Microsoft reportedly exploring partnership with Comcast and Verizon for Xbox TV

By Tom Warren, on 19th Sep 11 6:54 pm with 33 Comments

Xbox LIVE TV service

Microsoft is reportedly working to secure partnership deals with Comcast and Verizon for its upcoming Xbox TV streaming service.

The software giant originally announced its plans for an Xbox TV service at the E3 entertainment expo earlier this year. The company revealed it was partnering with a number of content providers to stream live TV to the Xbox and planned to announce several partnerships soon. Microsoft has yet to officially confirm which partners will power its TV service in the U.S. but tech site DigiDay reported on Monday that the company is in talks with cable distributor Comcast and Verizon Fios.

Microsoft is looking to use the Xbox as a distribution device for cable TV and is reportedly working to secure lucrative deals with the biggest cable TV providers in the United States. One of DigiDay’s sources mentioned that both deals are imminent, perhaps to be complete within a month. DigiDay also claims that Microsoft is also looking to partner 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.

Microsoft has been in talks with media companies to produce the  TV service for its Xbox console. Microsoft is proposing a “virtual cable operator” which will be delivered over the Internet and charged with a monthly fee. The software maker has also suggested that cable companies could use the Xbox as a device to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows and interact with their Xbox LIVE friends. 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.

Microsoft refused to comment on the Comcast and Verizon reports. A Microsoft spokesperson said: “As we announced at E3, we are committed to bringing TV entertainment to Xbox around the world through partnerships with industry leading operator and content partners. We look forward to sharing more partner news in the near future, but we have nothing to announce at this time.”

  • Morgan

    I have little hope that Time Warner will be part of this. They still are not even offering ESPN360. Says coming soon which it has said for over a year. If it isn’t going to happen I just wish they would flat out tell us.

    • Anonymous

      i’m on a smaller local high speed internet provider (for a major city) and they will probably not make a deal. Their only competition is Time Warner… in other words not much to compete with

  • http://www.timsmithmma.com Tim Smith

    Hopefully they work something out with Cox, otherwise this is useless for me.

    • Guest

      Gee, what was MS thinking when they didn’t make your needs their first priority?

    • http://www.timsmithmma.com Tim Smith

      I can’t decide if you’re a troll or retarded. Maybe both.

    • Guest

      you need a third option: somebody who is tired of hearing dipshits like you say “that doesn’t work for me so it’s useless”.

    • http://www.timsmithmma.com Tim Smith

      How about being tired of retards with poor reading comprehension like yourself? I said it’s useless for ME, you retard. Are you that stupid? You can’t be. I refuse to believe a person is that stupid. If I can’t use something then it is in fact useless for me. That’s kind of how the word useless works.

    • Butthole

      Hi my name is Tim Smith and the world revolves around me.  Idiot…

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

    I’m on Cox right now, but I’ll probably base my future TV provider on who Microsoft makes a deal with. If they get Cox, I’ll be staying with Cox, if they get U-Verse I’ll be switching to U-Verse…

  • Guest

    I guess this is part of how Ballmer plans to deliver that dramatic increase in Xbox content that he was promising last week.

  • Spartansoulja

    I think MS will eventually partner with Netflix/Hulu and buy rights to sports broadcasts as well once there is a large enough audience to make it profitable or at least worth trying. Think about it: TNT’s NBA deal was about $360 till 2008 (new deal hasnt been disclosed). I would think the other 3 leagues would be the same as well which means it will cost them about $1.5 billion to licence it all, plus a bit more for college sports. Being able to show targeted ads (and maybe a percentage to the leagues a la Hulu?) would be good enough to woo them.

    • Spartansoulja

      *360 million not $360 lol

    • Guest

      And Reed Hastings sits on MS’s board.

    • Anonymous

      Why partner with Netfix/Hulu? They don’t own any content and would actually be competitors to the xbox service.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BrunoGTs Bruno Barbosa

    well for people like me that have verizon fios,would i be able to use my xbox360 as a setup box?

    • Guest

      MS has already done it with some telco carriers, although in those instances I believe the 360 can’t yet be your primary set-top box (it has to be a secondary one). So it’s possible.

    • Anonymous

      That’s the main benefit I could see from this.  Verizon charges 10 or 15 dollars a month per box, right?  Not having to pay that crap might actually convince me to get FIOS TV.

  • Anonymous

    If the My DVR and TV Listings tiles can serve up content from a TV Tuner on a PC with WMC, are we even going to see WMC on Xbox?  We sure as heck wouldn’t need it for anything…

  • Anonymous

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo  I don’t want to be stuck with carriers or forced to subscribe to packaged services!

  • Anonymous

    Is it too early to bitch and moan about Microsoft not catering to their non-US customers yet?

    • Oiler_head

      I thought that when MS annouced the service, the annoucement centered around partnerships with European (British?) TV providers.  So I don’t think this is a US first thing although it would be foolish for them not to work hard to secure US partnerships to launch the same time as European ones.

    • Anonymous

      I guess they have their partnership with BBC iPlayer (on Media Center, I don’t know about XBOX). I just get increasingly frustrated by regional restrictions online. The internet isn’t divided into countries, it IS a country!

    • http://twitter.com/DHRYDER305 Junior

      yes it is

  • Anonymous

    Partnering with cable companies is like making a deal with the devil. Cable companies want the monthly fee from a dumb set top box. What incentive do they have to support Xbox 100%?? You’ll get limited content from cable weasels.

    • Anonymous

      my thoughts exactly, this partnership would suck and suck big time.  ATT already blew it with uverse, why would comcast give a crap and why would ANYONE want to be tied to an increasingly expensive and pretty bad tv lineup of shows they don’t watch at all?  I just want discovery channel, nick kids and thats about it.

  • http://twitter.com/Vanno94 Divanno Davis

    i think microsoft should of just gone and become a cabel company and go right to the content providers and stream the live tv over the internet through xbox  

  • Oiler_head

    So now that Verizon pulled out off Oregon (Portland is apparantly a small rural community), are FIOS customers basically screwed?  If so, I’ll either stick with the cut the cable model or go to Comcast if it is a feasible option (which we all know it won’t be).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198150213 Joe Murray

    Verizon won’t support the Windows Phone but they’ll support this?  They are seriously pissing me off!  FiOS and Verizon Wireless user. 

  • Anonymous

    Does this mean I won’t be able to subscribe to the channels I want?  That’s the reason I hate cable.

  • Anonymous

    Sound exciting! If Microsoft can find a way to integrate Hulu & Netflix into this, it’s gold!

  • Matt Kaufman

    Just so you know, the Xbox Live Diamond card has not been discontinuted. It’s still an active and running program. =]

  • http://profiles.google.com/esteban.ocr Esteban Gonzalez

    not too excited about this one at first glance.  would prefer deals with individual channels instead of the whole cable company.  xbox could be the first one to offer a la carte channel subscriptions.

  • Mr

    Would so love this!