Xbox TV & What It Means for Cable Companies

xbox.com/en-US/LIVE screenshot

For years the cable companies have owned the way viewers watch television. Plenty of other companies, like Netflix and Hulu, have tried to revolutionize the way people watch TV. With the popularity of TiVo and DVD recorders, people have found ways to watch television when it is most convenient for their schedule. However, due to content licensing and restrictions, no one provider can boast access to all kinds of content, shows, or movies. Even a company like Netflix, with thousands of streaming movie and TV options, is still limited by the licensing contracts they have signed.

Xbox has long been talking about watching TV on their console. Competitor gaming company, Nintendo, already has Netflix viewing on their Wii gaming system. It seems that Microsoft has stepped up its game though with the announcement of new licensing deals with 50 different TV content suppliers, including big names like HBO, Verizon and Comcast.

What does this mean for the Xbox? It means that Microsoft may have found an all-in-one entertainment center offering gaming, movies, TV and music all in one spot. Plus, they can offer these features to the over 23 million Xbox Live subscribers. If that is not enough, the folks at Xbox have interwoven social media into their console so that users can chat and share information while viewing their favorite episodes. This could make Xbox much more than a gaming console, even more than a cable TV box – it could make the Xbox an entertainment hub for families.

This move is not unique, many companies are viewing the demand for streaming videos as the next big thing in entertainment. Competitors Playstation and Nintendo Wii are already offering similar services. However, it is the deal with so many big name content providers that has the public speculating that Microsoft and Xbox will be able to accomplish what other streaming video companies have been working towards – more content in one place.

Of course, the price for this content will not be cheap. Xbox is not known for attempting to undercut licensees. Insiders expect that Xbox Live consumers will have to pay extra for streaming, on top of what they already pay for their subscription to Xbox Live.

Microsoft has announced plans to make TV streaming to the Xbox console available as soon as December for viewers in more than twenty countries. The company has experience working deals out with other companies and competitors so if anyone can pull off major content deals, it will be Microsoft.

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