Microsoft expected to announce Xbox TV channels later today

By Tom Warren, on 5th Oct 11 10:36 am with 23 Comments

Xbox LIVE TV service

Microsoft is believed to be readying an announcement of its Xbox TV channels later today.

The software maker is working on deals with Comcast and Verizon to provide TV channels through its Xbox LIVE service. Microsoft originally announced its plans for an Xbox TV service at the E3 gaming conference this year. The company revealed it was partnering with a number of content providers to stream live TV to the Xbox. Microsoft is expected to officially confirm its launch partners on Wednesday for its Xbox TV service.

Microsoft will announce the deals later today according to All Things Digital. Microsoft plans to offer music, sports, movies and TV shows in the U.S. and Europe. The deals will involve channels like HBO, Sony’s Crackle service, Bravo, Syfy and LoveFilm being made available on the Xbox LIVE TV service. Microsoft is also rumored to be working on partnerships with TV manufacturers, including Samsung. The alleged plan would see Microsoft supply a Windows Live gaming hub to be pre-installed on Samsung TVs that support a web connection. The software giant is not likely to announce the rumored deals on Wednesday however.

Microsoft offers a similar service in the UK where Sky customers can use their Xbox LIVE avatars during sporting events. Xbox LIVE subscribers will likely be charged a premium subscription cost (think monthly) which includes access to the Xbox LIVE Gold features and streaming TV. Microsoft also tried to woo Conan O’Brien into its Xbox LIVE subscription TV service last year.

The Xbox TV service is expected to be rolled into a new Xbox LIVE Diamond subscription. The diamond name comes from the original “Orapa” codename for Xbox TV. The name is based on a small town in the Central District of Botswana. Orapa is the site of one of the biggest diamond mines in the world. Microsoft previously introduced an Xbox LIVE Diamond card in December, 2005. The card gave Xbox LIVE paid subscribers exclusive access to benefits and discounts from stores, restaurants and retailers. The card was eventually discontinued.

  • Sunny Singh

    Can you really call Xbox just a “gaming console” now? Seriously, awesome improvements, can’t wait.
    Although my Google TV can already do most of this.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. I think it’s time Microsoft started marketing Xbox to non-gamers. They should make an Xbox TV bundle with a remote control. Third party apps and a web browser would also be nice. Microsoft has to keep innovating quickly or else they’ll lose their position to Apple and Google in home entertainment like they did in the mobile space.

    • Monkey D Black

      they would need to work on power usage though. can’t be using up all that power just to watch tv.

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      well they announced xbox360 always as ”Xbox 360 is the future-generation video game and entertainment system”

      now people understand clearly why they added “entertainment system” with all these features.

      even someone complained about Microsoft not focusing only xbox360 as a gaming console. but like you see, they never really said it was a gaming console only, they always hinted it was more than that.

  • Anonymous

    What I really would like to see, is that MS has inked a deal that not only covers the XBox, but also covers WP7 and potentially Windows 8 so you can get access to the video content across all 3 screens. I think this can be done if its tied to the Zune or XBox Live Gold subscription. If so, it could truly be an awesome feature to the MS ecosystem.

    • J A

      Inking a deal is for all three screens since it is Xbox Live. Have you forgottent Xbox Live, which is already on Xbox 360 and WP will be on all three screens once Win8 drops, since it is getting built into the OS?

    • Anonymous

      That’s why I brought it up, but there is no guarantee that they will do this for anything but the XBox 360 especially since WP7.5 Mango was released and this capability was not included by default in the Music and Video Hub, we don’t know if or how it would work on the phone. An app would be nice, but built in service would have been better. Tango anyone?  Content providers are always skittish about accessing video services on PCs since it has a tendency to have someone figure out a way to infringe copyright and distribute it. MS also has to take into consideration the carriers for mobile and internet providers for PCs to get this working properly and not have the service throttled or outright killed with the obvious bandwidth this would consume. Also since they are setting up cloud services to add capabilities such as pausing a game on the console and resume on either the PC or WP, I’d love it if they added this functionality to the Live TV capability as well.

  • GP007

    Xbox is the entertainment service itself, like Zune is the music service.   People need to start thinking of the 360 as the console and Xbox the platform which covers Live gaming and media etc.     This is also why I expect the next Xbox console won’t just be called Simply Xbox ### or w/e, but They could give it it’s own stand alone name to make the distinction greater.   Think like the PSP Vita, it’s just called the Vita.     MS will follow the same concept I bet.

