, and a little glitchiness in recording streams from time to time. Nothing hair-tearingly bad though.

    • by Abstrackt (609015) *

      "Hi there! It looks like you're trying to find something good to watch. Would you like me to suggest something?"

      "Hi there! It looks like you're trying to watch porn. Would you like help?
      -Skip the story.
      -Erase it from your history.
      -Just watch the porn without help."

  • I can completely give comcast the shaft? best news ive heard all day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jacksinn (1136829)
      We recently ditched our DirecTV service we have had for years due to skyrocketing prices, inflexibility, and lack of time or desire to watch enough TV to justify the cost. We've been using the 360 (and PS3, AppleTV) to watch Hulu and Netflix as well as renting some movies and the transition hasn't hurt us one bit. We've talked about it for a couple years I only wish we had done it sooner. It was cool when Red State was available to rent (at $10) before it hit the theaters. I hope this is a continuing trend
      • by hedwards (940851)

        That works fine as long as you don't want to watch sports. Pretty much everything else can be viewed by hooking up a laptop or set top device to the TV.

        • by jacksinn (1136829)
          The 360 has ESPN on the Video Marketplace which is free to use. It has some live events and you can follow whichever sports you like e.g. hockey and soccer. A lot of it, however, is mostly clips and archives and not live so there is definitely that downside. We're planning to use an antenna to get over the air 'live' feeds/channels too so if the sport comes on one of the big 4 networks here in town we should be good to go.
          • by hedwards (940851)

            Not being live is a serious problem with it. MLB was the one I was looking at and it turned out to be significantly worse than what you'd get through cable. Anything under a regional black out would still not be available and you could only access the streams after the game was over.

            Personally, I don't need or want to have cable or a dish, but for folks that want live sports there's basically only one game in town.

            That being said, we get more channels over the air now than we used to, but the number is stil

        • by Inda (580031)
          I watch a fair bit of sport by hooking up a laptop to the TV. I'd love to pay for it in return for an HD quality picture, honestly I would.

          My problem with using the Xbox is it's so bloody noisy. Fix that first Microsoft and I'll happily cancel the TV part of my cable package.
          • by captjc (453680)

            My problem with using the Xbox is it's so bloody noisy. Fix that first Microsoft and I'll happily cancel the TV part of my cable package.

            Are you using the 360 fat or 360 slim, because I have the slim and noise is not a problem.

      • by Raenex (947668)

        It was cool when Red State was available to rent (at $10) before it hit the theaters.

        The movies they rent for $10 before they come out in theaters will likely never see a wide release anyways. $10 is a lot just to rent a low-budget movie.

  • This is nothing new - they're already doing this on iOS and on the web. You'll still need to subscribe to cable in order to utilize the programming on the XBOX, much like you must pay Netflix to watch their movies on the Xbox. All they're doing is replacing the Set Top Box / DVR with the Xbox, and for that I'd applaud them - one less energy sucking device on the table is always good, but they won't be cutting out the cable companies in this, just shifting the medium.

    • by bjwest (14070)

      ... one less energy sucking device on the table is always good....

      I had a first generation 360, that thing sounded like an A-6 taking off at full throttle, and I doubt the newer models are any better. My Tivo, Media Center PC, and Wii are all but dead silent. Hell, my laptop sitting right in front of me with fans on full speed can barely be heard. Until MS gets the noise problem solved, I don't think it would make a good media center replacement.

      • Good thing the new models aren't loud. It's not SILENT, but you have to get up next to it and actively listen for it to hear it. If you're watching tv at a normal distance, you'll never hear it. I'm not sure if you really don't know/care, or if you're just trolling, but the newer models are manufacturer on a smaller process, which means less heat which means less noise.
      • by Slider451 (514881)

        Do what a lot of people do: Put it behind a wall and control it with RF remote and IR blasters. My Logitech Harmony works great.

      • and I doubt the newer models are any better.

        /facepalm

  • My home is set up with a Ceton Cablecard hookup and Windows Media Center.

    It is the best DVR I've ever had the pleasure of using, and the UI and usability far surpasses everything out there. What they will do with the XBox integration is beyond me, but I've saved over $400 a year by swapping to media center (2 boxes = $40 a month).

