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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 perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:16AM (#34402472)
    Will they offer MSNBC?
    • It may be up to comcast soon as they may own nbc and may try to make it cable only.

    • by Eraesr ( 1629799 )
      The real question here is: when will Microsoft introduce similar services here in Europe?
    • by jseale ( 691367 )
      NBCU's news properties: MSNBC, CNBC and the Weather Channel would be a no brainer for the XBox since there would be so much interactive content involved with these channels. Just think of being able to queue up local on the 8's or instant stock quotes anytime you want, all without having to be at your PC or using your mobile. The Weather Channel could even display weather alerts that appear while you're playing a game or viewing other content on the XBox.
  • 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.

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      What? Another Microsoft partner screwed over only to find that they were being used as a testbed for Microsoft's own plans??

      I'm shocked. Shocked.

      • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @08:02AM (#34402704)

        What? Another Microsoft partner screwed over only to find that they were being used as a testbed for Microsoft's own plans??

        I remember in the 1990s when Microsoft was first doing tests on TVs, though I never realized it at the time. You know the blue screen that VCRs used to show when the input signal was corrupt.... need I say more?

      • by VisiX ( 765225 )
        Moral of the story; Competition is good, unless it's Microsoft. I can't believe people actually feel bad for AT&T.
        • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @10:15AM (#34403606) Homepage Journal

          I don't exactly feel bad for them.

          Watching AT&T and Microsoft fight is like watching a guido fight a skin-head. It's worth watching and no matter which one loses it's an overall victory for everyone else.

          • Hating Microsoft is soooo 2008.
            • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

              You sir, are enlightened.

              Enjoy your Windows 7 phone.

            • Dude, I was hating Microsoft with a passion in 1998 because I was a Novell/Netscape guy, I saw first hand what their OS "patches" did to Netscape and the Netware client with a farce front of patching the OS.

              You could say I'm a hate Microsoft early adopter.

              (BTW - I started hating on Windows in 95 when I discovered taking Windows 3.1 out of my batch file and rebooting caused Doom to run great, starting Windows then exiting - no matter what I did memory wise otherwise caused Doom to run crappy.)

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Actually, with AT&T and the cableco's having a pretty solid monopoly on the broadband market, I doubt they're losing a lot of sleep over this. Unless MS is planning on running fiber to my house, the telcos and cablecos will still be the gate-keepers. In my neighborhood, Comcast is the only option for decent broadband. So this certainly wouldn't help *me* bypass my cable company.

    • 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.

      • I sort of think the old west was a nirvana compared to present day. Laws and the enforcement thereof were pretty much relegated to actual crimes like robbery, theft, and murder, and while enforcement certainly left something to be desired, the upside of focusing on real crime meant real freedom to pursue whatever interested you outside of that. Of course, nobody remembers it like that; it's all "wild west" this, untamed wilderness that, where horrible things could happen -- as if horrible things can't and

  • I'm happy for you guys but for us, Europeans, I mean the ones with the Live Gold account, we'll (probably) see none of this.

    Sigh. How I'd love to watch the MLB live here
    • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @08:54AM (#34402970)
      Even worse, here in the UK we can't even get BBC IPlayer (a service that should be available to me as a license fee payer, and that is already Wii and PS3, as well as PC, I believe), apparently because MS refuse to give it away free to silver users and the BBC's charter won't let it be included in the paid gold package.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      In the UK and Ireland you can get Sky TV over your XBox. They even have Pay per view for sports and films.
  • Just remembering the recent Netflix case..the "last mile cable" laying tough guys might have something to say about the matter.

    Googled related story here: []
  • iplayer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mjwalshe ( 1680392 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:36AM (#34402570)
    Just team up with the BBC and offer iplayer, Free in UK the rest of the world can pay say £15/$20 month - then we can have full length seasons of Dr Who - whats not to like :-)
    • by JustOK ( 667959 )

      I think we should tax all foreigners not living in our country.

