Back in June at their E3 Media Briefing Microsoft announced that a TV service would be coming to the Xbox 360. This addition would bring the Xbox 360 one step closer to being your sole entertainment source in your home theater. Since the announcement we haven’t heard much other then that Microsoft was working to bring numerous content partners to the table. Today a full, or update list of content providers/partners was announced by Major Nelson:
Entertainment Partners on Xbox 360 (Existing and New)
• ABC iView – Australia
• AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K.
• Antena 3 – Spain
• Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
• AT&T** – U.S.
• BBC – U.K.
• blinkbox – U.K.
• Bravo – U.S.
• BSkyB** – U.K.
• Canal+* – France, Spain
• Channel 4 – U.K.
• Channel 5 – U.K.
• CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
• Comcast – U.S.
• Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
• Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
• EPIX – U.S.
• ESPN** – U.S.
• Facebook** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• FOXTEL** – Australia
• GolTV – Spain
• HBO GO – U.S.
• Hulu – Japan
• Hulu +**– U.S.
• iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.
• Last.fm** – U.K., U.S.
• LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
• Manga Entertainment – U.S.
• Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
• Mediaset – Italy
• MSN with MSNBC.com – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
• MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
• Netflix**– Canada, U.S.
• Rogers On Demand Online (RODO) – Canada
• RTVE – Spain
• SBS On Demand – Australia
• Syfy – U.S.
• Telefonica – Spain
• Televisa – Mexico
• “The Today Show” – U.S.
• TELUS** – Canada
• TMZ – U.S.
• Twitter** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• UFC – Canada, U.S.
• Verizon – U.S.
• VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
• VimpelCom** – Russia
• Vodafone Portugal** – Portugal
• YouTube – Available in 22 markets
• ZDF – Germany
• Zune** – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain
* Xbox LIVE Gold membership and/or other subscriptions/fees required. Kinect functionality varies by feature, provider and region.
** Denotes existing partners on Xbox LIVE available today.
Now while I love the fact that more and more of the video and music content I want is becoming accessible on more devices, there is still a major hurdle that blocks this and many other on-demand and streaming services from landing on our TV’s. And that is our ISPs and cable providers. While Comcast and Verizon are fairly large service providers in the scheme of things this new service is only going to be available to a small number of Xbox 360 owners. While the official details on the way the system will work are still up in the air, more then likely it will be similar to HBO-Go, ESPN 3, Turner Streaming and the many other offerings that content providers will like to offer you. Basically the video arrives at your device through your internet connection, however if your ISP doesn’t support the service then the service will be blocked by the ISP. As it stands right now it looks like Comcast(Xfinity), AT&T and Verizon customers will be the only people getting access to Xbox 360 TV. FOr the rest of us like myself who have HBO or the other pay-tv channels that offer “on the go” services can not access them because my cable company/ISP doesn’t, A want to pay the fees and/or B doesn’t want the service to take up bandwidth, more then likely it’s A as we get some beefy connections.
So while on the surface this new Xbox TV service sounds great, the problem is the majority of Xbox users won’t be able to use it. And this can be a double edge sword for Microsoft as a large group of their user base might not be happy that there is once again this functionality out there dangled in their face but they can’t get to it because of their ISPs.
*UPDATE* I didn’t even think about the money part of all these new partnerships. Obviously content providers aren’t going to be giving their content away for free. How will Xbox 360 TV affect Xbox Live Gold Pricing? If prices go up will every suffer, even the majority of Xbox Live Subscribers who won’t be able to access any of this new content?
I think Microsoft’s time and money would be much better spent creating original groundbreaking games, you know the content that every Xbox owner can enjoy no matter what, and I don’t mean another HALO sequel, I mean new games that are epic and….new. While some of you out there will be lucky in getting some awesome video content, hell the UFC content sounds great, the majority of us will be once again sitting on the sidelines just like with ESPN on our Xboxs.