    Granted not everything Microsoft does is great, but Media Center is one of their best products that nobody knows about. That said, I think if it's in the same vein, that their TV s

    • by Slider451 (514881)

      Clarification: You do need a PC for your solution, unless there's a cablecard for Xbox I don't know about.

      That said, I really like the Windows Media Center interface. That's the only DVR we use currently. Much better out of the box than the Comcast DVR or homebrew solution I used for years: GB-PVR. I just wish the link to it on the Xbox was more prominent. More than a couple clicks/menus fails the WAF.

      If there was an easier way to access WMC TV recordings from other small STBs (Roku, Apple TV) it would

      • Honestly, if the media center extender worked on other Windows PCs, I'd rather just buy a small dell zino box and set it up on my TV. No such luck though... another boneheaded thought by microsoft.

        • Get a HD Homerun Prime 3 tuners that are shared to every WMC box on your network. 250 is not that bad a silent atom PC that I already had, a used xbox360 and a VM on the home server for the main recoding box. Wish I knew about the idiotic you have to pay Microsoft for the privilege of streaming netflix though. Replaces 2 tivo's at 25 a month and a cable card rental payback is about a year. Also gives me the ability to watch live TV on every windows box in the house (7 at last count) even can watch some

    • by Fallon (33975)
      I just finished rolling out my Windows Media Center with a InfiniTV 4 & the CableCard setup as well, it rocks. I haven't turned in my DVR & Cable Box yet, probably in a few weeks, but it will end up saving me $30+ a month, enough to pay off the InfiniTV 4 card & other parts in under a year.

      I'm using a free Xbox360 as a media center extender, which works well. The thing that pisses me off is Microsoft requires me to spend $60 a year or something on an Xbox Live Gold account if I want to watch Net
      • Agreed on the XBox Live account for Netflix. I don't want to pay twice for Netflix, so I won't. It's just annoying to get a service that's basically free, only when you're a member of something else. Blargghhggh!!%$!@$

  • You still have to have a cable subscription to access the content for most of this content. If anything, it's a step forward in killing the standalone set-top box. This hurts set-top box manufacturers, AppleTV, GoogleTV, and Boxee.

    • by hjf (703092)

      This hurts set-top box manufacturers, AppleTV, GoogleTV, and Boxee.

      Oh, BOOHOO!

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        I have no interest in extending Microsoft's monopoly into the Living room any more than I want to hand Apple the same monopoly on a silver platter.

        Single vendor solutions ultimately do more harm than good.

        • by Slider451 (514881)

          I agree, but getting everything to work harmoniously takes a serious commitment to tinkering.

          Our house has A Roku, an Apple TV and a 360 used as a Media Center Extender to a Win 7 PC used as a DVR. A Windows Home Server hosts pictures, movies, and music to all devices. The house also has other Windows machines, iPods and iPhones. Email, contacts, and calendars are accessed with Google. I wish they would all just get along!

          Issues:
          1) No universal music format outside of the venerable MP3, which is what al

    • by Slider451 (514881)

      I don't see how, unless you plan to have an XBox in every room. We have one on our big entertainment center TV. But in the bedroom we just have a Roku. If MS starting putting out sub-$100 Media Center STBs (with Netflix and Hulu, etc., in addition to XBL content ) then you could make that argument.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Yes. This is by no means a cheap option.

        Besides, if you are going to put xboxes under all of your TVs you could just use Media Center and avoid channel specific streaming.

        Stream everything.

        This does nothing to displace conventional cable like an AppleTV or Roku does or even XBMC.

  • by dkf (304284)

    [Microsoft] also has deals lined up with providers in the U.K., ...

    That's hardly surprising, given that most TV content in the UK is already available on competing platforms, and has been for a while. This is just MS playing catch-up with what Sony's PS3 has done for a while now; the surprising thing is how long they took to do it.

  • There is no doubt that cable TV are losing market place.

    Devices like the Roku- and a subscription to Netflix/Hulu and you can get almost anything you want- and for lower price. That said- most of the major channels (with a decent budget to make original content) are channels that have a firm base in cable. These channels are grand-fathered in- there is an inherent cost to become a new cable channel- and there isn't much point being an internet startup if most people only see cable.

