XBox Turning into Over the Top TV Solution? XBox Live TV Coming…

Xbox TV partners
Xbox TV partners

I watch over a lot in the Over the Top Television space. Internet TV, IPTV, whatever you want to call it, it’s a great way to get watchable content without having a full cable lineup.

Last week, Steve Ballmer announced their TV initiative over XBox Live. Over 40 providers have signed up for this venture, including Comcast, HBO, BBC, Rodgers on Demand (Canada), Televisa (Mexico), and other countries including Germany and Italy (20 in all). Best part, if you already have an XBox 360, you have the hardware to do this.

“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.” – Press Release

Add to conventional TV line-up the on-line video providers like Crackle, YouTube, Zune and more. Then there is audio content from and iHeartRadio. Finally, Social networks like Twitter and Facebook to round off the service.

The Game System that Became More

Whereas companies like Roku that integrated smaller games like Angry Birds, XBox won’t have that problem. It’s a game system over a TV content distributor. You can play Gears of War, Tweet about it, then watch a video on how to play Gears of War (or another show).

Unified Dashboard in XBox Live

With the unified dashboard (looking similar to the Zune software), you can browse your shows, play the games, work your social networks and more. You will connect to the Comcast Xfinity service to get all that service has to offer.

Getting Rid of the Remote with Kinect

This might be the best part about the XBox TV. By using voice controls and your Kinect, you can gesture to a channel, play, pause and move on. It might get harry if you have more than one person wanting to watch different shows. Still, could you imagine a world without a remote control?

It won’t all be free, though.

Right now, to get HBO Go, you need to have a cable subscription with HBO. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon – especially with channels like HuluPlus. Of course, that is just like many of the OTT systems out there. Pay for a subscription and get the content.

Once again, there could be conflict if you have multiple family members where one wants to play a game and the other wants to watch a movie. So this might not replace a cable box or DVR just yet.

The Xbox Live TV service is expected to come out before the holiday season. The announcement comes before then so you can plan purchasing an XBox 360 or Kinect system for your loved ones to connect up quick. While the OTT solution is more pricey than a Roku or Apple TV, it does do more than just watch video, view pictures or listen to music. It also has some great game titles. It also has a new way to browse through your content.

About J Powers

Podcaster, Blogger, IT Specialist. Been working in IT for over 15 years. Supported Windows 95 upon initial Launch and have worked in desktop, server and Web site support roles. Started Geekazine in 2007 and launched 5 shows from it. Speaker on many topics in Podcasting and technology. Also a musician.

2 thoughts on “XBox Turning into Over the Top TV Solution? XBox Live TV Coming…

  1. I think making the XBox an over the top solution has been Microsoft’s plan from day one when they first pushed it to market. They dropped crazy amounts of cash into it, despite it being a money pit initially. That should have been one clue as to their plans. Second, the xbox came out around the same time that MS was promoting .Net (not just the .Net framework but the software as a service idea) which many end users initially resisted. The biggest question is why were they pushing the xbox? Here’s my theory:

    Microsoft has been loosing mind share to Apple for a few years now. While Microsoft was being beat up by the DOJ, Apple was more or less getting a pass for the same behavior. Quality aside, the only differences between the two companies was market share and the fact that Apple was considered a hardware company that happened to have an OS to run their hardware. In contrast, Microsoft was a software company that didn’t really have it’s own hardware. Enter the xbox.
    You see, my thought is Microsoft needed the xbox to success no matter what, not because they really wanted into the gaming business. They had that market cornered with PC gaming. No, they wanted the xbox to success because that gave them the hardware platform to begin morphing it into a new Microsoft made, Microsoft controlled, closed system much like Apple’s Macintosh machines. It gives them the OS, the hardware, the software, and the Media Center that they have flirted with for years in separate projects and they can now claim the OS was designed to work with the hardware and change their EULA to reflect similar restrictions that has benefited Apple these last 10+ years.
    Eventually, when they have convinced the nay-sayers that the xbox is a viable computing solution, Microsoft will shift their focus away from Windows and the PC. Eventually the xbox will be Microsoft’s primary business platform with everything else living in the cloud as a service.

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