      • um they do it's the dodgy non doms and the freeriders from the Chanel islands we need to tax at the same rate as the rest of us.
        • You're just mad at the Chanel Islands because they rejected your application to live there.
          • i'me not a millionaire tax dodger
            • If you were, you would definitely have a different moral outlook on so much of you hard work being taken from you and your family and wasted by the government. But I was born and raised in the US and my house on Jersey is a family home so maybe I fail to see the animosity towards people who happen to live in a certain place. However it's not much of a stretch to replace it with "Jews" or "blacks" or "Mexicans" and see your statement as racist, it just happens to be against a geographic group and not a rac
      • What does tax have to do with television?
        I mean, the post did say "free in the UK" right before saying the price for those outside of the UK.
        Isn't that a form of corporate tax?

        • Well it's not really free in the UK, we already pay a kind of television tax []. The BBC doesn't have an issue with charging people overseas for its content, so the logical answer would be to allow it in Live as an already paid for service in the UK and charge anyone a subscription fee outside of the UK, but this has already been ruled out in the past (well, I don't know if the additional subscription model came up, but providing it at no cost in the UK was already shot down).
      • +1 Flying Circus

    • Re:iplayer (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @08:05AM (#34402716)

      Just team up with the BBC and offer iplayer, Free in UK the rest of the world can pay say £15/$20 month - then we can have full length seasons of Dr Who - whats not to like :-)

      Funny you should say that as the BBC are launching their own set-top box here in the UK some time next year. Technically it's not just the Beeb but a consortium of content providers (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five), hardware providers (Humax, Cisco, Technicolor) and ISP's (TalkTalk and BT) who will provide a platform called YouView [] (formally Project Canvas) which will allow customers to watch and record Freview HD (DVB-T2) as well as stream or purchase content from a marketplace.

      So for example, if you search for "Top Gear" you will get results that offer you the two shows running in the next fortnight, the two shows on BBC iPlayer, the box set from one vendor and the ability to rent (stream) from a couple of other vendors.

      There is a one off payment for the box and, like the current Freeview service, no subscription fees for about 50 channels (of which about 20 or so are of interest to the majority of people). There are no restrictions on where you live or which ISP you are with. Although the hardware manufacturers are limited at launch, more will come on board as time goes by.

      It's like Google TV but for the UK, with a slicker UI and has the backing of major content providers before it starts. In other words, a properly thought out end-to-end proposition.

      • Hmm, I'd be surprised if they don't get sued by Google for confusingly similar naming with YouTube, though perhaps your IP laws aren't as onerous as ours.

    • whats not to like :-)

      Dr. Who

    • by csteinle ( 68146 )

      They already have SkyPlayer on the XBox. Apparently the BBC were approached to do similar iPlayer support, but Micosoft's policy of not allowing that kind of service unless you have a Gold account is not compatible with the BBC Trust's policy that where BBC content appears on a tiered cost platform it must be available on the lowest cost option.

    • by Kaenneth ( 82978 )

      Please this, I can't (and don't) wait to watch new episodes of many BBC shows (Who+spinoffs, QI topping the list); I would be willing to contribute to their budgets if there was an easy way.

  • Cost (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tatman ( 1076111 )
    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 :)
    • > I think its a great idea but its too expensive at $30 a month.

      Damn, where do you live? $30/month is less than the cheapest basic cable subscription I can get without a long-term contract.

      • by tatman ( 1076111 )
        You right :) but $30 month is for HBO only. I was trying to make the point if I have to pay $30 a month for each broadcaster I want to receive, it quickly becomes more expensive than the most expensive cable package. In order for subscriptions to broadcasters to work out, the prices have to come down a lot. There's about 6 or 7 broadcasters I would pay to get (History, SciFi, HBO, etc...). If I had to pay $30 for each of them individually, I could just get cable and all the other crap with it.
  • 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.
    • Definitely. It's also a big reason I don't use the console as a Windows Media Center extender. Another issue is the quality - a strong over-the-air or cable/fiber connection will almost always provider better picture and audio quality than streaming content.
      • Netflix streaming over the Xbox IS a cable/fiber connection. What's the difference between cable and streaming? They're both live data feeds.

