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Microsoft Reportedly Working On TV Service For Xbox 360

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the path-to-a-unified-entertainment-box dept.

Microsoft 121

tekgoblin writes "It seems that Microsoft may be in talks with media companies to license TV shows and movies for a new streaming service. With the addition of ESPN to the Xbox 360 over Xbox Live, Microsoft may be in a position to do the same for different content providers and charge a subscription fee for them separately. The idea is to better personalize content and only pay for what you want to watch instead of paying cable companies for all the channels you don't watch. Microsoft is looking into duplicating what they have done with ESPN to include channels such as Showtime or HBO and possibly Disney."

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121 comments

Will they offer MSNBC? (2, Funny)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402472)

Will they offer MSNBC?

It may be up to comcast soon as they may own nbc (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403524)

It may be up to comcast soon as they may own nbc and may try to make it cable only.

Re:Will they offer MSNBC? (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403764)

The real question here is: when will Microsoft introduce similar services here in Europe?

This is likely to piss off AT&T (2, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402478)

This is likely to piss off AT&T that they're work on the really horrible U-Verse service with. I would like to assume the XBox 360 would be more reliabe/work better than the U-Verse garbage, but the idea of red-ringing over a TV show does come to mind.

That being said - I think this is a very good and cool idea. It's convergence and the ousting of old tech that needs to go. Modern cable companies are getting too invasive and control/power hungry over what you watch. I'm not saying Microsoft wont be that way, but at least with them you can reap the benefits of paying less, whereas the cable companies just charge more, invade more, and progressively provide less.

Re:This is likely to piss off AT&T (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402558)

What? Another Microsoft partner screwed over only to find that they were being used as a testbed for Microsoft's own plans??

I'm shocked. Shocked.

Re:This is likely to piss off AT&T (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402704)

What? Another Microsoft partner screwed over only to find that they were being used as a testbed for Microsoft's own plans??

I remember in the 1990s when Microsoft was first doing tests on TVs, though I never realized it at the time. You know the blue screen that VCRs used to show when the input signal was corrupt.... need I say more?

Re:This is likely to piss off AT&T (1)

VisiX (765225) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403432)

Moral of the story; Competition is good, unless it's Microsoft. I can't believe people actually feel bad for AT&T.

Re:This is likely to piss off AT&T (3, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403606)

I don't exactly feel bad for them.

Watching AT&T and Microsoft fight is like watching a guido fight a skin-head. It's worth watching and no matter which one loses it's an overall victory for everyone else.

Re:This is likely to piss off AT&T (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403870)

Actually, with AT&T and the cableco's having a pretty solid monopoly on the broadband market, I doubt they're losing a lot of sleep over this. Unless MS is planning on running fiber to my house, the telcos and cablecos will still be the gate-keepers. In my neighborhood, Comcast is the only option for decent broadband. So this certainly wouldn't help *me* bypass my cable company.

Re:This is likely to piss off AT&T (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405738)

That being said - I think this is a very good and cool idea. It's convergence and the ousting of old tech that needs to go.

On the contrary - this is a VERY BAD Thing (TM). It's not convergence, it's fragmentation. You know why ESPN is on there? Because it's ESPN3 (formerly known as ESPN360) and because ESPN3 is available only via exclusive deals. Type in ESPN 3 on your computer - if you're lucky, it loads correctly. If you have the wrong ISP, there is no begging or pleading you can do with ESPN, you will not be able to access any of it outside a sign that says "ESPN3 is available through the following ISPs: [...]"

Content providers and integrated ISPs like Comcast love this approach, because they can charge a la carte for websites, just like TV now. And the people who have signed on with the new service sound like the usual suspects who love to ream the customers with special deals. If anything, this is a harbinger of things to come, like a plague of locusts or raining frogs.

I like my Xbox for what it is allowing me to do with gaming. I can also see though that the future of the XBox is a horrible experience that will make 1990's internet look like Nirvana.

Re:This is likely to piss off AT&T (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34407116)

I sort of think the old west was a nirvana compared to present day. Laws and the enforcement thereof were pretty much relegated to actual crimes like robbery, theft, and murder, and while enforcement certainly left something to be desired, the upside of focusing on real crime meant real freedom to pursue whatever interested you outside of that. Of course, nobody remembers it like that; it's all "wild west" this, untamed wilderness that, where horrible things could happen -- as if horrible things can't and don't happen today. I suspect that similar things will happen to the internet, where people will extol the benefits of tighter control (less spam, phishing, and malware... maybe) while forgetting entirely the freedoms that went along with that lack of strict regulation and seemingly omnipotent enforcement.

Again, I'll get nothing (1)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402530)

I'm happy for you guys but for us, Europeans, I mean the ones with the Live Gold account, we'll (probably) see none of this.

