Update: As expected, the Verizon announcement was just the beginning. A Microsoft blog post says the company has signed up nearly 40 television and entertainment providers for the new Xbox Live TV service, including Comcast, HBO, Bravo, and SyFy in addition to Verizon in the U.S. and others around the world.

Follow-up: Microsoft’s new Xbox TV service: Yes, you still have to pay for cable

Original post follows.

A news release from Microsoft and Verizon just crossed the wire, confirming at least one element of the upcoming Xbox Live TV service — saying that users of Verizon’s FiOS TV ad Internet service will be able to view popular live TV channels through their Xbox consoles, with controls via Microsoft’s Kinect sensor.

This is one of multiple announcements that we’re expecting about the new Xbox Live TV service. Comcast is also expected toe involved, according to an earlier Bloomberg News report.

It’s notable that it’s described as a service for Xbox Live Gold members, apparently scuttling rumors that this would be available only to an extra “Diamond” tier of the Microsoft service.

Here’s the full release below, and we’ll have more details as they emerge later this morning.

Verizon and Microsoft Announce New FiOS TV-Powered Entertainment Experience Coming Soon to Xbox 360

Companies Collaborate to Offer Live, Multichannel HD TV Integrated with Kinect, in the United States via the Xbox; Expands Verizon FiOS Customers’ Borderless Lifestyles

NEW YORK and REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon and Microsoft Corp. today announced an agreement that will open the door to a new FiOS TV-powered entertainment experience for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Using a Verizon-developed software application, FiOS TV and Internet customers who are also Xbox LIVE Gold members will be able to view popular live TV channels through their Xbox consoles without any extra hardware required. This holiday, Verizon will bring a selection of popular live TV channels to Xbox 360 and will be a leader in delivering live, multichannel streaming HD TV, integrated with Kinect, via the Xbox.

The new collaboration is an important expansion of the breadth of entertainment available on Xbox 360 and the latest move by Verizon to break down old technology barriers and provide customers the freedom of a borderless lifestyle where they can connect with what they love on all their favorite devices. Utilizing Kinect for Xbox 360, FiOS customers will be able to easily discover and enjoy content in extraordinary new ways, all without having to pick up a remote control.

“By bringing the technologically advanced Verizon FiOS TV service to Xbox 360 and Kinect, we are advancing our vision to provide the best in entertainment in extraordinary new ways,” said Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of the TV & Service Business for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Xbox 360 brings all your entertainment, friends and family together in one place, and we look forward to introducing Verizon FiOS TV to the console this holiday.”

Verizon’s vision for the future – the Borderless Lifestyle – can be summed up in four words: anytime, anywhere, any device.

“We want to make everything our customers want or need to do, easier and more convenient, by putting the power of our technology in their hands – through the Internet-connected devices they use every day,” said Eric Bruno, vice president of consumer and mass business product management for Verizon. “The Borderless Lifestyle is about erasing old technology boundaries and freeing consumers to enjoy entertainment on their own terms. FiOS TV on the Xbox 360 will tap into the magic of Kinect to transform the way people interact with TV, providing a game-changing entertainment experience for our customers.”

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    “This holiday, Verizon will bring a selection of popular live TV channels to Xbox 360”

    Unacceptable. I subscribe to hundreds of channels and I want all of them, not “a selection of” them, on Xbox 360.

    Microsoft, disintermediate television companies.

    • http://twitter.com/jdrch Judah Richardson

      They can’t, because it’s a lot more complicated than that. The TV programs you watch aren’t produced by your cable or satellite company, or even the necessarily networks (channels) they appear on. They’re produced by studios, who then sell broadcast rights to networks. Networks, in turn, sell their aggregated programming to subscription (read: cable/satellite/IPTV) providers. Providers sell packages of different networks to consumers.

      The details of the deals at each connection above vary by connection, network, provider, studio and even region. Some of the deals involve exclusivity and/or preclude/don’t specifically include streaming. For example, earlier this year a provider ran into trouble with networks after demoing a streaming app at CES because apparently – in the networks’ opinion – their existing deal didn’t cover internet streams.

      The result of all the above is is simply isn’t possible for providers to wantonly offer all their networks via streaming. Note here that “streaming” as used here is defined in whatever contract the network and provider have been between each other and not necessarily in the traditional server-client sense.

      • Guest


        I want to watch show X. Show X is produced by company Y.

        I shall be able to buy show X directly from company Y without going through channel Z or cable company W.

        This is known as “disintermediation” and it is the reason why the Internet is destroying previous information gatekeepers.

        What’s keeping company Y from selling directly to me? Why don’t they want to take my money and keep all of it, not just a tiny slice? What’s it going to take for the content producers to go straight to their fans without all this faffing in the middle?

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    I would like to only subscribe to the channels I want, not all that other crap. I wonder if I will have to already subscribe to Comcast, or if it is a separate service. This is the question.

    • http://twitter.com/jdrch Judah Richardson

       I’ve read that ISPs are leaning towards this for IPTV

  • Avatar Roku

    As a FiOS TV subscriber I’m unbelievably happy to hear this news. I already have 2 Xbox 360s in my home and 2 kinects and I think I may buy a couple more this Christmas.

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch Judah Richardson

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the biggest combined IPTV deal ever announced?

  • Srepp914

    I have an xbox 360, am a xbox live gold member, but wont be able to access xbox live tv because i dont have kinect?

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      No, you will still be able to access it. I didn’t mean to imply that it requires Kinect, just that it can be navigated with Kinect.

Job Listings on GeekWork