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Microsoft's Xbox To Have Streaming TV Service? 131

BogenDorpher writes "Microsoft is reportedly in talks with major TV networks about having its Xbox Live service stream TV channels in the United States. This would be an interesting move on the company's part as it would allow an Xbox 360 user to stream TV channels though their Xbox."
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Microsoft's Xbox To Have Streaming TV Service?

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  • by Mindcontrolled ( 1388007 ) on Monday April 25, 2011 @04:19AM (#35927368)
    Wait, no shit, a streaming TV service would be an interesting move because it would allow users to stream TV? Never would have thought of that myself.
  • tl;dr (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Good thing that second sentence was there to summarize the first sentence.

  • If only (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cronock ( 1709244 ) on Monday April 25, 2011 @04:22AM (#35927380)
    If only there was already a way to get cable channels onto my tv...
    • I cut my cable TV channels this weekend and got Netflix. I went from $140 a month to $70 a month including the new Netflix fees.

      If M$ can do this, they are actually going to end up saving you a ton of money. (This would get the IRONIC tag on Fark.) Or in other words, they can end up saving you the cost of a Windows licence every single month.

      (Posted from my Ubuntu machine)

    • If only there was a way to get individual channels that you want to watch a la carte without having to buy a full package worth of crap...
      • The cables companies will never allow this. Don't be fooled into thinking Microsoft is negotiating an end-around to the bundling. This will take legislation, and legislation will take politicians, and politicians prefer cash.

        Dish Network has been pushing for ala carte packages for years. If Microsoft were to announce such a deal, I suspect Dish Network would insist on one, too, with each contract renewal.

      • $30/month for a channel and they'd be happy to offer it to you.
  • "Microsoft is reportedly in talks with major TV networks about having its Xbox Live service stream TV channels in the United States. This would be an interesting move on the company's part as it would allow an Xbox 360 user to stream TV channels though their Xbox."

    Really? I had no idea that streaming TV channels to XBox Live would allow my XBox 360 to stream TV channels! Thank you, sir, for the excellent & informative summary! :)
    </ ducks >

    • To be fair, it's actually a direct quote from the article.
      • What's worse? Writing something stupid, or quoting something stupid?

        • What's worse? Writing something stupid, or quoting something stupid?


          • by Anonymous Coward

            Lisa: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.
            Homer's Brain: What does that mean? Better say something or they'll think you're stupid.
            Homer: Takes one to know one.
            Homer's Brain: Swish!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Using my Xbox 360, I can now use my TV to watch TV!

    • +1 Insightful.

      Extra points for getting people to pay extra for the privilege of watching youtube-quality video on their new HDTV setup.

      • by Seumas ( 6865 )

        What do you mean? Do you think that the quality of video provided through a streaming XBOX service is going to somehow be worse than the HD you get from Netflix? Or the pseudo-HD you get from Comcast over cable?

        Are we all really pissing over a way to possibly finally introduce some form of competition to the cable monopolies? As someone who has no interest in spending $100-$200 month (depending on whether you just want the crap channels that you don't watch or the crap channels plus the few channels with go

        • the way that ESPN content currently depends on whether you're already a cable subscriber in certain areas

          For ESPN on Xbox live, you need to get internet from an affiliated ISP. Your ISP is not necessarily your cable/TV company, especially if you're using this service to cancel your TV subscription.

        • The HD from Netflix should be perfect...because, as far as I know, you can't stream HD from the HD you get would be from the disc you put in your player.
          • by CTU ( 1844100 )

            Who said you can't stream HD from netflix? AFAIK a lot of video is encoded in 720P and I think there is some stuff in 1080P. Netflix HD video looks pretty good on my new HDTV

            • by digsbo ( 1292334 )
              What programs are you getting in HD? Most aren't available in HD as far as I could tell (using my PS3).
              • by CTU ( 1844100 )

                What programs are you getting in HD? Most aren't available in HD as far as I could tell (using my PS3).

