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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 29, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Xbox 360 getting Comcast, Verizon, HBO TV, report says

Comcast and Verizon are among the cable companies inking deals to stream TV content to the Xbox 360 starting this holiday season, according to a new report.

Microsoft has said the TV deals will be announced by the end of the year but hasn’t specified which providers are on board.

A Bloomberg report citing “people with knowledge of the situation” said Comcast, Verizon and HBO are among a lineup of TV providers Microsoft expects to sign.

It said the new lineup of streaming TV on the Xbox could be announced as early as next week.

Pricing of the TV content is unclear, but the Bloomberg story said Comcast and Verizon’s FiOS service will require users of the new service to prove they are already paying for cable TV.

That suggests Microsoft’s taking a licensing approach similar to that used with streaming coverage of the Olympics – which it has provided through browsers to cable customers – and ESPN3, which now streams content to Xbox Live subscribers who pay for cable service.

Other providers apparently coming to Xbox, according to the story, are Sony’s Crackle streaming service, the Bravo and Syfy channels and Amazon’s Lovefilm UK.

My guess is that you’ll be able to get cable TV content through your Xbox 360 if you already have the service coming into your house. You’ll also see an expanded menu of rental or pay-per-view type type services available through the console.

I wonder if the cable companies will charge a monthly fee for the console to function as an additional receiver in the home, or perhaps Microsoft will cover that fee for people paying for Xbox Live Gold subscriptions.

The big question: if Sony’s Crackle is coming to the Xbox, what is Sony going to get in return – MSNBC on the PlayStation 3?

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on the report.

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