Sigh. How I'd love to watch the MLB live here

Re:Again, I'll get nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34402796)

Here in Portugal Vodafone can provide software (if you subscribe to their cable plans of course) for your xbox so that you can use it as cable box.

more info here: http://www.vodafone.pt/main/Particulares/vodafonecasa/IPTV/Equipamentos/Xbox360.

and translated here: http://translate.google.pt/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=pt-PT&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=pt&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vodafone.pt%2Fmain%2FParticulares%2Fvodafonecasa%2FIPTV%2FEquipamentos%2FXbox360&act=url

it doesn't go with the "pay for what you want to watch instead of paying cable companies for all the channels you don't watch" philosophy but it's a start for us yurop people.

Re:Again, I'll get nothing (3, Informative)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402970)

Even worse, here in the UK we can't even get BBC IPlayer (a service that should be available to me as a license fee payer, and that is already Wii and PS3, as well as PC, I believe), apparently because MS refuse to give it away free to silver users and the BBC's charter won't let it be included in the paid gold package.

Re:Again, I'll get nothing (2, Informative)

bigtomrodney (993427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403106)

In the UK and Ireland you can get Sky TV over your XBox. They even have Pay per view for sports and films.

iplayer (2, Interesting)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402570)

Just team up with the BBC and offer iplayer, Free in UK the rest of the world can pay say £15/$20 month - then we can have full length seasons of Dr Who - whats not to like :-)

Re:iplayer (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402594)

I think we should tax all foreigners not living in our country.

Re:iplayer (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402642)

um they do it's the dodgy non doms and the freeriders from the Chanel islands we need to tax at the same rate as the rest of us.

Re:iplayer (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403338)

What does tax have to do with television?
I mean, the post did say "free in the UK" right before saying the price for those outside of the UK.
Isn't that a form of corporate tax?

Re:iplayer (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404034)

Well it's not really free in the UK, we already pay a kind of television tax [wikipedia.org] . The BBC doesn't have an issue with charging people overseas for its content, so the logical answer would be to allow it in Live as an already paid for service in the UK and charge anyone a subscription fee outside of the UK, but this has already been ruled out in the past (well, I don't know if the additional subscription model came up, but providing it at no cost in the UK was already shot down).

Re:iplayer (3, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402716)

Just team up with the BBC and offer iplayer, Free in UK the rest of the world can pay say £15/$20 month - then we can have full length seasons of Dr Who - whats not to like :-)

Funny you should say that as the BBC are launching their own set-top box here in the UK some time next year. Technically it's not just the Beeb but a consortium of content providers (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five), hardware providers (Humax, Cisco, Technicolor) and ISP's (TalkTalk and BT) who will provide a platform called YouView [youview.com] (formally Project Canvas) which will allow customers to watch and record Freview HD (DVB-T2) as well as stream or purchase content from a marketplace.

So for example, if you search for "Top Gear" you will get results that offer you the two shows running in the next fortnight, the two shows on BBC iPlayer, the box set from one vendor and the ability to rent (stream) from a couple of other vendors.

There is a one off payment for the box and, like the current Freeview service, no subscription fees for about 50 channels (of which about 20 or so are of interest to the majority of people). There are no restrictions on where you live or which ISP you are with. Although the hardware manufacturers are limited at launch, more will come on board as time goes by.

It's like Google TV but for the UK, with a slicker UI and has the backing of major content providers before it starts. In other words, a properly thought out end-to-end proposition.

Re:iplayer (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34407232)

Hmm, I'd be surprised if they don't get sued by Google for confusingly similar naming with YouTube, though perhaps your IP laws aren't as onerous as ours.

Re:iplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34402784)

Unfortunately the BBC and Microsoft are ideologically opposed. The BBC require iPlayer to be available for free while Microsoft want you to stump up for a Gold live account to see it.

So no iPlayer on XBox :(

Re:iplayer (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403020)

This seems to be more of MS just not "getting it". They didn't seem to get that XBMC turned an alright games console into an amazing games console (I would have been all over licensing and/or bundling that thing if I was MS), and now they don't get that, if they want to be the media centre in people's homes, they can't approach that by offering less than the other consoles. I know their argument is probably that it will detract people fromt the paid for content, but realistically it already does that, since every license payer in the UK gets it at no extra cost anyway and most people have access to either freeview or a PC or one of the other consoles or a video enabled phone or... you get the picture. Is it really good for MS's business model that, every time I want to watch iPlayer, I turn off the XBOX and turn on the Wii?

Re:iplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34403054)

The BBC is not free in the UK, its paid for by TV-license payers, which last time I looked was about £10-15 a month anyway.