    Once a larger portion of

    • by Slider451 (514881)

      Cream rises to the top. "Mad Men", an Emmy winning hit for a few years now, runs on AMC, a channel for old classic movies. I doubt many Mad Men fans watch much of the other content on that network. I'm sure it will find a home on another network if nobody wants to pay for AMC ala carte.

  • The deals look like extensions of service for their traditional customer base. I doubt Xbox will provide anything if I don't already have a cable TV contract with the supplier. What I want is to be able to stream the shows that I want to watch, and not subsidize channels I don't want. Until that happens I will continue to rely on Netflix, Hulu, and the broadcast corporation websites to what the shows I am interested in.
  • I'm starting to become concerned about these inexpensive web video content services not being all they're cracked up to be in today's internet service market. I'm all for web content, but what happens when I leave the web TV on all day? I'm going to get dinged for the bandwidth charges that what! Recently Netflix introduced a "low resolution" version of their service to combat this problem. I guess the future really does look like Max Headroom.
    • by Slider451 (514881)

      Concur. Internet TV is not broadcast. If your ISP (often your cable provider, ironically) has a download cap, you have to select your content carefully. I suspect a lot of folks will investigate OTA or the bare bones cable packages to offset the increased bandwidth needs. Assuming you have the equipment do it (tuner card and DVR software) avoid bandwidth cap issues by recording broadcast shows for free.

  • AT&T U-verse customers have been able to use the XBox as their set top box for some time now.

    http://www.att.com/u-verse/explore/xbox-receiver.jsp

  • ..... They expect Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw to let them play in the sand pit? LOL...

    • by z00_miak (1305831)
      Actually they're already 'playing in the sandpit': you can use a 360 with Telus Optik TV, since they already use Microsoft Mediaroom as their digital TV platform software. They were even giving away 360s as a signup bonus a while back.

      Maybe this article is suggesting Microsoft's intent to bypass incumbent providers, otherwise it's missing the mark, at least for Canada: if you were signed up for any content like HBO (through Telus) you can already view it using your 360.

  • Is it intended to act as a DVR or is it streaming only? If the former, can it record a show while playing a game? Convergence sometimes has casualties.

  • To the best of my knowledge, cable companies send their signal once, and all the boxes entitled to hear it hear it at the same time. This is very efficient for the sender. Transmissions based on tcp/ip will not be efficient. Are there plans in the works to use udp broadcast or multicast to replace the functionality of broadcasted stations? If they do broadcast the tcp data, then it would probably not be efficient for the receivers.
    Are they discussing a replacement for broadcasted content that keep

  • One of the free providers is Crackle.com which is like HuluPlus except free and Sony-only movies and television content. Yes, that means we can finally watch Seinfeld since Netflix doesn't stream it! The slap to PS3 owners is that Sony doesn't have this on their own system, haha.

  • It won't do more than cable TV via the old set top box. It won't cost less. What's the point?

  • So basically you get to pay for content you could have gotten for free in most cases if MS included a browser. If they require a gold membership for the BBC I seriously hope people complain about that. People shouldn't have to pay for the damn TV licence and then MS to watch BBC programmes.
    • by DBMandrake (86543)

      If you read the Microsoft announcement you'd see that XBox Live Gold is not required for BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, or LoveFilm content. Sky player looks like it will remain Gold only however.

  • I would have maybe a faint, tiny glimmer of interest if we weren't on our fourth XBOX 360 after the others RRDed. And that's only been a couple of years. And that's with the console on a UPS and in open air (no cooling restrictions) in an air conditioned environment.
  • Tell me when I can go back to the days of plugging the cable line directly into the TV without the need for set top boxes and multiple remotes. Wasn't CableCARD supposed to come and fix everything?

    • by tgd (2822)

      CableCard did come and fix that. It works fine, and has for ten years.

      Not a lot of TVs have slots for them these days, though, because most people want DVRs.

  • Interestingly it looks like (for once) us Aussies were the first to get this, about 6(ish) months ago Foxtel started broadcasting via streaming channels to the XBox 360. I will admit it is not a full featured service but it is a really good start. I will be curious to see how it plays out overseas to see if you get full featured (such as pausing, recording etc) as of course there are technical limitations that have to be overcome there. Stuart
  • they forgot the 51st state of europe methinks
    • where did the edit button go ? i meant to add destroying traditional companies overhere could actually benefit the public

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