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

A new Xbox TV service, announced by Microsoft this morning, aims to give the company’s Xbox 360 game console a larger role in the living room by making it a hub for live and on-demand content from providers such as Comcast, Verizon FiOS, HBO, Bravo and others.

Basic access to the service won’t cost extra for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. But don’t go cutting that cord just yet, because in many situations the most desirable content will require a separate cable subscription.

In the case of Comcast, for example, users will still need to be an Xfinity TV customer and have at least one cable box to use the Xfinity video on-demand service via Microsoft’s Xbox Live. It’s similar in that way to existing video on-demand service through the cable box.

Verizon also says its service on Xbox Live will be available only to its FiOS subscribers. Verizon’s content will include selected live television channels.

With the new content partnerships, Microsoft is aiming to extend the Xbox 360 well beyond video games, building on its existing entertainment offerings such as Netflix, Hulu and ESPN. Through the new Xbox TV service, the company will also be adding web content from sources including AlloCiné, Dailymotion, iHeartRadio, YouTube, TMZ, and its own MSN and msnbc.com.

Microsoft say the new Xbox TV service will launch this holiday season, although Comcast gives a looser timeframe of “in the coming months” for the Xfinity integration.

Xbox TV will work through a newly streamline Xbox Live dashboard, integrated with Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for navigating the menus with voice controls and gestures. Content from specific providers will be available in apps accessed via the dashboard.

Here’s a gallery of screenshots. (Click for larger versions.)

  • Jsld

    Left scratching my head.  Ill need to pay for cable + box + xbox gold + internet, just to watch the stuff I can get on my cable box?  Annoying

    • Anonymous

      Basically you only need to rent one cable box from the TeleComs. Any additional boxes can be Xbox 360s. In the right use case it’s an attractive alternative with voice control and the ability to instantly transfer over to gaming…

    • http://twitter.com/jasqid Jeffrey Stewart

      EXACTLY! I want my xbox to be replacement.

  • Guest

    I’m very dissatisfied with this move. Digital cable already costs some $80 a month. I want my Xbox to replace cable TV service, not merely act as a conduit to it.

    • Anonymous

      Everybody wants a la cart. But it will take the entire industry losing money for that to happen. One company (in the case Microsoft) can’t force the content providers to do the smart thing.

      • Guest

        You’re right. It’s the holy grail for most consumers, myself included. But I disagree that no one company can do it. I think Apple can and likely will. They’ve done it before for iPod, iPhone, iPad.

  • http://www.atebymonsters.com Matt

    They’re almost there … Doesn’t really get rid of the cable box.  Microsoft just put a cable card tuner into the Xbox and let that device be the cable box.