Last week at the CES Robbie Bach announced that the Xbox 360 will be getting IPTV capabilities. I'm very stoked about this and I'm curious about the specifics of it, in particular:
- Will it be free for Xbox live customers? (probably not likely, but I can dream, right?)
- Will it be HDTV (I'm guessing it will support at least 720p)?
- Will I be able to watch local channels?
- Will I pay through my XBL subscription or will this be through a separate service provider?
At any rate, I'm excited about this as it is most likely based on technologies that I contribute to. 2007 is looking to be a big year for the Xbox 360 and I believe that Microsoft's console will be pushing ahead of the competition with initiatives like this IPTV solution and integration with the upcoming home media server. Also in this release is the mention of 10.4M consoles being shipped (sold?) which traditionally has been the forecasting figure for the dominant console in each generation. According to nexgenwars.com we've sold 9.7M consoles and will probably pass the 10M sold figure very soon as well.
I'm very excited about the possibiliites of this service, imagine being able to video chat with your friends in other states while watching a basketball game over IPTV or watching a movie with your parents who are in another state. These are the kinds of innovative scenarios that I never dreamed would be possible until recently seeing the potential of software in the 360. I hope that the Zune sees this sort of innovation in its software updates as well this year. This seems to be a video of the interface in action, shows 720p video, PVR, and sweet, sweet alpha blending of menus over streaming video.
The following press release covers the official press for the IPTV software platform:
Microsoft Integrates IPTV Software Platform With Xbox 360, Creating All-in-One Digital Entertainment Device
New solution combines next-generation TV and gaming into unique entertainment platform for service providers.
LAS VEGAS — Jan. 8, 2007 — At the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. today announced a new solution that will bring together two of its leading entertainment products, the Xbox 360™ gaming console and the Microsoft® TV IPTV Edition software platform, to create a unique digital entertainment offering. IPTV on Xbox 360™ is expected to be available to consumers by holiday season 2007 and will be offered by providers that are deploying TV services over broadband networks based on the IPTV Edition software platform. The solution was unveiled during Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ CES keynote address Jan. 7.
The integration of a video gaming console with Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services is intended to deliver a first-of-its-kind entertainment experience. IPTV on Xbox 360 is expected to give consumers all the advantages of an advanced TV service along with the benefits of next-generation gaming, as well as unique new capabilities that the integrated solution brings. Xbox Live®, the largest online social network in the living room, will be seamlessly integrated into the experience, providing consumers with a wide range of community-based features, such as voice chat, sending and receiving text and voice messages, and accessing Xbox Live Marketplace, all while watching TV. For example, while a TV viewer is enjoying his favorite football game, he can receive a message from a friend inviting him to a join voice chat while watching the game, or to play a game of their own with EA SPORTS™ “Madden NFL 07” on Xbox Live.
“Both Xbox 360 and Microsoft TV IPTV Edition by themselves deliver unique and exciting entertainment experiences today, but IPTV on Xbox 360 is truly a solution that is greater than the sum of its parts and will enable even more exciting experiences to delight consumers, service providers, content providers and game developers alike,” said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division. ”By integrating these industry-leading solutions, we are delivering on our promise to drive innovation and enable new connected entertainment experiences for consumers in a way that only Microsoft can.”
With the addition of IPTV Edition functionality, Xbox 360 builds on its position as the centerpiece for high-definition digital entertainment in the living room, offering the best in next-generation games, TV and movies along with the ability to share experiences online with the industry-leading online game network, Xbox Live. Xbox 360 continues to extend its lead with more than 10.4 million consoles sold in 37 countries since launch.
The Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software platform enables a best-in-class digital TV service that offers advanced features such as instant channel zapping, a rich and responsive user interface, video on demand with branded video-on-demand storefronts, digital video recording and high-definition television. Some of the world’s largest telecommunications service providers have chosen IPTV Edition as their IPTV software solution, with scale commercial deployments currently under way with AT&T in the United States, BT Group PLC in the United Kingdom, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, T-Online in France and Swisscom in Switzerland.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a catalog of
more than 160 high-definition games and is available in 37 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
About the Microsoft TV Platform
The Microsoft TV platform is a family of software solutions that help TV service providers create and deliver new digital TV services that delight consumers. Designed to help cable providers and telecommunications companies derive more value from their digital video and network infrastructure investments, the Microsoft TV family supports a full range of services including interactive program guides, digital video recording, high-definition TV, on-demand programming and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) services. The Microsoft TV platform works across a full range of set-top boxes and TV devices. More information about Microsoft TV can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/tv.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.