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Xbox 360 Receiving Heavy Dose of TV Content

Microsoft reveals a list of providers coming to their gold service.

At this year's E3, Microsoft announced plans to take another step towards dominance over the living room with their Xbox 360 and Xbox Live service. The company planned to bring live TV to the service, further enhancing the varied offering which includes the likes of Netflix, Hulu+, and Twitter. Today, a list of current planned content providers were revealed for both live TV and video on demand.

Given the programming differences around the world, each region will be subject to content from different providers. Additionally, depending on the service, players may need to invest more dollars to access the provided content. For US 360 owners with Xbox Live Gold accounts, HBO, Bravo, Syfy, BBC, and even The Today Show will be offered. The UK will see the BBC, Channel 4 & 5, and Crackle.

Verizon and Comcast cable subscribers will be able to access "a selection of popular live TV channels" in addition to the on demand content from the various other providers.

Microsoft has yet to offer a firm release date for the service update, but it should be expected this holiday alongside the dashboard update with the new Metro UI. Rumors have indicated a November 15 release date, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.

The full listing of providers is as follows:

  • 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.
  •** - U.K., U.S.
  • LOVEFiLM - Germany, U.K.
  • Manga Entertainment - U.S.
  • Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports - Canada
  • MediaSet - Italy
  • MSN with - 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. 



Jason Ross Senior Editor

10/05/2011 at 02:49 PM

I'm absolutely not as excited about this as a should be. I cut my cable nearly a year ago, and watch my own DVDs and regular ol' Hulu at this point in time for entertainment. As it stands, websites that offer television content on the web are trending toward requiring some sort of cable package or extra subscription fee to see the show shortly after it airs. Dish Network subscribers get access to more shows and shows sooner than even some hulu plus subscribers. Fox has put all their shows on a one-week delay. Syfy's shows get posted online after their seasons are over.

This seems like an awesome deal, but considering so many of those "Strings attached" networks are on the list, I'm convinced it won't be, and in many cases, several things will require extra subscriptions of some sort. HBO GO, for example, requires customers to have a regular HBO subscription, and will require the same thing when this update goes live.

In that sense, the 360 is adding a bunch of functionality, but it does so at a premium above Xbox Live Gold that doesn't always make sense, similar to how NetFlix on the 360 requires Gold, as does FaceBook and even hulu+. Now, we're seeing a large variety of content providers that are supposedly the reason why Gold went up in price last year, but the reality is that to access these providers, it just means more extra fees and more mishandled services, a la the 360's botched NetFlix program. I say botched because it requires two subscriptions to use, which, looking at the Wii and PS3, makes no sense.

Matt R Staff Alumnus

10/05/2011 at 02:53 PM

360 will let you watch TV on your TV. Take that, Wii U.

Nick DiMola Director

10/05/2011 at 03:10 PM

I agree, Jason. I'm really not all that interested in this myself. I barely watch TV as it is and I have a cable plan already, so what purpose does this serve? This becomes especially true when, like you said, you need yet another subscription to access the content.

Microsoft still has a ways to come before they can get a hold of the living room. For now, I think you'll just see gamers using the Xbox to watch the content, rather than others. In other words, this won't drastically broaden the Xbox market.

Jason Ross Senior Editor

10/05/2011 at 04:59 PM

Well, I also think it's worth noting that the ESPN deal that arose before was drastically different, from what all I can see. For access to ESPN 3 on the 360, it takes XBLG and an internet connection.

What I'd prefer, however, is something a little bit even more piecemeal. Want to play Xbox 360 games offline and use hulu+? Hulu+ subscription is all you need. Want to play games online, but don't need access to facebook on your 360? Oh, hey, just order a Gold account for a real premium price. Want to watch ESPN 3? $5-$10 for a year. It might sound contradictory to what I said above, but it's different.

Rather than blanketing in every cost in a $60 a month plan, why not let people pick what they want to use, and pay for that? I don't care for nonsense about content providers. That's part of the reason I dropped cable: We could get all the channels we didn't want for $70 a month, with just a handful channels we wanted included, too! I decided to switch over to things through the internet because I could pick exactly what I wanted, and take that without more or less. I'd still have cable if I could choose a handful of channels of my own, and not be charged outrageous prices to make up for the fact I don't want all those other ones.

Anyway, this'll all be talked about on tonight's PB & Jason. Maybe I should hold back from posting much more for it...

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