Xbox LIVE Diamond subscription TV service to debut at E3

By Tom Warren, on 3rd Jun 11 11:16 am with 37 Comments

Microsoft is planning to reveal its Xbox LIVE subscription TV service at E3, WinRumors has learned.

The software giant is close to finishing a key number of components for its full Xbox LIVE subscription TV service. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans revealed to WinRumors that the company is readying a demo for E3. The company is on lockdown for its big announcement and some demos and details might be held back if agreements are not in place in time. “Microsoft is currently in last minute negotiations to secure the necessary agreements in time,” said our anonymous source. “Apple is in a similar position, speaking to several media groups ahead of its iCloud announcement on Monday.”

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. Microsoft is likely to demo deeper integration of its Avatar Kinect service and the company’s new music and video services. Microsoft’s corporate vice president of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, revealed that Xbox will be the company’s entertainment brand earlier this week. Shaw highlighted Microsoft’s investments with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu.

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 Diamond subscribers will likely be charged a premium subscription cost (think monthly) which includes access to the Xbox LIVE Gold features and streaming TV. The streaming TV service will include content from U.S. operators but our source was unsure whether it would be available internationally.

Xbox LIVE Diamond found its named 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 could also be planning to release a number of “Fusion” branded products as early as next week. The software giant has trademarked Fusion Vault, Fusion Genesis and Fusion Sentient and also owns 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 how it fits into the company’s Xbox LIVE Diamond and Zune services.

Microsoft tried to woo Conan O’Brien into its Xbox LIVE subscription TV service last year. The software giant refuses to comment on reports of a TV subscription however. Microsoft is planning to make Xbox LIVE Diamond available in November.

Update: Gameplaytoday also reported earlier this week that the service is named Diamond.

Xbox sports TV interaction

  • Diego3336

    I hope they doesn’t block my US VPN account. I would be very happy to subscribe to this if it work here in Brazil with the VPN as Netflix works ;)

  • Neerav Patel

    And it is games like that which make me hope Arshavin stays and finds his form again.

    But i digress…i would rather see an expanded Zune Pass to encompass the video store as well. £25 a month?

  • Diego3336

    But I’m really concerned about the Xbox as a whole. I think they should focuses more on the games instead to this kind of content, because the vast majority of the people buy a console because its games, this kind of service like Musics, Movies et al are a “Plus”. If you don’t have exclusive games to offer to this people, I don’t see anybody buying a Xbox only because of these services, as a lot $80 Blu-Ray Player can stream NetFlix, Hulu and Youtube.

    What we have for this whole year? Gears 3? I think it’s okay, but not enough. Back to the main focus MS.

    • Anonymous

      You aint see nothing yet. These are just the baby steps into full home integration of Xbox, Xbox Live, Kinect, streaming, TVs, media center, Windows Phone, Surface, home autamation, etc. Gaming will not suffer though–it’s all good.

    • Mitch Foster

      Don’t forget Skyrim!

    • Zephyr

      And Dark Souls!

    • Shiro

      I am just waiting for when Microsoft will have its own original programming. Conan could have been the first…

    • Joe

      Microsoft doesn’t need to focus on the games… they’re the hardware provider. The games are developed by game studios both in-house and 3rd party. They have their focus right where it needs to be. Services like these add value over the other consoles for people chosing which system to buy, who then buy games for said console. I personally use Windows Media center as my DVR and stream content from my PC, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. The extra services are why I bought my Xbox and not a ps3.

    • Preston Stringer

      I participated in a focus group here in San Diego about a year ago. This was funded by a “Large Gaming Company” They wanted to know what electronics we used on a daily basis and what we would like in our entertainment system. “Shoot for the stars” they said. “Anything goes…What features would you like to see in your blue ray player, audio, gaming console, TV, what is the ultimate entertainment system and what would you expect to pay for it?” At the time, I thought this was Sony or MS going prelim research for a new system. It’s looking like I’m pretty close with my guess.

  • Kirill Petrovsky

    Anything with Arshavin on the screen is good.

    • Tom W

      Most definitely, red army!

    • Keno Butler


  • Renzo

    I’ve been looking for something to replace Hulu Plus on Xbox, too many ads!!

    We need a compliment to Netflix not run by the studios.

  • Renzo

    I’ve been looking for something to replace Hulu Plus on Xbox, too many ads!!

    We need a compliment to Netflix not run by the studios.

  • Jimmy Fallon

    If they could just put the entire experience, TV, and XBOX on ONE SCREEN, without having to hit the INPUT button which many people still find confusing they would really have something. I just want to turn on ONE BOX and get to all my contenet without having to fudge around with input buttons, etc.And it needs to be INSTANT ON and faster.

