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Microsoft is Bringing Television to the Xbox 360

Hulu Plus is more than a little disappointing, Apple TV is nothing but a punchline, and Google TV is being blocked by the networks. You’re not out of options, though. Microsoft is bringing TV right to your videogame system.

Just when I thought that console makers had accomplished everything they could during this generation of hardware, Microsoft is pulling out all the stops. According to Reuters, there’s a subscription based TV service coming to the Xbox 360 within the next year.

Don’t confuse this with the ability to use the Xbox 360 as a set-top box for U-verse. This is a completely separate service offered directly from Microsoft. You’ll be able to drop your cable provider and go straight through Microsoft.

The plan, according to people in the know, is to start people off with a very basic package that includes channels like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and the rest of the usual suspects. From there, customers will be able to add on channels for an additional cost, including premium channels like Showtime.

Tiered plans like those offered by cable and satellite providers will be available, as will bundles for those who want a full range of similar channels, like sports or children’s shows.

From the sound of things, this is going to be live television and not a Hulu-style option. If that’s the case, it seems incredibly likely that you’ll be able to use your Xbox 360 as a DVR for recording shows and movies.

There’s a tremendous amount of potential in the new service. Giving consumers the option of a la carte programming would almost certainly benefit them financially, and would ensure that everyone can get the programming they want.

I’m certainly excited about having the option in the future. Both televisions in my apartment have Xbox 360s under them, and I’d be more than willing to ditch the 200 or so channels I get from Comcast for a hopefully cheaper package of only the TV I actually want.

It’s still a long way off. Microsoft is still talking with networks to get it all figured out, but we should be hearing something more definite by this time next year.

5 comments

  1. besch64

    Let me know when they get the rights to include BD player tech in there. I have no interest in the PS3 as a game machine, but I would love to have the capability to play BDs on my 360.

  2. Patrick A Crone

    I can’t wait for this to become a reality, and you know it will. I’ve been with Cox for almost 2 decades now and hate the fact that I pay for so much content I don’t use. With hulu plus and Netflix I’ve been tempted to pull my HD cable service. The only thing holding me back is the live TV I’ll be missing. If Microsoft can pull this off it will revolutionize how we get our content.

  3. Keith

    I wouldn’t count on this being cheap, even by a long shot. I hope I’m wrong, but we are talking about a company who charges a fee to allow access to things we already pay a fee to access. I haven’t had cable for going on three years now and I have no intention of ever looking back, but if MS can pull this off for a reasonable fee I’d definitely be interested.

  4. Will be all there if its affordable, if they plan on charging $40-$80 just to get your local channels like ABC, NBC, Fox, etc. you can count me out as that isnt much better than regular Cable, I would LOVE a cheap alternative that has local HD channels (as I cant get them without putting a giant antenna on my roof) and the option to add other channels or channel packages as you like, this is what people are really clamoring for but have stuck with regular cable or satellite because they dont have any other choice if they want live TV, I hope Microsoft pulls this off and for a good price, if they do you can count me in for sure as I’ve gotten rid of the real cable TV service and its been very nice on the pocket book so far :)

  5. Dick Ward
    Author

    I agree one hundred percent on the price situation. If I can pay the same or less than my current cable bill, I’ll be glad to ante up.

    I assume this will all be in HD too – wonder if they’ll charge more for that.

    Either way, I’m excited about the possibility, even if I’m waiting to find out about the practicality.

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