Microsoft preparing video subscription service for Xbox LIVE

By Tom Warren, on 8th Jul 11 5:27 pm with 47 Comments

New Xbox Dashboard

Microsoft is reportedly working on a new subscription based video service for Xbox LIVE customers.

The Daily claims in an “exclusive” that the software giant is working on a video streaming subscription service. The service has been detailed several times before, known by its codename “Ventura.” The Daily’s report suggests that the service will be Zune-branded and a monthly subscription-based plan. The service is clearly a natural fit in Microsoft’s broader entertainment plans for the Xbox 360 later this year.

The software maker recently described Xbox as its entertainment strategy. “The vision for Xbox is straightforward,” said Microsoft’s Frank Shaw. “All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy.” Shaw highlighted the company’s ties with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu as evidence of Xbox’s entertainment strategy. Shaw also hinted that Microsoft will market Xbox as an entertainment brand. “You’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year,” he said in May.

WinRumors understands that the company is working on an Xbox LIVE Diamond service which will include subscription based access to Live TV, video and music services. Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE Diamond TV service has been rumored for months. Codenamed Orapa, the service combines the company’s mediaroom IPTV services and Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE services. The software giant has trademarked Fusion Vault, Fusion Genesis and Fusion Sentient and also owns xboxfusion.com, possibly part of a new entertainment brand. Microsoft is also working on “Ventura”, a set of services being developed by the company’s Entertainment and Devices (E&D) unit. The services will focus on music and video discovery and consumption. “Ventura” also appears to run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud hosting. Little is known about “Ventura” and exactly how it fits into the company’s Zune music and video services.

Whichever way Microsoft decides to steer its entertainment strategy for Xbox, it’s clear that a subscription “all you can eat” package will be appealing for company executives and consumers alike.

  • Alombelino

    If it’s a charge on top of LIVE GOLD I’m not interested.

    • Anonymous

      I accidently liked your comment when trying to reply.

      Diamond > Gold … Not sure if you realize that, just in case, yes a charge on top of the service you already have will be applied for more service. That is usually how things work. The more money, the more services and vice versa.

    • Alombelino

      Seeing as how video chat is already possible, why pay more?

    • Anonymous

      You’re paying for the right to watch the media, think of the extra cost as the money you pay for Netflix or Zune pass.

    • Anonymous

      Except that I shouldn’t have to pay for being able to watch Netflix on my XBOX since I already pay for Netflix! The fact that I have to pay for XBOX GOLD in order to see my already paid for Netflix is simply a rip-off! MS charges you money for services they don’t provide!

    • Anonymous

      From where have you heard that you need Diamond Pass to watch Netflix? The way I see it the Diamond Pass is Microsofts alternative to Netflix.

    • Anonymous

      Did I say DIAMOND PASS? I was talking about XBOX GOLD. First read and comprehend, then reply. :)

    • Anonymous

      You don’t have to pay for Gold to Watch Netflix.  You have to pay for Gold to play games and all the other Gold features.  Netflix just happens to come along with that for free. ;)

    • Anonymous

      You don’t have to pay for Gold to Watch Netflix.  You have to pay for Gold to play games and all the other Gold features.  Netflix just happens to come along with that for free. ;)

    • Anonymous

      Except that XBLG offers a TON more than just access to use your Netflix account on your 360.  If that’s the only thing you’re using it for, no it’s not worth it.  But you’re also missing out on a ton of cool stuff.

    • Anonymous

      While you are required to have gold to view Netflix content on your 360, I’m only 100% certain neither you, nor anyone else, subscribe to gold just to view Netflix content.  If you’re already a gold subscribing, or subscribed so you can play games, video/party chat, etc… then how are you getting ripped off by being required to have someone you already have to view certain content (especially given you can view the other content on other devices)?

      There are plenty of other rip-offs in this world much more worthy of getting one’s panties in a bind over.  What about cable movie channels that you can only subscribe to if you have pay for certain cable packages?  You’re getting worked up over a $5/month subscription (or less if you happen to grab XBL Gold during a sale) to view your $10/month content (that can be viewed on other devices without the $5/month subscription).  Man, what a ripoff

    • Anonymous

      Video chat is just a little software update compared to the add-on of streaming TV.

      In a video chat you watch your friend, who obviously does not charge you to watch them. However, a TV station like NBC will charge people to watch their shows… same with Netflix… Hulu… I hope you get the point.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Marston/542557737 Jonathan Marston

      I’d gladly pay on top of my gold subscription if it includes everything I watch for less than the $80/month I pay to my cable TV provider. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mitch-Foster/100000527225418 Mitch Foster

      I can’t wait to see how much the bundle costs, I don’t think it should be horribly expensive…

      I’ll pay $300 a year for everything, maybe more haha (because then my only other expense would be internet; one stop shopping!)

    • http://profiles.google.com/blueandwhite89 Daniel Purdham

      It might include xbox live service into the package but dont expect to get live tv, music, movies for $5 a month on xbox live..

  • GP007

    Well people with a Zune Pass have been calling for a video pass as well, and if the price is right, maybe $25 a month for a new Zune pass that’s Music+videos then hell, i’d sign up probably.

    But man, they upped the price of Gold already to $60 a year, now are they going to tack on more?  I think it’s time they give something more to current gold members without adding extra costs.  Hell, maybe a limited version of this for all gold members with the full “unlimited” diamond tier for like, $80 or something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Marston/542557737 Jonathan Marston

      Gold is only $5/month, so it’s not that bad. And as long as it has a good selection of content I’d gladly pay as much as $60/month for a good on-demand subscription service that includes live content like sporting events, news, etc (which they said is coming at E3). I would love to cancel my TV service from my price-gouging TV provider!