        Netflix does stream in HD, at any rate.

        • Netflix streaming over the Xbox IS a cable/fiber connection. What's the difference between cable and streaming? They're both live data feeds.

          Netflix does stream in HD, at any rate.

          I was referring to receiving television service directly from your cable/fiber provider, not streaming via your Internet connection. I've used ESPN 3 on the 360 and if the quality for other channels is anything like that service, then I'd much rather get television service using more "traditional" methods.

          • ESPN 3 is a different service provider. The Xbox 360 is only a means of delivery. Both ESPN 3 and Netflix are avilable via Internet browser, as well.

            Netflix does provide streaming HD video, if you have a connection capable of supporting it. It also adjusts video quality on the fly based on your current bandwidth availability.

          • by VisiX ( 765225 )
            ESPN3 on the traditional internet is pretty awful as well most of the time. I don't think the quality of the feed has anything to do with the Xbox.
    • I use a dual-core Athlon 64 for netflix. I tried buying a Blu-Ray player, the HP-BD52U, but it turned out to be a total lemon defective piece of shit that silently failed forever to read my queue, and the door came off when I removed the plastic.

      I only wish I could use my 360, which is much quieter, but I'm not paying for gold. It's really not reasonably priced.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Fan noise? only notice it upon boot and shutdown. the rest of the time its pumping 120 watts per channel into 8 channels loud enough for the neighbors 3 houses over to hear the warzone in my living room....

        I cant hear any fan noise.

      • by Wingsy ( 761354 )
        Well, I suppose with a kilowatt of audio in the room the fan noise might be hard to pull out. But use it in a quiet room, and during the silent periods in a movie you'll always be hearing that "rrrrrrrrrrrr" sound. I do. My wife does.
        • by kcbnac ( 854015 )

          Put it inside an enclosed shelf. Large for cool air, but maybe open on the back. Or just behind stuff so the sound doesn't travel forwards. Worth a shot if you can try it. Or consider upgrading to one of the newer models that draw less power and thus run the fan less. (Sell your old one, or keep it around as a spare or for a gift for someone)

    • The slim model is very quiet playing Netflix or other video, the only time it gets a little louder is playing Black Ops. The old ones were horrendously loud, though they've been getting quieter as Microsoft made revisions (my previous Elite wasn't as quiet as the slim but was much quieter than the launch unit I had before it).
    • by DdJ ( 10790 )

      Netflix is a better experience with an Apple TV anyway.

      I agree, especially if you have an iPhone or iPad to use as a remote. The XBox used to be the best way for me to get Netflix on my TV, but since the AppleTV came out, and since they raised the price of an XBox Live Gold membership... I've gone ahead and canceled my Gold membership.

      If they get some good streaming partnerships going, like the ESPN3 stuff but for content that doesn't suck, I could see maybe bringing my Gold membership back.

  • As we have recently seen, the practices we most feared have started coming to pass in the case where a residential cable internet provider got paid by a media streaming service to be able to provide paid service to customers. I'm too lazy to link to the slashdot reference to it, but this will undoubtedly be fresh on people's minds and will undoubtedly become a key example of why net neutrality is needed.

    Microsoft will not be interested in paying every ISP endpoint for the privilege of providing content ser

    • by Deag ( 250823 )

      Well the ESPN application on the xbox only works if your ISP is an affiliated service provider. I think it has the same rules as ESPN3.

      My ISP does provide it so it works for me, but it is not neutral to the network.

  • Windows Media Center (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @07:50AM (#34402640)

    Microsoft probably have a good chance of making this work on the basis that Windows Media Center is actually a very capable DVR and they have several customers of their MediaRoom solution. I've been running Windows 7 Media Center in my home for several months now and it's extremely slick and does the job reasonably well. It's UI is light years ahead of all the others - although that is probably helped by the fact that the hardware I'm using is significantly more powerful than your usual set top box.

