Citing information from "people with knowledge of the situation (we're guessing Bothan spies)," Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft is planning on offering streaming services from Comcast and Verizon through Xbox Live as soon as next week. If true, the deal will bring a wealth of new content to Xbox Live, turning it into the full-blown media service Microsoft has been trying to create since they first launched the service. It should also give us more opportunities to see what our Xbox Live friends are doing without feeling like we're being Nosey Nellys.
In order to take advantage of these rumored features, users will already need to be subscribers to either the Philadelphia-based Comcast and the New York-based Verizon’s cable services. Odds are this means that the content, for the most part, will be limited to the "On Demand" offerings, which features a selection of streaming television shows and movies.
But beyond working with the Verizon and Comcast, Microsoft is supposedly also in talks with HBO, Crackle, Bravo, and Syfy to bring even more streaming content to the system. If these deals go through and become popular, we expect to find even more providers going in this direction and adding their content to Xbox Live. Both HBO and Syfy have proprietary streaming services, and this would be a good step forward towards making their content more accessible without adding them to pre-existing streaming companies like Netflix or Hulu.
While it's a far cry from having access to full-blown cable with thousands of channels and millions of options, it's still a great move for Microsoft. It really would help sell the idea of Xbox Live being a media center instead of just a game machine, and making it a viable replacement for spending $20 a month for another cable box.
Sep 29, 2011