Re:iplayer (1)

csteinle (68146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404564)

They already have SkyPlayer on the XBox. Apparently the BBC were approached to do similar iPlayer support, but Micosoft's policy of not allowing that kind of service unless you have a Gold account is not compatible with the BBC Trust's policy that where BBC content appears on a tiered cost platform it must be available on the lowest cost option.

Opportunity knows no bounds! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34402578)

My carpet coincides with the puffs and the flaps. The stuffing is a nice place! It's warm, it's stuffy, and there's parades all around!

But, the real question is: can you name the four corners of opportunity?

Cost (2, Insightful)

tatman (1076111) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402598)

GoogleTV provides this with HBO. I think its a great idea but its too expensive at $30 a month. I love the idea of paying only for the TV programming I want. But the prices are going to have to fall significantly to make it worth while. Thankfully ESPN is free, for now :)

Re:Cost (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404506)

> I think its a great idea but its too expensive at $30 a month.

Damn, where do you live? $30/month is less than the cheapest basic cable subscription I can get without a long-term contract.

Re:Cost (1)

tatman (1076111) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404590)

You right :) but $30 month is for HBO only. I was trying to make the point if I have to pay $30 a month for each broadcaster I want to receive, it quickly becomes more expensive than the most expensive cable package. In order for subscriptions to broadcasters to work out, the prices have to come down a lot. There's about 6 or 7 broadcasters I would pay to get (History, SciFi, HBO, etc...). If I had to pay $30 for each of them individually, I could just get cable and all the other crap with it.

Too Noisy (2, Insightful)

Wingsy (761354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402626)

I used to use my Xbox 360 for Netflix. Too damn noisy. Way too noisy. The fan noise is not noticeable when playing games but for TV it's a show-stopper. Netflix is a better experience with an Apple TV anyway.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402656)

Definitely. It's also a big reason I don't use the console as a Windows Media Center extender. Another issue is the quality - a strong over-the-air or cable/fiber connection will almost always provider better picture and audio quality than streaming content.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

evan_arrrr! (1406417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402828)

Netflix streaming over the Xbox IS a cable/fiber connection. What's the difference between cable and streaming? They're both live data feeds.

Netflix does stream in HD, at any rate.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402960)

Netflix streaming over the Xbox IS a cable/fiber connection. What's the difference between cable and streaming? They're both live data feeds.

Netflix does stream in HD, at any rate.

I was referring to receiving television service directly from your cable/fiber provider, not streaming via your Internet connection. I've used ESPN 3 on the 360 and if the quality for other channels is anything like that service, then I'd much rather get television service using more "traditional" methods.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

evan_arrrr! (1406417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403108)

ESPN 3 is a different service provider. The Xbox 360 is only a means of delivery. Both ESPN 3 and Netflix are avilable via Internet browser, as well.

Netflix does provide streaming HD video, if you have a connection capable of supporting it. It also adjusts video quality on the fly based on your current bandwidth availability.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

VisiX (765225) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403456)

ESPN3 on the traditional internet is pretty awful as well most of the time. I don't think the quality of the feed has anything to do with the Xbox.

Re:Too Noisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34402658)

The new slim models are quieter.

Re:Too Noisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404752)

And the new Apple TV is 100% silent.

Re:Too Noisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34406178)

If you want shitty 720p.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402834)

I use a dual-core Athlon 64 for netflix. I tried buying a Blu-Ray player, the HP-BD52U, but it turned out to be a total lemon defective piece of shit that silently failed forever to read my queue, and the door came off when I removed the plastic.

I only wish I could use my 360, which is much quieter, but I'm not paying for gold. It's really not reasonably priced.

Re:Too Noisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404018)

Not reasonably priced, $5/mo? Get a job IMO.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404232)

Why should anyone have to pay $5/mo for Gold, just to gain access to a streaming service you are already paying for.
It's not like Microsoft is adding any value here.

If you want free access, just get and AppleTV or even cheaper, a Roku.
Dead silent and no monthly fees.

Re:Too Noisy (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406338)

The problem is not whether I can pay for it. The problem is whether they deserve $5/month. If buying Gold would completely disable all advertising I haven't specifically gone looking for, including the animations on the dashboard, then I might consider paying. Frankly, Microsoft is getting paid way too well for running a matching service that exists to show you ads and try to make you buy stuff. I don't have low enough latency to make good use of Gold (and indeed, during the latest trial I discovered that none of the games I own and love to play permit you to simply jump into a multiplayer game with people you don't know, so it's kind of a moot point anyway) so what am I paying for? The "convenience" of being able to watch Netflix on my 360 with inferior output to my PC with an nVidia card?

Re:Too Noisy (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403286)

Fan noise? only notice it upon boot and shutdown. the rest of the time its pumping 120 watts per channel into 8 channels loud enough for the neighbors 3 houses over to hear the warzone in my living room....