    My only real complaints are:

    1. The EPG provider Microsoft uses in the UK is absolutely dire. They frequently forget meta-data and get the series link information wrong - which of course means that the experience is impacted. Our US friends don't seem to have these issues as their meta-data is correct.
    2. Even if you have the codecs installed, it cannot browse or play non-WTV or DVR-MS without the use of something like MediaBrowser (which itself, is a slick application).
    3. When you do get non WTV or DVR-MS files playing, FWD and RWD don't work. This can be fudged with a plugin called MediaControl but it isn't perfect.
    4. Some times it reports that it cannot record a show on a tuner because there is no signal. Doesn't matter what button you press, it'll show you the same error several times before finally dismissing.

    Compared to my old Topfield (which was considered one of the better DVR's here in the UK yet couldn't handle daylight saving and botched up all your recording timers, had a ghastly UI, put the wrong metadata in your recordings if you padded the start time, had a completely broken series link and would only work reliably if you flashed it with custom firmware) 7MC is a work of art.

    Desire the issues, once you've worked around these and installed a couple of other (free) applications then you have a very capable DVR which can not only record and playback live TV, but access your DVD rips from multiple locations around the house (with the correct meta-data and cover art), view, schedule and play back recorded shows via your mobile or desktop web browser and play back streamed video from a number of online sources.

    Yes, Boxee or XBMC would be a better choice if you just want to play video - but the GF wants to watch and record live TV which means that WMC is a good option.

    • by sorak ( 246725 )

      I had the 2005 media center and my complaint was that it respects the broadcast flag. It wasn't so bad at first. I couldn't record off HBO, but everything else worked. But then Fox started putting it on all their shows. I don't remember who else did, but I noticed it because my wife and I could no longer watch her favorite show. I don't know if they still have this problem/policy, but MCE became less and less relevant over time, until one day the app stopped working, and I decided that I just didn't care en

    • I take it you haven't touched Boxee, MediaPortal or GameEx... All of which offer functionality missing from WMC. Though to be honest, I would love to have the best features of all three in one software.
      • I take it you haven't touched Boxee, MediaPortal or GameEx... All of which offer functionality missing from WMC. Though to be honest, I would love to have the best features of all three in one software.

        I've played with Boxee a fair bit but it didn't support playback or recording of live TV. Never heard of GameEx I have to admit. I looked at MediaPortal, installed it to trial and the GF hated the UI so I never went back to it. I may look at it in the future, but now I have WMC set up it'll be a pain in the b

    • Even if you have the codecs installed, it cannot browse or play non-WTV or DVR-MS without the use of something like MediaBrowser (which itself, is a slick application).

      I feel compelled to correct this in case others misunderstand you and it reflects poorly on Media Center. Media Center can play videos in a variety of containers and codecs. I commonly put m4v files encoded using h.264 in my "videos" folder. Media center picks them right up and allows me to play them (even on my extenders). Perhaps what you mean is that you can't play these files from your "Recorded TV" folder (perhaps this is the case -- I've never tried it).

  • Disney? Who watches that? Why does Disney even have a tv channel?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )

      Disney? Who watches that? Why does Disney even have a tv channel?

      Because they still have lots of unskippable ads left over from their DVD production.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      Disney channel is a godsend for every parent on this planet. Or so they think.

      Disney offers "entertainment" (read: Keep 'em occupied) for kids from age 0 to ... well, god knows, while at the same time you, as a parent, needn't worry that there will be any violence AT ALL, aside of a teeenie little bit of cartoon violence that is immediately resolved and where you get immediately shown that nobody was hurt. The figures tumble and wobble and fall and bounce but they don't get hurt.

      And it goes without saying t

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        You forget the pre-teens dressing like street hookers... and making little girls also want to dress slutty.

