Foxtel on Xbox 360 to mislead sports fans

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Foxtel on Xbox 360 is set to mislead sports fans, as it promotes itself as offering a wide collection of sporting content that it cannot possibly show live. The new service, which was announced today, offer Xbox Live subscribers the chance to access a sports package for around $30 per month.

Although this is being heralded as a ‘game-changing’ development, it is actually a misnomer to suggest that users can now watch Foxtel through their Xbox 360 console. Although there is a selection of channels available for $20 per month, users do not have access to the full gamut of stations available to true Foxtel subscribers.

Only Fox8, MTV, Nickelodeon, Channel V, LifeStyle You, Discovery, National Geographic, TV1 and three 24-hour news channels are available. Users who want more channels can pay for one or more of three packages, which start at $10 each. There’s the entertainment package, a movies package and a sports package.

The sports package includes a dedicated Xbox channel called Fox Sports Play, plus ESPN, Eurosport and Fuel. Fox Sports Play will synthesise the content of three dedicated Fox Sports channels onto one channel. Although Foxtel markets this as containing a great collection of content, such as A-League, English Premier League, Wallabies matches and domestic and international cricket, the conflicts in timing for these events means that it can’t broadcast all of them live.

To put into perspective the impact of clashes on TV sports programming, Foxtel proper has had two 24-hour dedicated Sports channels for 10 years, and added a third almost 5 years ago. Just picking up on two of its advertised content, the Wallabies upcoming spring tour and the English Premier League: the scheduled Wallabies tests against Wales, England and Italy all conflict with major English Premier League fixtures, including Manchester United v Wolves, Newcastle v Fulham and Birmingham v Chelsea.

One Xbox 360 Live subscriber contacted by said he was immediately wary of these conflicts.

"$30 per month for a couple of EPL games and maybe a half here and there of A-League isn’t enough for me. I would be irritated as well if a test match was shown over an important football game," he said.

Both Foxtel and Xbox 360 were very happy with this announcement.

“We are innovating in the packaging and delivery of Foxtel expanding across multiple devices to provide customers with more ways to enjoy television programming, sport and movies. With the addition of the Foxtel on Xbox 360 Internet TV service Foxtel is at the forefront on entertainment technology and will now offer Australians mobile, HD, 3D and Internet TV,” said managing director Kim Williams.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to be partnering with Foxtel, an organisation with more high quality film, television and sports content than any other in Australia. Together we’re pioneering the delivery of Internet TV on a scale not yet seen in this country. We have sold over a million Xbox 360 consoles already in Australian homes. Foxtel on Xbox 360 will be available to all Xbox LIVE members in Foxtel serviced areas.”

According to the release, only residents of Foxtel metropolitan areas of Australia with Xbox 360 Live subscriptions can receive Foxtel. Furthermore, only users with ADSL or cable broadband at 1.5MB per second are encouraged to subscribe.

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