  I cant hear any fan noise.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

Wingsy (761354) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403532)

Well, I suppose with a kilowatt of audio in the room the fan noise might be hard to pull out. But use it in a quiet room, and during the silent periods in a movie you'll always be hearing that "rrrrrrrrrrrr" sound. I do. My wife does.

Re:Too Noisy (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403580)

The slim model is very quiet playing Netflix or other video, the only time it gets a little louder is playing Black Ops. The old ones were horrendously loud, though they've been getting quieter as Microsoft made revisions (my previous Elite wasn't as quiet as the slim but was much quieter than the launch unit I had before it).

Re:Too Noisy (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405638)

Netflix is a better experience with an Apple TV anyway.

I agree, especially if you have an iPhone or iPad to use as a remote. The XBox used to be the best way for me to get Netflix on my TV, but since the AppleTV came out, and since they raised the price of an XBox Live Gold membership... I've gone ahead and canceled my Gold membership.

If they get some good streaming partnerships going, like the ESPN3 stuff but for content that doesn't suck, I could see maybe bringing my Gold membership back.

Microsoft our new champion for Net Neutrality? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402634)

As we have recently seen, the practices we most feared have started coming to pass in the case where a residential cable internet provider got paid by a media streaming service to be able to provide paid service to customers. I'm too lazy to link to the slashdot reference to it, but this will undoubtedly be fresh on people's minds and will undoubtedly become a key example of why net neutrality is needed.

Microsoft will not be interested in paying every ISP endpoint for the privilege of providing content services to its customers. I believe they are more likely to take the issue to court and to the lobby to ensure a net neutral future.

Re:Microsoft our new champion for Net Neutrality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34403082)

Or, if it's a service that requires paid subscription (i.e. Live Gold account), why wouldn't they just pass the cost along to the customer? Much easier to do that with their service than to claw the costs back with a "free" service.

Re:Microsoft our new champion for Net Neutrality? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403168)

Because they don't want to set a price and then change it after fees are imposed later. And raising the rates for their services isn't something they do frequently.

The notion of "passing the cost on" is common in the telecom industries, but not so much for paid content industries.

Re:Microsoft our new champion for Net Neutrality? (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403890)

Well the ESPN application on the xbox only works if your ISP is an affiliated service provider. I think it has the same rules as ESPN3.

My ISP does provide it so it works for me, but it is not neutral to the network.

Windows Media Center (2, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402640)

Microsoft probably have a good chance of making this work on the basis that Windows Media Center is actually a very capable DVR and they have several customers of their MediaRoom solution. I've been running Windows 7 Media Center in my home for several months now and it's extremely slick and does the job reasonably well. It's UI is light years ahead of all the others - although that is probably helped by the fact that the hardware I'm using is significantly more powerful than your usual set top box.

My only real complaints are:

  1. The EPG provider Microsoft uses in the UK is absolutely dire. They frequently forget meta-data and get the series link information wrong - which of course means that the experience is impacted. Our US friends don't seem to have these issues as their meta-data is correct.
  2. Even if you have the codecs installed, it cannot browse or play non-WTV or DVR-MS without the use of something like MediaBrowser (which itself, is a slick application).
  3. When you do get non WTV or DVR-MS files playing, FWD and RWD don't work. This can be fudged with a plugin called MediaControl but it isn't perfect.
  4. Some times it reports that it cannot record a show on a tuner because there is no signal. Doesn't matter what button you press, it'll show you the same error several times before finally dismissing.

Compared to my old Topfield (which was considered one of the better DVR's here in the UK yet couldn't handle daylight saving and botched up all your recording timers, had a ghastly UI, put the wrong metadata in your recordings if you padded the start time, had a completely broken series link and would only work reliably if you flashed it with custom firmware) 7MC is a work of art.

Desire the issues, once you've worked around these and installed a couple of other (free) applications then you have a very capable DVR which can not only record and playback live TV, but access your DVD rips from multiple locations around the house (with the correct meta-data and cover art), view, schedule and play back recorded shows via your mobile or desktop web browser and play back streamed video from a number of online sources.

Yes, Boxee or XBMC would be a better choice if you just want to play video - but the GF wants to watch and record live TV which means that WMC is a good option.

Re:Windows Media Center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34404470)

I'm using and loving WMC, but sounds like you have installed some cool options. Could you post/list what you have extended it with? Thanks!

Re:Windows Media Center (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404686)

I'm using and loving WMC, but sounds like you have installed some cool options. Could you post/list what you have extended it with? Thanks!

