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Microsoft makes deal with 40 entertainment content providers to turn 360 into STB

Radford C. Oct 5, 2011 3

What the hell? Ok. We knew about Verizon and Comcast but apparently, there were 38 other things we didn’t know and probably more. While this isn’t exactly a game changer or a huge ups for cable cutting, it’s a step in the right direction. Currently, AT&T U-verse can extend the XBox into a STB (set top box) but that requires some hardware on the 360 to pump live TV into the console – not exactly ideal for cable cutters. However, the new announcements has providers pushing content through the internet without any additional hardware – FiOS included.

As of this writing, Comcast is only going to bring On Demand to 360. No Live TV from Comcast but they’re saying more details might come in the future. Verizon will bring 26 Channels from their FiOS such as MTV, Spike, Food Network, Comedy Central, etc. Then there’s the rest – which is actually pretty good lineup of providers.

Here’s a partial list from the notable stuff:

  • Clear Channel: iHeartRadio will be the only digital radio service on Xbox Live, complete with Kinect support.
  • HBO: A new version of the HBO GO application and its associated content catalog should soon make an appearance on the Xbox. I’m thrilled about this. I, along with several friends and family members are huge fans of their shows. Game Of Thrones on XBL? Nuts.
  • NBC Universal: Content from a handful of NBCU properties will end up on the Xbox, including Bravo and SyFy shows. Oh, and who could forget The Today Show?
  • Manga Entertainment: Still unknown, but a catalog of streaming anime in the near future? Anime fans rejoice
  • Crackle: Expect to get access to Crackle’s backlog of movies distributed by parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment.
  • EPIX: Unknown, but I’d expect the MGM/Lionsgate/Paramount company to provide on-demand access to their catalog a la Comcast.
  • UFC: Fans got a sneak peek of UFC video on the Xbox back in June — in addition to streaming fights, it’s also expected to bring some degree of interactivity to the mix.
“Today’s announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360* and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.”
What makes this interesting about this announcement is how each company approaches content providers. Apple TV’s content model asks consumers to pay and watch – not very popular with consumers but very popular with content providers. Google TV decided to develop the technology first, release it into the public and then began talking to content providers – only to be blocked out by the big Networks. Now, Microsoft is taking a different approach – get the little guys to agree until the big networks notice and hopefully that will be enough to leverage them in. I’ll definitely talk more about these approaches in a different post. For now, check out the list.
A total of 50 world-leading TV and entertainment partners have joined Xbox 360
Here’s the full list  (new services are in bold):

•ABC iView – Australia
•AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K.
•Antena 3 – Spain
•Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
•AT&T** – U.S.
•BBC – U.K.
•blinkbox – U.K.
•Bravo – U.S.
•BSkyB** – U.K.
•Canal+* – France, Spain
•Channel 4 – U.K.
•Channel 5 – U.K.
•CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
•Comcast – U.S.
•Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
•Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
•EPIX – U.S.
•ESPN** – U.S.
•Facebook** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
FOXTEL** – Australia
•GolTV – Spain
•HBO GO – U.S.
•Hulu – Japan
•Hulu Plus**– U.S.
•iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.
•**– U.K., U.S.
•LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
•Manga Entertainment – U.S.
•Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
•Mediaset – Italy
•MSN with – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
•MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
•Netflix**– Canada, U.S.
•Rogers on Demand – Canada
•RTVE – Spain
•SBS On Demand – Australia
•Syfy – U.S.
•Telefonica – Spain
•Televisa – Mexico
•“The Today Show” – U.S.
•TELUS** – Canada
•TMZ – U.S.
•Twitter** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
•UFC – Canada, U.S.
•Verizon – U.S.
•VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
•VimpelCom** – Russia
•Vodafone Portugal** – Portugal
•YouTube – Available in 22 markets
•ZDF – Germany
•Zune**– World

Here’s something I’d like to see:

  • NFL Network
  • NBA Network
  • MLB Network
  • Travel Channel – (which I think will come with FiOS or through Comcast)
  • Most of the local channel stuff
  • Maybe an a la carte service – that would be a game changer
Now, the question remains. How much will some of these services cost? If commercials are still going to stream through these devices, I’m hoping zero.
Via »Source