Microsoft Announces TV Deals for Xbox 360; Adds Comcast, Verizon
The Xbox 360 game console will soon be able to bring much more on-demand programming to the living room, as Microsoft has announced agreements with a variety of top-shelf content providers, including Verizon FIOS, Comcast Xfinity, HBO Go, Crackle, Bravo, Syfy, UFC, TMZ, and The Today Show. Viewers in the United Kingdom will get be able to pull content from the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, and Lovefilm.
This isn't a cable-cutting move, however: Xbox owners will need to verify that they have a pay TV account before using the on-demand service. They'll also need an Xbox Live Gold subscription (that goes for $60 per year). So while the additions deliver value and convenience to viewers, those who don't already have an Xbox Live account will need to pay extra.
In a clever add-on, Kinect owners will be able to use gestures and voice commands to access the on-demand content.
"Today's announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy," says Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment at Microsoft. "Combining the world's leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social, and effortless."
Kinect owners will be able to use voice controls to search for and play streaming content.
Viewers will gain greater connected viewing and social viewing options, plus ways to manage infinite choices.
Speculation is that engine will power entertainment discovery on the Xbox, though Microsoft is mum.
Content owners need to manage a variety of tricky relationships in their rush to conquer living room streaming.
Dan Rayburn smashes Apple into applesauce in this demonstration recorded at Streaming Media East.