Certainly! Here you go:

  • MediaBrowser [mediabrowser.tv] - an XBMC like interface for managing all your ripped movies and TV shows.
  • Remote Potato [fatattitude.com] - installs a web-server on your HTPC which will allow you to view what shows you have recorded, manage your recordings (including delete and schedule new shows) and stream recorded TV to your screen.
  • MediaControl [damienbt.free.fr] - a plugin that enables FFWD and RWD for non-WTV and DVR-MS files.
  • MoveRecordedTVMovies [live.com] - a simple command line app which looks for movies stored in your "Recorded TV" folder and moves them elsewhere (complete with correct folder structure). Handy if you don't want TV movies to clutter up your other recordings.
  • Shark007 codec pack [shark007.net] - the only codec pack you need. Install, select default/recommended settings and you'll be set up with all the major codec support (including MKV with DTS audio).
  • TunerFreeMCE [milliesoft.co.uk] (or) NeverMiss.TV [nevermiss.tv] - Allows you to watch catchup shows from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

You should also check out The Green Button forums [thegreenbutton.com] as they have lots of useful information and links to third party software. Also the people on it are extremely friendly if you have questions or issues.

I also have a script which removes duplicate recorded TV shows (when series link glitches) and I'm in the process of cleaning it up to release. I'll post the link to the forum above when it is completed.

Re:Windows Media Center (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405354)

I had the 2005 media center and my complaint was that it respects the broadcast flag. It wasn't so bad at first. I couldn't record off HBO, but everything else worked. But then Fox started putting it on all their shows. I don't remember who else did, but I noticed it because my wife and I could no longer watch her favorite show. I don't know if they still have this problem/policy, but MCE became less and less relevant over time, until one day the app stopped working, and I decided that I just didn't care enough to fix it.

Re:Windows Media Center (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405710)

I take it you haven't touched Boxee, MediaPortal or GameEx... All of which offer functionality missing from WMC. Though to be honest, I would love to have the best features of all three in one software.

Re:Windows Media Center (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405952)

I take it you haven't touched Boxee, MediaPortal or GameEx... All of which offer functionality missing from WMC. Though to be honest, I would love to have the best features of all three in one software.

I've played with Boxee a fair bit but it didn't support playback or recording of live TV. Never heard of GameEx I have to admit. I looked at MediaPortal, installed it to trial and the GF hated the UI so I never went back to it. I may look at it in the future, but now I have WMC set up it'll be a pain in the backside to move to something else.

sigh (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402664)

Disney? Who watches that? Why does Disney even have a tv channel?

Re:sigh (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402692)

Disney? Who watches that? Why does Disney even have a tv channel?

Because they still have lots of unskippable ads left over from their DVD production.

Re:sigh (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402928)

Disney channel is a godsend for every parent on this planet. Or so they think.

Disney offers "entertainment" (read: Keep 'em occupied) for kids from age 0 to ... well, god knows, while at the same time you, as a parent, needn't worry that there will be any violence AT ALL, aside of a teeenie little bit of cartoon violence that is immediately resolved and where you get immediately shown that nobody was hurt. The figures tumble and wobble and fall and bounce but they don't get hurt.

And it goes without saying that there is no sex. Romance, sure. Some guy falling in love with some girl, sighing and looking dreamy (or vice versa, don't worry, no male/male or female/female or other weird combinations possible), but you may rest assured that even a kiss is nothing more than a quick peck on the cheek.

You can park your kids in front of that and ignore them for a while. And they will love it and watch it, the TV controlling your kids while you can do something more rewarding than spending time with them. Ain't it great?

The question I'd have for such parents is just: Ok, no violence, no sex/nudity/whatever else you wouldn't want your kids to see, no reality whatsoever. Just a company firing episode after episode of their cutesy cartoon characters at your kids, interrupted by commercials telling them that they can have those cutesy cartoon characters at home and that they have to buy every piece of plastic crap Disney poops out?

Really think it's a good idea?

Re:sigh (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403254)

You forget the pre-teens dressing like street hookers... and making little girls also want to dress slutty.

You are an epic fail as a parent if you buy your 8 year old a miniskirt and a pair of skin tight pants that says JUICY on the ass.

Those 6-12 year old gir tv shows on Disney are disgusting as to how they push "fashon" on the little kids. then they back it up with buy this!!!!

It's a day long infomercial for children.

Re:sigh (1)

VisiX (765225) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403470)

No one on the Disney channel dresses in the way you describe. Perhaps you are thinking of some parody pornography or something.

Re:sigh (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34406772)

The question I'd have for such parents is just: Ok, no violence, no sex/nudity/whatever else you wouldn't want your kids to see, no reality whatsoever. Just a company firing episode after episode of their cutesy cartoon characters at your kids, interrupted by commercials telling them that they can have those cutesy cartoon characters at home and that they have to buy every piece of plastic crap Disney poops out?

There's a time and a place for everything. I expect my son to know about sex, nudity, violence, and war...aka "reality" someday, but that doesn't mean he has to be educated about those topics at an age where such knowledge might negatively impact his psychological development.

