Move over Apple and Google TV, there is a new Sherrif in town.
Microsoft, with the ongoing effort to make its gaming console, Xbox 360, the hub of TV all entertainment, announced a partnership with content providers to offer live TV and other premium contents from close to 40 TV providers around the world.
Microsoft, in a press release , announced its partnerships with TV providers to bring entertainment and premium contents to more than 20 countries this holiday with its Xbox Live entertainment service. With this partnership, Microsoft will bring a variety of contents such as movie, games, sports, music, and on-demand TV from close to 40 leading TV providers all worldwide.
In the United-States, Microsoft has partnered with content and TV providers such as Comcast, HBO, ESPN, and Verizon FiOS to bring TV entertainment with Xbox Live service. Internationally, Microsoft will be providing Live TV from BBC, Telefonica, Televisa, ZDF and MediaSet, ABC iView, FOXTETL. You can read the Microsoft press release for a complete list of all the TV providers.
With this partnership, along with other interesting aspects that will be discussed in a few, Microsoft Xbox Live has the possibility to bring a unique entertainment experience that other competitor will have a hard time matching in terms of the content that will be available from the Xbox Live TV, the game console hardware, its related accessories and user base, and the natural user experience.
In the business of TV entertainment, content is the key. Microsoft, partnering with more than 40 leading-TV providers from more than 20 countries, will have more contents to provide than any TV provider alone aligning with Microsoft’s goal to make the Xbox 360 and the Xbox live service the hub of TV entertainment. With this service, Xbox live subscribers will have the seemingly unlimited choice to consume a plethora of content - sports, games, movies, HD channels, and music – without the restriction that comes when subscribing with one TV cable provider or streaming service. Xbox Live TV will bring you all the entertainment that one can have.
Xbox 360, as a video game console, is a pretty solid hardware bringing the best gaming experience and couple with the Xbox Live service, Xbox live subscribers will be able to experience the best TV entertainment and gaming experience. And with over 35 million Xbox live subscribers, one will be able to experience the best social gaming experience. This also represents unique opportunity to TV providers to target a huge diverse and worldwide audience. For instance, BBC can now offer TV shows to people living in the US. Although this is was already possible, people can only get international based on what their cable providers offers as opposed to what was available in large. But what will make the Xbox Live TV service a unique and different experience is the way of interacting with the contents, which brings me to my last point.
When it comes to TV entertainment, interacting with the content for the most part is a subpar experience. When you watching TV, you use your remote control, made of small and multitude buttons that are difficult to use, to open, select a channel. Using a remote control is nothing desirable. Microsoft has the opportunity to change that. With the Xbox 360, the Kinect and a new Metro-like dashboard, which by the way will be necessary to experience the new Xbox Live TV, Microsoft can change how we interact with TV bringing a natural way of interact with our contents. With deeply and well-integrated Bing search service, searching for content will become natural and inviting experience then trying to figure out how to the difficult alphanumeric remote control button. With voice-command, selecting a TV show or anything TV-related becomes natural. The new Metro interface will offer the users a UI that is easy to use with voice or gesture possible with the Kinect. With the already-announced-yet-to-be-seen windows phone application dubbed, Xbox companion, windows phone owners will be able to easily find content, and learn about what they are watching, listening to, or playing. This application will allow people to control and play with their content; essentially replace the remote control.
Although there are other aspects such as the app store, the social hub and the ability to have Web streaming video from providers such as Youtube that will make the news Xbox Live TV a unique experience, the seemingly unlimited amount of contents from all the TV providers, the hardware that will essential replace our receiver boxes, and the natural way of interacting with contents with a unique UI that will make TV entertainment user a new era of TV entertainment. Something that Apple and Google TV have failed to accomplished.
What do you think? please comment below and share your insight.