                Fullmetal alchemist brotherhood is in HD
                Jericho is also in HD and has subtitles.
                Airplane 2 was in HD AFAIR

       [] This is a list of media in HD in case you want to search titles :)

            • I've never seen any HD at all...but, I don't use it all that much. I'm sure I'm mistaken. I don't watch a lot of non-sports TV, and when I do watch something I usually just grab it off usenet and always get the HD version. I have the netflix streaming sub because it's such a good deal.

              What device are you streaming it with? I ask because I am going to be pissed if this is device locked.
            • I just realized why I thought this. I only ever use Netflix streaming on my PC to my 42" gaming/secondary monitor. They don't stream HD to PC's.

              I may cancel it.
          • by afex ( 693734 )
            Netflix of course does have HD, however the bitstream (which is REALLY what matters) is only at an average of 3Mbps. For reference, most blurays have an average of 10Mbps and the peak is something like 48Mbps.

            does this matter? in my opinion, not really...the stuff looks pretty good. is it as good as blurays or even a nice x264 rip from the internets? god no.

            bitrates, kids, bitrates. 1080p at 1Mbps will look much, much, MUCH worse than 480p at 5Mbps.

            /the more you know
            • See below, I didn't realize that Netflix doesn't stream anything HD to a PC. So let me correct that for you

              Netflix of course does have HD for certain devices...

              3Mbps wouldn't bother me at all either, but I can't even get that without buying a separate player. Even though my PC can easily handle it on it's own.

              • by afex ( 693734 )
                yea, i saw your reply after writing mine, my apologies - my post was more for just general information regarding how good their 'HD' actually is, and to combat people that only care about seeing '720p' in the corner of their tv and dont give a crap what's being served up.

                i could be wrong, and i've done NO research on it, but i believe there is some stupid legal reason that they can't serve you HD on a PC...all of the settop boxes have licenses for it, blah blah HDCP, etc...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Been wondering when we would see something like this here in the states. The PS3 has had an add-on (Japan-only) since about March of last year called Torne that adds DVR capability.

    • Australia has had downloadable content for a while now that allows you to watch foxtel (what you yanks call cable) streamed through your xbox (costs doush to use though). Having free to air streamed though the xbox would be cool though.

  • I was half asleep when I posted that summary.... sorry guys lol
  • Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable watching streaming TV unless a multicast implementation is in place? It's such a waste of bandwidth.

    • Multi-cast uses just as much bandwidth as uni-cast (regular connections). It war INTENDED to be implemented in a way that allowed less bandwidth, but is now nothing more than an easy way to establish multiple uni-cast connections.

      Disclaimer: The above is true on the *internet*, local networks may act differently!
      • Then it's not multicast. Most ISP's don't support multicast. If they did, then it would be trivial for broadcasters to begin simulcasting their channels over the Internet. It would cost them practically nil. This would go against the cable co's interests.
        • by Amouth ( 879122 )

          but then all the users are limted to the same old same old.. this program starts at this time and ends at that time -- where it is very very very obvious that people want to watch something at the time they want to watch it - and no DVR is a stop gap not a solution.

          you want to limit bandwidth - allow all the set top boxes to be buffers/nodes and do a massive bit-torrent style network..

    • The whole point of streaming (well other than maybe to pay less than cable/satellite) is on demand. You watch what you want when you want. That the the reason Netflix's streaming is so damn popular. You get to choose what it is you want and it starts and stops at your pleasure.

      Can't do that with multi-cast.

      • The point is that the parent poster is making refers to live TV stations. As in, watching a sports event live, or a 1,000 other things that people rather watch live, if for no other reason than to keep from reading spoilers before they get it from their DVR.

        I agree, I really wish the Mbone actually connected to ISPs, but they don't use it. Even if Xbox and the TV station supported it, the ISPs won't simply because they can't figure out how to bill each other for 1 stream that goes to 100,000 endpoints.