Been there, done that (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402800)

MS started doing Sky TV on the Xbox 360 some time in the last year or so in the UK, so Microsoft's certainly prepared to offer streaming TV. I figure its absence from the US has more to do with licencing and contracts than any technical hurdle.

I still don't get why (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402856)

They don't do a deal with Comcast to have your XBox be your cable box. (I mean besides the fact the video would have to come through the ethernet and therefore you'd have to have comcast as your internet company.) I mean they could charge a premium to turn it on and give it some slick name. (You know, like "Get Xfinity 360, only $20 extra a month.")

Re:I still don't get why (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403446)

That'll happen the day that Microsoft creates a module for the Linux kernel that runs Windows apps natively in X/Win.

Innovation (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34402880)

Why is innovation and technology today all about video games, tablets and streaming movies? I know they are profitable, but very limited in terms of providing something NEW.

Aren't there other technologies and forms of entertainment we can spend our time and money on?

Re:Innovation (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403506)

The one thing to remember is that technology is interchangable, and has a tendency to shift from one focus to another once it's invented.
The only that that's needed is the creation of a tech innovation and bam... off to something else entirely in the (near) future.
Think of it this way, what other reason would we suddenly have 40+ inch 3D capable television at 1080p that's about as thick as my hand? Our technology evolves, and uses whatever vector necessary to initiate it.
Think porn in the past for video transport technologies :)

Problem Solved (1)

Rizz (33500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403022)

Just give us a web browser on our 360s, MS. I'll shag clicker.com something fierce and you'll make your money off the hardware and Live subscription fee. Could it be any easer?

Viable alternative to set-top boxes? (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403104)

As someone who has not purchased a current generation console, I find this to be a big driving factor that may convince me to buy an Xbox360. If the options to get youtube, hulu, local media, and netflix all work seemlessly, this might also be the final nail in the coffin of expensive cable or satellite services for my house.

Is Sony paying any attention? This is their cue to do something smart.

Re:Viable alternative to set-top boxes? (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403222)

Why?

Get a RoKu box and get what you want now for a $99.00 box that does not have an additional $60.00 a year access fee like the Xbox360 does

Re:Viable alternative to set-top boxes? (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403420)

my Sony bluray player does that...It's not like something that's being invented.
I mean, the only reason I keep cable is because I like to watch off-the-cuff shows sometimes, and they are playing on discovery/history channel, or bounce through cnn/msnbc/hln to see what's going on real quick.

This is old news...

Re:Viable alternative to set-top boxes? (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403670)

There is no youtube support without using a third party program on a networked PC (such as TVersity, though I'm not sure if the free version will do youtube). I already use my 360 as a replacement for cable, between Netflix and streaming movies from my PC the only thing I'm really missing is football games which I solved by having an antenna hooked up to the TV to pick up the OTA broadcast. Hulu is not out yet but it has been promised in the next update. Overall it's a great solution for me but I can tolerate not seeing the newest episode of whatever show right when it comes out.

If you replace your TV subscription you can save a quite a bit. $12/mo Netflix sub for unlimited streaming and 1 Bluray at a time + ~$36/yr for LIVE gold (if you wait for a deal on a 12 month card) comes up to roughly $15/mo which is a lot cheaper than the local cable company wanted for basic digital at $60/mo.

Sony's already there (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405066)

Sony doesn't need to pay attention, the PS3 is already there.

- Local media: The PS3 can do local media (video/audio/pictures on the HD, or a USB drive).
- Remote Media: The PS3 can act as a DLNA [wikipedia.org] client
- CD/DVD/Blu-Ray: The PS3 has it built in.
- Netflix [www.netflix] : Since the last update, the Netflix client is now built into the console.
- Hulu+ [hulu.com] : The Hulu+ client is available as a free download from the PSN Store (you DO need to have a Hulu+ account with Hulu though). Also, Hulu is still working on expanding the content available on Hulu+ devices versus Hulu, so some things are still missing.
- Vudu [vudu.com] : They just added a Vudu client for "Same day as DVD release" Video on Demand.
- Sports: both "MBA.tv" and "NHL Gamecenter LIVE" have Clients (great if you're a sports nut, or married to one)
- VoD: Sony has been working to build out their VoD service. rent/buy TV/Movies (including next day availability of Cable TV shows, and making shows available by Channel to make things easier to find including HBO, Showtime, SyFy, etc.)

Coupled with the increased quality of Over The Air signals since the Digital Switchover, and the need for cable is less and less (depending on how you consume). In a busy city I get at least 10 stations (plus substations), with HD quality reception.

