Microsoft Category

Microsoft and Internet Television

xbox-originals-logoMicrosoft has long held ambitious plans to turn its games console into a media hub delivering masses of content of all kinds into people’s living rooms. With Xbox Originals, it may be on its way to realizing this dream. Unfortunately, while the initiative has a lot of promise, the details leave a lot of room for disappointment.

Xbox Originals

Microsoft has announced the initial lineup for Xbox Originals, its first foray into original programming. Committed projects include a Halo TV show, Every Street United, an unscripted show featuring famous soccer players, and Humans, a show about robotic servants.

There are further projects in development that may or may not make it past the pilot stage. These include Deadlands, based on a pen-and-paper RPG, Gun Machine, a detective thriller based on the novel by Warren Ellis, and Winterworld, based on Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino’s series of graphic novels.

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microsoft-netflixRumors are building that Microsoft is preparing to make a bid for Netflix. Rumors that have helped the Netflix stock price jump considerably. But does the unsubstantiated rumor make any sense, or is it just a shot in the dark?

Microsoft Buying Netflix?

The rumors that Microsoft was preparing to buy Netflix reportedly spread like wildfire around Wall Street last week, with the tipping point likely to have been Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stepping down from the Microsoft board of directors. An incoming acquisition bid could be the reason for this move, but there are many other possible reasons too, including the fact that Hastings is too busy to fulfill his role.

CNET is reporting that the rumors claimed Microsoft is willing to pay $90-per-share to get Netflix. Which seems reasonable, especially as the company is now on the rise again after its troubles of 2011. The rumors meant that Netflix stock rose by over 10 percent on Friday (Oct. 26).

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Xbox 360If you have your Xbox 360 hooked up to the Internet, and why wouldn’t you, quite frankly, then it will update itself tomorrow to the latest version of the Xbox Live dashboard. And this upgrade brings television and movies galore to the games console.

Xbox Live Upgrade

We have known this large and rather impressive Xbox Live upgrade was coming since the beginning of October, and it’s finally set to land on the Xbox 360 consoles of gamers tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011).

Everything is pretty much as expected, with a host of broadcasters and content providers partnering with Microsoft to have their movies and television shows available to watch directly through the online service. Bravo, ESPN, HBO, Syfy, BBC, Canal+, FOXTEL, MediaSet, and ZDF are just a few of the names launching on Xbox Live, with many in the U.S., others in countries around the world.

They’re not all free: an Xbox Live Gold subscription is a must, while many of the individual companies have their own subscription packages. But that doesn’t take away from the joy of having all these services available on the one set-top box. One which has 35 million users.

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PS3 Wii Xbox 360In the U.S., and probably elsewhere in the world in the territories where gaming is popular, games consoles are the primary platform for viewing online video content on a television set. Who needs games when you have a world of digital content at your fingertips?

A Prediction Proved

If you watch online video on your TV then the chances are you do so using a games console. At least according to new data from a market research firm. Which really should come as no surprise as it was a trend we foresaw happening way back in February 2009.

It was then I wrote an article primarily about more content coming to the Xbox 360 but also suggesting that games consoles were becoming “important drivers of online video” and helping make the sector “mainstream and accessible to all.” Both predictions have been proven correct in the two years since that article appeared here on WebTVWire.

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Hulu LogoGoogle is one of a trio of household names jockeying to take on Hulu. That is if the rumors are to be believed, and that the service is up for sale in the first place. None of which has been confirmed as yet.

Hulu For Sale

News leaked on June 22 that Hulu was potentially up for sale, with its owners News Corp., Walt Disney, Comcast, and Providence Equity seeking a buyer to take on the relatively successful online video service.

At the time those always-fun ‘inside sources’ claimed that the process would begin in two weeks, with interested parties invited to express their interest in bidding in the meantime. That process now seems to have begun, and the companies rumored to be interested in acquiring Hulu include the biggest names possible.

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Xbox-360 TVMicrosoft could be about to announce a new IPTV service specifically for Xbox 360 owners. Named Xbox LIVE Diamond it sounds like being one step up from Xbox LIVE Gold.

Xbox LIVE Diamond

Microsoft is being heavily tipped to unveil a new Xbox LIVE television service at the E3 Expo next week. Named Xbox LIVE Diamond (codename Orapa), the TV service would add even more video content to the bestselling games console which is already bulging with video content.

According to WinRumors, Microsoft is busy getting the final partners in place before making the big announcement. Orapa would be a monthly subscription service which would cost money on top of what Xbox 360 owners are already paying for the privilege of going online using their consoles.

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Xbox 360 LogoMicrosoft is considering launching a TV channel on its Xbox Live service exclusively for owners of the Xbox 360 games console. But would gamers be willing to pay for the service, or would an advertising-supported option prove to be wiser?

Video Games Consoles

Games consoles are increasingly becoming a central hub for entertainment, way beyond gaming. Thanks to all three current-gen home consoles, the Xbox 360 from Microsoft, the PS3 from Sony, and the Wii from Nintendo, being able to connect to the Internet, a whole new world has opened up.

The three consoles offer different online TV services. All of them now carry Netflix, with the Wii being the most recent device to join the party. The Wii and PS3 also carry BBC iPlayer in the U.K., and the PS3 has VidZone, a free, ad-supported music video player.

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