      • You could still hook a DVR up to the multicast stream, and time-shift it that way.
    • Some streaming protocols, like HTTP live streaming [], can work well with common techniques like content delivery networks and transparent caching [] to allow content distributors or ISPs to reduce network load by moving popular content closer to the endpoints.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone does that in Portugal.
    You can download a software to your xbox that allows it to work as a TV Box for their IPTV service.
    The download costs 10€.

    If you can live with the noise the xbox makes, it's a pretty good deal.

    • I can assure you it'll cost more than that if Microsoft does it :)

      There's quite a few stream things going on, in small set-top-boxes that also allow you to stream videos from a PC (running a DLNA server, like the free and good Tvmobili or PS3MediaServer). Some of these also transparently stream video from the internet too, like youtube and BBC iPlayer.

  • Its ok they will screw it up and pirate bay will still be cheaper and easier.

    They trying to change. That's a good sign at least.
    • Microsoft has actually been playing the IP-TV game for some years now []. I can't speak for the quality of their implementation; but it could hardly be worse than a lot of the shit that cable companies manage to ship with a straight face.

      The new development here would be whatever eldrich blood rituals are required to actually get permission from Team Content and the Cable Cartel to do something that might remotely involve change or a hypothetical threat to their revenue and/or serf population.

      That, hones
  • It'll probably only be available to Xbox Gold members. I was pissed when I set up a DD-WRT box to find out that I couldn't even USE netflix, & I'm sure this'll piss off alot of people too.
    • I think you'd be right about that. In Australia streaming Foxtel through your xbox is only for gold members and then you got to pay extra again.

    • It's not fine print. To do anything on Xbox Live, you need to pay for it. If it's not an individual purchase (i.e. I pay 1200 points for DLC or 80 points for a stupid avatar upgrade.) If it's not an individual piece of content at a fixed price, it's part of your $60 dollars a year subscription. The ONLY reason their free accounts exist is so you can make individual purchases from their store.
      • That rationalization might hold if you didn't have to pay for the netflix subscription on top of it. But you do. And your ISP. And you've already paid for the 360 too, so there's really no good justification that you should have to pay XBL, too.

        • That rationalization might hold if you didn't have to pay for the netflix subscription on top of it. But you do. And your ISP. And you've already paid for the 360 too, so there's really no good justification that you should have to pay XBL, too.

          Why stop there? You also have to pay for the electricity. And your house. And taxes. You pay taxes, right? Compared to those things, Live is cheap. How about we make Xbox Live the one thing that we have to pay for and make all those other things free?

          The reason you have to pay Microsoft for XBox Live is that it is an ongoing service that Microsoft provides to its customers. Your ISP provides you with a different, but similar, service. (They don't provide you with matchmaking services or a standardized fri

          • Are you illiterate, or just a troll?

            Reading comprehension, it's a good idea.

            Microsoft doesn't provide the bandwidth for Netflix on the 360. Microsoft doesn't provide the movies. Therefore, IN TERMS OF THIRD PARTY SERVICES (which is what the damn post was about), it makes no sense to only allow it on gold subscriptions.

            • No, they don't really provide anything. It's one of the reasons I haven't touched my Xbox since I bought a PS3 over a year ago, because I don't play online games enough to justify $60 a year to Microsoft just for Netflix and ESPN.

              Netflix is free (other than their subscription) and Hulu is also free (again, I think you have to be a Hulu Plus member), which isn't even available on the Xbox yet. I don't have to pay some fee to the gatekeeper to use a service where their only involvement is blessing the icon in

    • Agreed. I emailed Microsoft criticizing the need to have a paid XBox Live Gold account just so I could use my paid Netflix membership on an XBox 360. My 360 is almost always turned off now and Wii/PS3 get all the use.

      • The problem is that the vast majority of Xbox Live users, or should I say console scum, don't know any better and happily fork it over.