        You are an epic fail as a parent if you buy your 8 year old a miniskirt and a pair of skin tight pants that says JUICY on the ass.

        Those 6-12 year old gir tv shows on Disney are disgusting as to how they push "fashon" on the little kids. then they back it up with buy this!!!!

        It's a day long infomercial for children.

        • by VisiX ( 765225 )
          No one on the Disney channel dresses in the way you describe. Perhaps you are thinking of some parody pornography or something.
      • by CaseM ( 746707 )

        The question I'd have for such parents is just: Ok, no violence, no sex/nudity/whatever else you wouldn't want your kids to see, no reality whatsoever. Just a company firing episode after episode of their cutesy cartoon characters at your kids, interrupted by commercials telling them that they can have those cutesy cartoon characters at home and that they have to buy every piece of plastic crap Disney poops out?

        There's a time and a place for everything. I expect my son to know about sex, nudity, violence, a

        • but that doesn't mean he has to be educated about those topics at an age where such knowledge might negatively impact his psychological development.

          When does this happen? I've known about violence, sex, nudity, and war for as long as I can remember, and it didn't harm me in any way, shape, or form. Young or not, keeping kids in a bubble is a terrible, terrible thing to do. It's very difficult to damage someone psychologically merely by educating them (even if they are weak-minded).

      • The Disney Channel is generally utter garbage, especially the live action shows. Basically, it's nothing but a bunch of self-centered twats running around being totally unproductive. Stupid parents completely miss the far more subtle and long-term detrimental impact of that programming. Those shows feature non-stop idolizing of celebrity culture; they essentially perpetuate the notion that any kid can be a superstar.

        They never depict anyone who's done something constructive in a scientific field, for exampl

        • It's just sickening. And the crap they are running these days on Cartoon Network? They moved all the good shows to Boomerang and scraped everything. I'm still seething with rage that tripe like Ben10 and 101 warriors gets funding and stuff like Korgoth the Barbarian doesn't
  • ... will reach a new level with Kinect.

    The official way to change channels would be by throwing punches.

  • MS started doing Sky TV on the Xbox 360 some time in the last year or so in the UK, so Microsoft's certainly prepared to offer streaming TV. I figure its absence from the US has more to do with licencing and contracts than any technical hurdle.

  • They don't do a deal with Comcast to have your XBox be your cable box. (I mean besides the fact the video would have to come through the ethernet and therefore you'd have to have comcast as your internet company.) I mean they could charge a premium to turn it on and give it some slick name. (You know, like "Get Xfinity 360, only $20 extra a month.")
    • That'll happen the day that Microsoft creates a module for the Linux kernel that runs Windows apps natively in X/Win.

  • Why is innovation and technology today all about video games, tablets and streaming movies? I know they are profitable, but very limited in terms of providing something NEW.

    Aren't there other technologies and forms of entertainment we can spend our time and money on?
    • The one thing to remember is that technology is interchangable, and has a tendency to shift from one focus to another once it's invented.
      The only that that's needed is the creation of a tech innovation and bam... off to something else entirely in the (near) future.
      Think of it this way, what other reason would we suddenly have 40+ inch 3D capable television at 1080p that's about as thick as my hand? Our technology evolves, and uses whatever vector necessary to initiate it.
      Think porn in the past for video tr

  • Just give us a web browser on our 360s, MS. I'll shag something fierce and you'll make your money off the hardware and Live subscription fee. Could it be any easer?

  • As someone who has not purchased a current generation console, I find this to be a big driving factor that may convince me to buy an Xbox360. If the options to get youtube, hulu, local media, and netflix all work seemlessly, this might also be the final nail in the coffin of expensive cable or satellite services for my house.