    • Anonymous

      Damn INPUT button that sucks, haven’t used that in years. I use a 6 slot HDMI switcher, turn on the xbox and it picks up the new signal sources and switches to that source automatically, shut xbox off and goes back to DirecTV. Works the same for PS 3 and just about everything but the Apple TV, that I have to press 5 for on the HDMI switchers remote.

    • WixosTrix

      Seeing as it lakes at least 3 seconds for most flat-panel tvs to start, I think the current start up time is not bad. 

  • Shiro

    Something like this would just kill my internet service bill. My IP caps my internet usage to 100GB per month. If I go over it then I have to pay the business rate of $100 + bucks a month. I need to get a new IP.

  • Rich Gibbons

    Is this going to be US only I take it? Getting this in the UK could be awesome!

  • GP007

    How about they flip a switch and then let your 360 be a DVR?  If you have the 250GB hdd I think that’s enough space considering I’ve seen many DVRs that only have something like 80GB drives.

    • eldiablopotato

      Now that’s a kick ass idea!

    • Ryaninalaska

      Why would you need a DVR when the programming is on demand?

  • Terence Cassar

    I hop this gets international support

  • Anonymous

    I HOPE we see something soon.. an affordable subscription iptv service would be AMAZING

  • J Lancaster

    MS can charge a low fee for this TV service.  Mainly because they don’t have to support the infastructure like cable and satellite companies do.  Plus when a cable company runs a channel they have to run 5 or 6 other channels along with it.  If MS can pull off a deal with broadcasters for a stream from their network, you could pay for the channels you want.  IPTV works like this.  You’re tuning in a stream and not a channel on a specturm.

    I’m excited by this.  We just cut out satellite and i have been using Netflix.  I’ve also been buying shows on Zune marketplace, which can add up after a while.  I’d love a model like the zune pass. Pay monthly and get the service, and cancel at anytime.  This is going to change the way we all watch tv.  I applaud MS for actually bringing in a great set top box in my home. 

    My dream is to have this service on the xbox 360, on my pc and my windows phone.  With windows 8 tablets around the corner this would be a great service to carry around too.  Can’t wait.  I just hope its not $50 a month or something crazy.

    • Anonymous

      That was a great post and to think about it if its $60 a month for Music and Games (Zune Pass $15) (Xbox Live $10) the cost for the tv would be only $35 and my current cable bill is about $60 a month.

      I would go for it

    • Renzo

      I like your math.

  • George S

    Seems good but as I said it sucks anywhere outside the U.S, they have Hulu/Netflix and Cable to get all their content from.

    We have only Sky which is already available as Sky Player on Xbox Live Gold. If anything, we should just get an update for support with iPlayer, iTV Player , 4oD and 5 Player. If they charged monthly for that then it’s a rip off as we can get that all free online, heck even the Wii has iPlayer.

  • George S

    Seems good but as I said it sucks anywhere outside the U.S, they have Hulu/Netflix and Cable to get all their content from.

    We have only Sky which is already available as Sky Player on Xbox Live Gold. If anything, we should just get an update for support with iPlayer, iTV Player , 4oD and 5 Player. If they charged monthly for that then it’s a rip off as we can get that all free online, heck even the Wii has iPlayer.

  • Anonymous

    I would love to get excited about this but I am still waiting on $hitty Time Warner to even get the ESPN 3 stuff working on Xbox Live.  They blow!!!!

  • eldiablopotato

    Hopefully we won’t see Microsoft announcing this, and then saying it’s coming out in Fall of 2011.  And watch as their competitors beat them to the punch (again).  Heck if Apple is gunning for the same thing I’m fearful Microsoft will lose this war.  Assuming the Apple TV will work with their strategy that’s a really low cost to get this service; compared to buying an XBox.

    • Anonymous

      There are many rumors of an Xbox 360 price drop. So Xbox could drop to $149

  • Anonymous

    It’s going to be an interesting E3. But IPTV is all about COST and CONTENT. Will price be low enough and content good enough?

  • Sean Mccoy

    hope they have G4TV since directv yea the co that steals and lies

  • Sean Mccoy

    will it have G4

  • James

    Seems cool. We already have Foxtel on Xbox 360 in Australia, though. It’s probably unlikely that we’d get diamond (or whatever it’s called) here.

  • WizeGuy

     With this trend to IP Streaming media that already includes Netflix; I have to wonder how well the Internet backbone will be able to manage the increased level of traffic.  Are teared level bandwidth capped packages coming to your ISP (again)?  Either that, or just higher prices.  Media content prices have increased for the average household for decades, it seams that they will get your money one way or another, sooner or later.  My cable TV + Internet bill started at $40 a month, it’s $105 now.