Personally I ditched cable and went with a PS3 and a TiVo.
The TiVo adds an easy to use DVR with a Dual Tuner (record up to two shows at once, while watching a third pre-recorded), includes a Netflix client, is supposed to get a Hulu+ client (according to both Hulu and TiVo), and also includes:
- YouTube [youtube.com] client
- Blockbuster [blockbuster.com] Video Client
- Amazon Video On Demand [amazon.com] Client
- Pandora Radio [pandora.com] Client
- and a few others (I'm getting too tired to list).

=========
For me the cost breakdown was as follows:
Cost:
- Top of the line TiVo with a lifetime subscription runs $500 + $13/month recurring. (gives capacity for ~150 Hours of HD quality recording or >1000 of SD level quality)
- Low end PlayStation 3 runs $300.
- Hulu+ runs $8/month
- Netflix runs $8/month (for streaming only, +$2 to include DVD shipping also)

Total cost:
Initial cost (minus tax, cables, antenna): $800
Recurring month cost: $30

Cable used to run me $130/month (for Cable+Internet), I switched to DSL (~$30/month) and what I listed above, and it dropped my monthly bills by $100 a month (though it takes 8-9 months before the savings kicks in since you're purchasing your own equpiment).
That allows me to get the occasional VoD Movie from Amazon VoD, or purchase a season of a Cable only show or two, and still come out ahead overall (plus I can budget myself and decide if I have the money for it, instead of being hit the cost every month, like it or not, wether I use it or not).
=========

As an added bonus, the PS3 also play games, and the TiVo records other shows constantly once it know what you like, so there is usually SOMETHING you might find interesting, even if it is a rerun of a different show.

You could also throw in a cheaper/cheap DVR if you don't care/want the dual tuners, or NO DVR if its just not feature you're interested in, which drops both the initial cost and the recurring cost quite a bit.

Cable's days (as we know it) are numbered, depending entirely on the Nets ability to absorb the extra use and the Cable Co's willingness to break Net Neutrality.

Foxtel on Xbox 360 already advertised in Australia (1)

Helen O'Boyle (324127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403186)

http://www.foxtel.com.au/xbox/default.htm [foxtel.com.au]

$20 for the basic package (which is quite basic), and $15 each for additional sets of channels like sport, movies, Showtime, and "entertainment" (random channels that didn't get into the basic package ;-).

This is not perfect. For example, Fox Sports will black out AFL and NRL games that they would normally show on cable, because they don't have Internet broadcast rights for those games. But it seems to be a fair start at giving people tired of paying hundreds of dollars for hundreds of channels, when they may only watch 7 or 8 channels that just happen to be spread across a few different packages, an alternative to cable TV. Completely unbundled pricing -- subscribe on a channel by channel basis -- would be ideal, and this isn't there yet, but maybe it'll help push things in that direction.

meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34403238)

Whatever agreements are necessary for the full ESPN on XBox Live are not available in my area, so for me ESPN on XBox is a raging joke. If they're TV service is anything like it, it'll be a complete non-event, like most other "big" media online announcements of late. Yes, I'm giving you the evil eye Google TV.

it won't matter (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403390)

My ISP won't allow me to consume that way. After all, It's direct competition with them. My ISP has instituted a cap so I don't consume from sources other than them. *cough* COMCAST!

Re:it won't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34403460)

Rogers up in Canada isn't any better, the best package they offer is capped at 95 GB/month, and they begin charging $1.50/GB if you exceed the cap. Since the only competitor, Bell, also has caps on their service, I don't see this taking off in Canada anytime soon.

Re:it won't matter (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34407296)

Speaking of Comcrap ...

From an email I receiver earlier today ...

--- 8http://act2.freepress.net/go/1081?akid=2071.9186247.v6FnQS&t=8

Earlier in the day, Comcast was exposed for trying to bar cheaper cable modems from its network — a clear violation of Net Neutrality.
http://act2.freepress.net/go/1082?akid=2071.9186247.v6FnQS&t=10 [freepress.net]
This is what a media monopoly looks like in the Internet age — one company, consolidating its media power to squash competitors, stifle innovation and price-gouge consumers.

Sign our message to the FCC: "Don't Let Comcast Kill the Internet."

We need FCC Chairman Genachowski to speak out again the Comcast-NBC merger and enact strong Net Neutrality rules to protect consumers from Comcast’s abuse. If the FCC stays on the sidelines, Comcast will turn the Internet into cable TV, where it gets to pick the channels, overcharge you for them, and decide what downloads quickly and whose voices are heard.

Comcast is the same company that wants to take over NBC Universal in one of the biggest media mergers in a generation. It's not just the Internet at stake here. It's the future of all media: television, radio, social networks... and our democracy itself.

Visit http://act2.freepress.net/sign/comcast_violations/?source=conf [freepress.net] and urge the FCC to act now and save the Internet.