    Is Sony paying any attention? This is their cue to do something smart.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2010 @09:31AM (#34403222) Homepage


      Get a RoKu box and get what you want now for a $99.00 box that does not have an additional $60.00 a year access fee like the Xbox360 does

    • my Sony bluray player does that...It's not like something that's being invented.
      I mean, the only reason I keep cable is because I like to watch off-the-cuff shows sometimes, and they are playing on discovery/history channel, or bounce through cnn/msnbc/hln to see what's going on real quick.

      This is old news...

    • There is no youtube support without using a third party program on a networked PC (such as TVersity, though I'm not sure if the free version will do youtube). I already use my 360 as a replacement for cable, between Netflix and streaming movies from my PC the only thing I'm really missing is football games which I solved by having an antenna hooked up to the TV to pick up the OTA broadcast. Hulu is not out yet but it has been promised in the next update. Overall it's a great solution for me but I can tol

    • Sony doesn't need to pay attention, the PS3 is already there.

      - Local media: The PS3 can do local media (video/audio/pictures on the HD, or a USB drive).
      - Remote Media: The PS3 can act as a DLNA [] client
      - CD/DVD/Blu-Ray: The PS3 has it built in.
      - Netflix []: Since the last update, the Netflix client is now built into the console.
      - Hulu+ []: The Hulu+ client is available as a free download from the PSN Store (you DO need to have a Hulu+ account with Hulu though). Also, Hulu is still working on expanding the conte

  • []

    $20 for the basic package (which is quite basic), and $15 each for additional sets of channels like sport, movies, Showtime, and "entertainment" (random channels that didn't get into the basic package ;-).

    This is not perfect. For example, Fox Sports will black out AFL and NRL games that they would normally show on cable, because they don't have Internet broadcast rights for those games. But it seems to be a fair start at giving people tired of paying hundreds o

  • My ISP won't allow me to consume that way. After all, It's direct competition with them. My ISP has instituted a cap so I don't consume from sources other than them. *cough* COMCAST!

  • 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.

    • be like Canada with theme packs and being able to buy the box with no mirroring or outlet fees.

      But why can't you just get limited basic + HBO?

      OR just pay for ESPN + your RSN and other sports channels?

      I don't want to pay for disney channel but want ESPN.

      You can buy stuff like NHL gamecenter that is just on line why can't they have low cost local team only pack?

      • by werfu ( 1487909 )
        Yet in canada most ISP have quota which will render this kind of offer non possible here. Just look at Videotron. They're offering a 7.5Mbit/40gigs, 15mbits/60gig, 30/100gig, 50mbits/125gig, 120mbits/170gig. All quotas except the first have unlimited overcharge, at 1.50$ by gigabyte. At full throttle the later will only last 3.3h. Full throttle for a day and you'll get a near 2000$ fee for busting your quota. Ok, this isn't really possible, as their network surely can't handle giving all that bandwidth. But
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      So Microsoft would really be better off creating a solution that "plays nice" with the cable
      you probably already have while delivering all of the OTHER features that everyone else
      has? IOW, instead of mostly ignoring newer video capture devices they should be very
      intensely working to support them and have them working with MCE upon initial release
      (like Sage and MythTV does).

      That and pushing nice integrated solutions that require only as much fidgeting as
      Big Content and Big Cable makes necessary.

  • My cable company is the only ISP in my area that offers a decent broadband speed. So how exactly is this supposed to help me circumvent my cable company again?

  • Look: I play video games because watching TV bores me to the point of violence. I do not want to watch TV on my console; I want to play games on my console.
  • I change the channel and Clippy appears to announce that I have to watch a 1 minute ad sponsored by a Microsoft partner before watching that channel. After the ad is done I get a 502 error which after a google search I find out is caused because the channel 'might' show something with DRM.
  • 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.

    But the reality is that their service currently requires you to have an existing contract with a cable company for the channels you want to watch on your 360. You can't just pay for ESPN and watch that on your 360 and not pay the cable company, and the cable companies certainly won't make it easy for such a scenario to happen. Besides, you still have to
  • Currently, I can watch Netflix on my TV using my 360. I'm assuming that capability will strangely disappear soon.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.