Microsoft takes Xbox into the pay-TV fold

By Paul Hayes

SYDNEY, NSW: Just days after Sony announced a major push to make its PlayStation3 the hub of the living room, Microsoft and Foxtel have announced a deal that will allow Xbox 360 users to access pay-TV channels through their gaming console.

Called Xbox Live, the new service is due out later this year and, for the first time, will allow access to Foxtel without the need for a dedicated set-top-box, Foxtel said.

Users will instead need an Xbox 360, an Xbox Gold subscription and a Foxtel by Xbox LIVE subscription.

Xbox LIVE will also provide a wide range of video on demand services, including movies and television series.

Foxtel chief executive and managing director, Kim Williams, called the deal an, “exciting new frontier.”

“Foxtel by Xbox LIVE will provide our 1.6 million subscribing households, as well as new customers, a transformative way of receiving and enjoying FOXTEL over the internet.

“With at least 30 live channels and a wide suite of video on demand services, delivered over the internet via Xbox LIVE, no other television service comes close to this revolutionary new IP offering.”

The timing of this announcement was significant, coming on the same day Sony officially went live with its PlayStation Network Video Delivery Service, a new movie on demand service designed specifically for both the PlayStation3 and PlayStation Portable devices.

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