Thanks!

Let's not get too excited (4, Insightful)

wynterwynd (265580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403476)

One thing I can all but guarantee, it won't be cheaper than cable/satellite. The a la carte television service is not a new idea. The same people that fucked it up when it was explored back in the early cable days and who fucked it up for Netflix, Hulu, and every other streaming service will be there for this one. And no, it won't be Comcast or AT&T or any of the people that actually bill you. They WANT to provide people the most flexible service they could, that would draw more customers.

No, this will be reinvented to death by the content providers.

You will see $10 monthly subscriptions for each media producing company's channel packages, tiers of packages for the big ones like Turner or Disney, and my guess is you'll end up with a la carte that costs just as much as your bundled cable TV does if not more. You will likely be able to buy comparable "bundles" at the same cost per month as traditional subscription television. But if you truly want a la carte programming, you'll end up paying as much or more for fewer overall channels.

The carriers (Comcast, ATT, etc) are not going to give you a choice of ignoring the providers' experimental networks and shows, they're locked into paying for them just as you are by contracts printed in the 80's and they already oversell their ad space with the channels they have. They would start a riot with their advertisers over the suddenly very narrow marketing window if they didn't force you to accept some channels you don't want. If they did, new channels would never get off the ground and niche channels would die out from lack of funding.

Well, why do I need a channel anyway, you might ask. Let me just watch the shows I want and stuff the channels.

That is the reason why Netflix and Hulu are getting the push back on providing streaming content that they are. The entire business system is based on a model that presumes upon timeslot-based content to promote and target prime advertising and shows. The technology to provide the media has changed, but the business model behind it never had to. Now it is suddenly bucking hard against what they see as the iTunes to their RIAA, coming to slay the lumbering beast of their outmoded business plan. There are simply too many people who ALL have to be on board for it to work.

I'm not saying it will never work, but I'm saying don't get too excited about this announcement. Microsoft will play ball with content providers, it won't try to leverage them into the 21st century (like Google or Apple). You might see it change down the road for the better as studios and networks start to realize that they cannot dictate how we watch their programming anymore. If they want to join the rest of us in the World of Tomorrow, some big sweeping changes to their business has to take place first. And that will be slow and painful for them, and for us in the meantime.

be like canada with theme packs and buy the box (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403604)

be like Canada with theme packs and being able to buy the box with no mirroring or outlet fees.

But why can't you just get limited basic + HBO?

OR just pay for ESPN + your RSN and other sports channels?

I don't want to pay for disney channel but want ESPN.

You can buy stuff like NHL gamecenter that is just on line why can't they have low cost local team only pack?

Re:be like canada with theme packs and buy the box (1)

werfu (1487909) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403712)

Yet in canada most ISP have quota which will render this kind of offer non possible here. Just look at Videotron. They're offering a 7.5Mbit/40gigs, 15mbits/60gig, 30/100gig, 50mbits/125gig, 120mbits/170gig. All quotas except the first have unlimited overcharge, at 1.50$ by gigabyte. At full throttle the later will only last 3.3h. Full throttle for a day and you'll get a near 2000$ fee for busting your quota. Ok, this isn't really possible, as their network surely can't handle giving all that bandwidth. But it still show off how abusing quotas are here in Canada.

Re:Let's not get too excited (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403696)

So Microsoft would really be better off creating a solution that "plays nice" with the cable
you probably already have while delivering all of the OTHER features that everyone else
has? IOW, instead of mostly ignoring newer video capture devices they should be very
intensely working to support them and have them working with MCE upon initial release
(like Sage and MythTV does).

That and pushing nice integrated solutions that require only as much fidgeting as
Big Content and Big Cable makes necessary.

And how is this supposed to help? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34403808)

My cable company is the only ISP in my area that offers a decent broadband speed. So how exactly is this supposed to help me circumvent my cable company again?

TV on my console? Do not want. (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404242)

Look: I play video games because watching TV bores me to the point of violence. I do not want to watch TV on my console; I want to play games on my console.

I can see it now.... (1)

mrjimorg (557309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34404926)

I change the channel and Clippy appears to announce that I have to watch a 1 minute ad sponsored by a Microsoft partner before watching that channel. After the ad is done I get a 502 error which after a google search I find out is caused because the channel 'might' show something with DRM.

You still have to pay the cable company (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34405884)

The idea is to better personalize content and only pay for what you want to watch instead of paying cable companies for all the channels you don't watch.

But the reality is that their service currently requires you to have an existing contract with a cable company for the channels you want to watch on your 360. You can't just pay for ESPN and watch that on your 360 and not pay the cable company, and the cable companies certainly won't make it easy for such a scenario to happen. Besides, you still have to pay Microsoft for the Live! subscription, so access fees aren't going anywhere in general.
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