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Microsoft Reportedly Working On TV Service For Xbox 360 121

tekgoblin writes "It seems that Microsoft may be in talks with media companies to license TV shows and movies for a new streaming service. With the addition of ESPN to the Xbox 360 over Xbox Live, Microsoft may be in a position to do the same for different content providers and charge a subscription fee for them separately. The idea is to better personalize content and only pay for what you want to watch instead of paying cable companies for all the channels you don't watch. Microsoft is looking into duplicating what they have done with ESPN to include channels such as Showtime or HBO and possibly Disney."
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Microsoft Reportedly Working On TV Service For Xbox 360

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  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:16AM (#34402478) Homepage Journal

    This is likely to piss off AT&T that they're work on the really horrible U-Verse service with. I would like to assume the XBox 360 would be more reliabe/work better than the U-Verse garbage, but the idea of red-ringing over a TV show does come to mind.

    That being said - I think this is a very good and cool idea. It's convergence and the ousting of old tech that needs to go. Modern cable companies are getting too invasive and control/power hungry over what you watch. I'm not saying Microsoft wont be that way, but at least with them you can reap the benefits of paying less, whereas the cable companies just charge more, invade more, and progressively provide less.

  • Cost (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tatman ( 1076111 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:41AM (#34402598) Homepage
    GoogleTV provides this with HBO. I think its a great idea but its too expensive at $30 a month. I love the idea of paying only for the TV programming I want. But the prices are going to have to fall significantly to make it worth while. Thankfully ESPN is free, for now :)
  • Too Noisy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wingsy ( 761354 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:46AM (#34402626)
    I used to use my Xbox 360 for Netflix. Too damn noisy. Way too noisy. The fan noise is not noticeable when playing games but for TV it's a show-stopper. Netflix is a better experience with an Apple TV anyway.
  • Re:iplayer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @09:00AM (#34403020)
    This seems to be more of MS just not "getting it". They didn't seem to get that XBMC turned an alright games console into an amazing games console (I would have been all over licensing and/or bundling that thing if I was MS), and now they don't get that, if they want to be the media centre in people's homes, they can't approach that by offering less than the other consoles. I know their argument is probably that it will detract people fromt the paid for content, but realistically it already does that, since every license payer in the UK gets it at no extra cost anyway and most people have access to either freeview or a PC or one of the other consoles or a video enabled phone or... you get the picture. Is it really good for MS's business model that, every time I want to watch iPlayer, I turn off the XBOX and turn on the Wii?
  • by wynterwynd ( 265580 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @10:02AM (#34403476)

    One thing I can all but guarantee, it won't be cheaper than cable/satellite. The a la carte television service is not a new idea. The same people that fucked it up when it was explored back in the early cable days and who fucked it up for Netflix, Hulu, and every other streaming service will be there for this one. And no, it won't be Comcast or AT&T or any of the people that actually bill you. They WANT to provide people the most flexible service they could, that would draw more customers.

    No, this will be reinvented to death by the content providers.

    You will see $10 monthly subscriptions for each media producing company's channel packages, tiers of packages for the big ones like Turner or Disney, and my guess is you'll end up with a la carte that costs just as much as your bundled cable TV does if not more. You will likely be able to buy comparable "bundles" at the same cost per month as traditional subscription television. But if you truly want a la carte programming, you'll end up paying as much or more for fewer overall channels.

    The carriers (Comcast, ATT, etc) are not going to give you a choice of ignoring the providers' experimental networks and shows, they're locked into paying for them just as you are by contracts printed in the 80's and they already oversell their ad space with the channels they have. They would start a riot with their advertisers over the suddenly very narrow marketing window if they didn't force you to accept some channels you don't want. If they did, new channels would never get off the ground and niche channels would die out from lack of funding.

    Well, why do I need a channel anyway, you might ask. Let me just watch the shows I want and stuff the channels.

    That is the reason why Netflix and Hulu are getting the push back on providing streaming content that they are. The entire business system is based on a model that presumes upon timeslot-based content to promote and target prime advertising and shows. The technology to provide the media has changed, but the business model behind it never had to. Now it is suddenly bucking hard against what they see as the iTunes to their RIAA, coming to slay the lumbering beast of their outmoded business plan. There are simply too many people who ALL have to be on board for it to work.

    I'm not saying it will never work, but I'm saying don't get too excited about this announcement. Microsoft will play ball with content providers, it won't try to leverage them into the 21st century (like Google or Apple). You might see it change down the road for the better as studios and networks start to realize that they cannot dictate how we watch their programming anymore. If they want to join the rest of us in the World of Tomorrow, some big sweeping changes to their business has to take place first. And that will be slow and painful for them, and for us in the meantime.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @01:06PM (#34405738)

    That being said - I think this is a very good and cool idea. It's convergence and the ousting of old tech that needs to go.

    On the contrary - this is a VERY BAD Thing (TM). It's not convergence, it's fragmentation. You know why ESPN is on there? Because it's ESPN3 (formerly known as ESPN360) and because ESPN3 is available only via exclusive deals. Type in ESPN 3 on your computer - if you're lucky, it loads correctly. If you have the wrong ISP, there is no begging or pleading you can do with ESPN, you will not be able to access any of it outside a sign that says "ESPN3 is available through the following ISPs: [...]"

    Content providers and integrated ISPs like Comcast love this approach, because they can charge a la carte for websites, just like TV now. And the people who have signed on with the new service sound like the usual suspects who love to ream the customers with special deals. If anything, this is a harbinger of things to come, like a plague of locusts or raining frogs.

    I like my Xbox for what it is allowing me to do with gaming. I can also see though that the future of the XBox is a horrible experience that will make 1990's internet look like Nirvana.

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