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      Well you’d be paying for more service so you’ll be paying more money.  I do like the idea of limited use for Gold users though.

    • trashoner

      so you’re saying you are only willing to pay $20 more a year for a services that will allow you to part from your current cable company? you are crazy! I would pay up to 35 bucks a month more just to get rid of my dish and go all internet (but it would have to carry all of my channels though.)

      I hate the fact that I have to pay dish over 50 + bucks for channels I don’t give a crap about.

  • Anonymous

    Video Zune Pass! :-D

  • Guest

    Let me guess: US only to start. Then after about two years, if we’re lucky, support for some major western european countries and Canada.

    • http://www.spicytricks.com/ Raja

      Yes You are right

    • http://twitter.com/ObieOdot Gabriel

      That US only policy sucks!!!

    • Anonymous

      Blame the media companies and their draconian licensing policies.  They are the ones who are screwing the other countries.

    • Guest

      And people wonder why Apple wins…

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, because Apple is all over TV, right? GTFO.

      AppleTV is jack sh*t compared to Xbox. Forget the games, Xbox pwns AppleTV in all things media related.

  • Anonymous

    Frontier Communication caps my internet usage to 100GB per month. Otherwise, I have to pay the business rate of $100 bucks for internet. Sadly because of my internet cap, I cannot take advantage of these video subscription services.

  • Anonymous

    Frontier Communication caps my internet usage to 100GB per month. Otherwise, I have to pay the business rate of $100 bucks for internet. Sadly because of my internet cap, I cannot take advantage of these video subscription services.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Shaw/1356126638 Mark Shaw

    Honesetly… iptv is horrendous due to compression.

    Should they have a nice little cable card add on… now we are talking.

    Grant it.. my htpc running media center would look at me with confusion.

    • Anonymous

      They should bring this to the PC aswell.

  • Anonymous

    From what I heard, the TV-part that they showed off at E3 actually needed a normal TV-box/subscription.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t had Cable TV for over 5 years and I can’t wait to see Cable TV just die in ashes… 

    We don’t need 2 Hours of TV to watch 1.5 hour movie. 

  • http://twitter.com/jimmyfal Jimmy Fallon

    Media player, Media Center, Zune, can we just decide on ONE brand please? And shouldn’t the Zune on the XBOX look like the Zune on the phone and the pc? Shouldn’t i be able to play my playlists etc.? Lets get this integration ball going ASAP.

    • GP007

      Well, since they’re redoing the 360 dashboard overall, maybe they’re going to update the Zune “app” on the 360 to?  We’ll have to wait and see.

  • Anonymous

    Cant wait to see it!

  • Anonymous

    Got damn, I pay for Zune, then have to pay for Gold membership to stream my Zune music through my XBOX. I pay for Netflix and must have Gold membership to use it. I’m just waiting for Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer to show up at my house, pick me up, turn me upside down, and start shaking me to get the change out my pockets.

    • Anonymous

      Oh noes!  You have to pay $3 a month for a gaming service.  The horror!

    • Anonymous

      Oh noes!  You have to pay $3 a month for a gaming service.  The horror!

  • Anonymous

    I hope this comes through. I want to dump my $80/month cable TV service so badly.

  • Anonymous

    I want a unified Zune Music + Video + Xbox Live Gold option. That would be incredible :D

  • trashoner

    I can’t wait to ditch the dish!

    I have been trying so far with Netflix and Hulu Plus with no happy feelings at the end of the day :(
    I just need something else to complete the online TV experience.

  • Anonymous

    Based on MS VP Mike Delman’s interview last month, Xbox Live TV will partner with “…either a satellite broadcast company or a cable company”. Which means the Live TV service will be crippled by design. Cable companies are not going to allow a service that will replace them. So, unfortunately don’t expect a game changing service. 

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    Well, the rumor has been around for over a year already. But like i said on twitter as plausible confirmations that it is indeed bound to happen this year:

    Take in count that yes Mediaroom/Silverlight for the Xbox is looming closer and that Microsoft was outed as one of the suitor interested in buying Hulu. 

    But otherwise a Zune Video Pass for both the 3 screens sounds like a no brainer given the content that Zune Video already got. The price is the thing. It should match Netflix, but given that the Music pass is $15, i would not expect for the Video Pass to be any less than $15. For me the most important would be they releasing it here in Mexico. Now that Netflix is coming to Mexico and latinoamerica later this year and the fact that Zune Video rentals is available here. We at least got a better chance of getting the Video Pass sooner if it is indeed released this year.

    Of course the better outcome would be Microsoft buying Hulu, then things would really get very interesting and generally better for everyone in the Microsoft Ecosystem..

  • Anonymous

    Really ?Why did Microsoft prepare video subscription service for Xbox LIVE?It is interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/IGXChristoph Christoph Hernandez

    If it was available in Canada I would definitely be down with this, but Microsoft is strictly US only for many features. Stupid licences.

  • Morgan

    If this includes movies then I can cancel my Netfix. I am tired of stereo only sound instead of 5.1 surround on it anyway.

  • Morgan

    If this includes movies then I can cancel my Netfix. I am tired of stereo only sound instead of 5.1 surround on it anyway.