  • Fludlyt

    I’d be happy if there’s a surprise in the announcement and they give UK customers BBC iPlayer and 4OD. 

  • JKY

    Most people in the UK would rather have BBC iPlayer than Sky… but Microsoft wont do it, no money it in. Them buggers. 

    • Arne Helseth

      Wrong, the Beeb won’t do it as Microsoft requires added-value content like this to require a Gold XBL membership – this contradicts the BBCs broadcasting license terms.

  • OMG55

    MS need to tell the new hiree (the marketing specialist they hired from Disney) to get off his @ss and market our product in good TV ads on major networks and via the new media as well. I’m so sick of seeing ipad commercials and update on apple products everyone morning on FOX 26 news. Oh yeah and also on MSN when you go to tech news (Isn’t msn a joint venture between MS and another company?)….If it is, why would’t MS advertise information concerning its product and my other companies products somewhere in smaller  print on the site??? MS board needs to start stepping on people to get this done the right way.

    • Anonymous

      Patience grasshopper.

  • chintu

    please be g4v

  • Jason Boyd

    My prediction is that the service (like many of the 360′s add-on services are) will be U.S. only. Thus causing the large amount of 360 users in other parts of the world to be irate :)

    • nicke

      I’m so angry at MS. In large parts of Europe we have limited services in Xbox and wp7. No Zune, no tv service. We just got marketplace for wp7.
      Its time for MS to do more for us or I’m leaving MS, buying a ps3 and a iPhone.

    • Adam Paris

      Go buy a ps3 and iphone. We dont care about you. ;)

      If you think Apple or Sony is better at licenses you are living in a strange dream.

    • Emi Cyberschreiber

      because thats how this world works….
      licenses and stuff like that.

      Microsoft has an European versión because someone bitched about Windows having Windows media player.
      even spotify took long time to get in US.

      if Microsoft wanted they would have their service for all the world. but if they cant do it fast… they nor anyone cant.
      so stop making Xbox360 better specially when they sell more in US only because other countries dont allow alot of stuff?

      even in YouTube sometimes i cant watch alot of videos. not that i use YouTube much but sometimes someone sends me a link and since im not from that country i cant watch it.
      i cant even use Vevo from here.
      and i have wanted to watch a lot of videos from news and video sites, these reality shows videos. and they dont work either.

      so its bad? yeah is bad, but if a country or a record company or whatever dont allow Microsoft do something… they cant do much about. they cant force it.

  • Keithfranklin

    So at what event is MS going to release the information? What time?

  • Anonymous

    So will I be able to subscribe to the channels I want or not?  I don’t want another cable provider thart forces me to pay $80/month for 200 channels I don’t watch.

  • adam

    is x-box gonna make a deal with virgin?

  • Ef Jay

    WP7 integration from day 1 needs to happen.

  • Guest

    This is great news.  In the US, I use AT&T’s Uverse service to view cable channels on Xbox, and to bring together all our media in the house via one xbox connected per television.  It is fantastic to have all our media available on all our television screens throughout the house (via windows home server, and a second server dedicated to delivering movies throughout the house).  Windows home server also provides automatic backups of all 6 PCs in the house – so our data is safe, and bare-metal restores are easier when the wife or kids mess something up beyond repair.  I’d really like to use windows server 2010 to provide better access control (of our wifi), authentication, and easier management/upgrades of software we use in our home (e.g. MS office, adobe production suite, and some other tools), but AT&Ts internet access doesn’t play well with Active Directory (I’d love to know if anyone has got this working – the problem is caused by uverse, microsoft tv, and windows server - MSFT, Get this fixed, please!!!.  When windows 8 rolls out, we’ll be giving our children touchscreen netbooks/laptops (like the dell insipirion duo) for their games, movies, and educational software – this will be especially helpful when we travel for entertainment and keeping up with school, etc.  In my view, the only pieces missing are a VOIP system more attuned to the needs of a home/home office and home automation (something like the now defunct Premise Systems or MControl from Embedded Automation (good, and getting better)).  It might seem like overkill, but all these systems work together to make things easier around the house.  I’m glad to see microsoft finally tieing its consumer products toghether in a more compelling way, now if they’d only tie this to their enterprise stuff so it all worked seamlessly like this video…. cool, cool, cool!