        Please note that I don't mean that all console gamers are console scum. Just the stupid ones that pay for things that should be free....and that are causing the dumbing down of games.

        Ah well...lowest common denominator. I am so glad that Portal 2 didn't suck. I would have taken a hostage.
    • In addition the xbox is a horrible device to use to watch movies because it's so damn loud. It sounds like a jet taking off which is fine during action flicks, but not something you want whirring in the background during dialog.

      When my xbox live gold account ran out instead of spending $60 on it again, I just bought an apple tv 2 for $99. It streams netflix great and is much better from a usage standpoint (the remote is simple, the device is tiny, and it's silent). I assume a Roku or similar device woul

  •'ve been able to stream Sky on the XBox in the UK for years. Why is this a big deal?
    • by benbean ( 8595 )

      For which you have to already have a full monthly Sky subscription, meaning your TV already has a Sky box on it perfectly capable of showing these channels, and an Xbox Live Gold account. Hardly a great deal.

      • Nope, you can subscribe to Sky Player separately - you don't need a Sky box or a dish or whatever. There's a link on the front page: []
        • by benbean ( 8595 )

          That's for a very limited subset of channels though compared to the dish packages.

    • The US has lower multi room fees most then others.

      SKY multi room is a rip off at 25 pounds + 10 pounds HD fee per box after box 1 and box 1 needs it own HD fee as well.

      canada is the best buy the box pay no rent and no outlet on most systems some make you pay like $5 to have more then 3 boxes.

  • And if we can get everyone streaming TV, then the govt can sell off the rest of the broadcast tv spectrum for yet more $$$
    • I'm not impressed by the current "Let's sell it to the telcos for rather less than it is worth; because Ma Bell knows best!" strategy for spectrum re-allocation; but I can't say that I'd be sad to see the end of the rather ghastly waste of high quality spectrum that is legacy broadcasting.
  • by stootles ( 100640 ) on Monday April 25, 2011 @05:38AM (#35927580)

  • Another shitty US-only feature paid for by Gold subscribers from all over the world. I'm still not renewing my subscription. Try harder.
  • by dorward ( 129628 ) on Monday April 25, 2011 @06:15AM (#35927686) Homepage Journal

    We (in the UK) have had Sky Player on XBox for ages. I'm amazed America doesn't have anything similar already.

    • by Amouth ( 879122 )

      Sky is flawed in that you already have to have a set-top box and full package.

      what i want is to select and pay for only the channels i want to watch - sorry i don't need 100-200+ different channels - i watched a total of 3 when i had cable.. one was broadcast the other two was cable only.. when they started selling their shows on Amazon/iTunes i cut cable and went to Broadcast + Netflix and haven't looked back once.

    • I'm amazed America doesn't have anything similar already.

      How many years have we been friends??? It's like you don't know us at all. ::sulk::

  • Elektro-top [] - rating electrotechnical sites
  • If you have U-verse you can get this xbox thing that basically turns it into a u-verse receiver/dvr (using the xbox hard drive). Sadly they charge $99 for this, versus a monthly fee of like $5 for another unit. I guess it would pay for itself eventually. Or if you somehow had a TV with only one input it could be worth it. They advertise not having to use the source select button on your tv remote as a feature. Its not a $99 feature. Also you can stream a lot of ESPN content via Xbox Live... not t
    • Yes, but the big deal is a la carte pricing - instead of paying for channels you don't want, you might just buy the ones you're interested in - which the cable companies have said repeatedly is impossible.

      • They say it's impossible because the content owners won't allow them to sell one channel at a time. They are told that they can sell a whole block of channels or none. I don't see this changing with streaming too much. You'll end up paying for shows you don't want through increased rates on shows you do want.

        • This will take legislation to break up. The content providers not only required the cable channels to bundle, but they mandate that you bundle with other content providers. In other words, Disney doesn't just require that you provide EPSN2 with ESPN, or that you provide ESPN Classic with ESPNU, they require that ESPN and ESPN2 be part of the first tier package along with all other first-tier channels. That prevents Dish Network from providing, for example, a Disney-only package, where you don't have to p

          • Yeah, isn't it awesome how they are (or were) pretty much strong arming my Grandmother into paying for ESPN (one of the most expensive basic cable channels there is) when she would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, watch it?
            • You might have her look at Dish's family package, which (if my memory serves) gets rid of things like that in favor of lots of channels that a grandmother might watch (as well as some for her to watch with your kids).

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      which brings up the question, I wonder how AT&T feels about Microsoft going around the Microsoft-AT&T U-verse packaging to pull this off? Considering the billions paid to them for all U-verse, now late it was and how it was locked into Microsoft's software. It has to sting some.

  • What's the point? I already have TV on my TV... and it doesn't eat up all of my bandwidth.

  • I use TVersity to stream DivX, jpgs and mp3s, Hulu, YouTube, Joost, etc to any TV in my house by using an XBox 360 attached to the TV. It works fantastically. Another streaming service would be welcome as well, but to be honest, I already have over 2 TB of content on my local server for my family to watch including just about every kid's movie ever made along with every good kids cartoon ever made.
  • If the Xbox Live network gets attacked like the Playstation Network, then all Internet services to the device will be just as useful as Netflix is on my PS3 at the moment. Sigh
    • Netflix is still working on the PS3 with PSN have to click through a few error messages but then it loads normally.

  • Implement this and in a flash you'll see throttling and bandwidth caps galore - bet on it! That said, I might actually use my 360 more often if this were deployed and it gave me more control than I have now with cable and my Tivo...

  • These future events will impact you in the future!

  • If 99% of the US internet is through a major telecorp or CABLE SYSTEM, and they already have a CABLE BOX which streams digital TV to my set, who is this market meant for again? I mean, why would I want a streaming TV cable box where it's hooked up to a system which already has such a device?
    • by rwv ( 1636355 )

      Cable companies are good at managing the wires from the content provides to your home. They suck at being able to manage the content that flows across those wires. If Microsoft is competing with Hulu and Netflix, power to them. They are not competing with Comcast or Verizon. Those companies are losing Cable Subscribers in large quantities because Hulu and Netflix offer better service (or at the very least, better PRICED service) than traditional Cable + DVR + Pay-Per-View plans.

      It'll be fun to watch t

    • I believe it's meant for people that have cut the cable, because cable TV is ridiculously overpriced. The number of people leaving cable for Netflix/Hulu streaming is growing quite nicely.

  • I'm not being facetious here but I see all of these comments about using the 360 as a Netflix streaming device and nearly all of them are complaining about fan noise. Am I the only one with an Xbox360 Elite that has competent fans that don't sound like 'jets taking off?' Granted, I'm on 360 #4, so I'm not saying the 360 is a magnificient piece of hardware by any means, but when I use it to watch Netflix (my HTPC is having a stuttering problem with Netflix, cant figure it out. Might need more RAM) it makes
  • Not a single mention of the National Association of Broadcasters, who represent the people who own the broadcast television stations throughout the US? Do you really think CBS is going to abandon its hundreds of affiliate stations, not to mention its owned-and-operated stations in major markets, to funnel TV programming to XBox users? The broadcasters have fought many battles with cable television operators over, first, the "must-carry" rules [], then later "retransmission consent."

    Slashdot commentators cont

  • MS's dumb insistence on not letting the awesome BBC iPlayer on Xbox in the UK shows how late and asshat backwards the company is here. Plus, after the Sony hack/outage ( are these walled gardens really to be trusted anymore? Why would I risk my entertainment in one zone that can be crippled for a week or longer?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can bet this is going to be rife with unskippable commercials.

  • Throttling and Port improve your user experience of course.

  • Why not give people an internet browser so they can freely surf the net for various options rather than forcing them into a gold membership for free services like facebook and twitter?

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger