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Microsoft and BT Bring BT Vision To Xbox 360

by David Mercer | Jan 09, 2008

Microsoft and BT have confirmed widespread and longstanding rumours that they will enable Xbox 360 owners in the UK to access BT Vision through the console. Details on pricing have not been announced but the service is expected to be rolled out "in the middle of 2008". It will be available to existing BT broadband customers who own Xbox 360s as well as any new device owners. We spoke with Dan Marks, CEO BT Vision, and Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Connected Television Division at Microsoft, during CES. The companies are clear to present this deal as a partnership of equals, and it is certainly further confirmation of how BT continues to innovate around connected home services. But it is also a good example of how the shifting sands in digital media are creating opportunities, certainly, but also potential conflicts between companies that may previously have been partners. In fact, Microsoft's Robbie Bach, who heads up the company's Entertainment and Devices activities, more or less confirmed that the Xbox 360 provides competition to cable and satellite companies with his observation that it already offers, through the Xbox Live service, more on-demand video than these traditional service providers. That comment applied to the US market, and video downloads through Xbox Live have only recently been introduced elsewhere. What seems to be happening is that the Xbox video strategy is being tailored to the competitive environment in different parts of the world. BT has been one of the leading partners of Microsoft's Mediaroom (formerly MicrosoftTV) IPTV platform, and Microsoft appears, for the moment at least, to be content to have BT as a major partner to push its Xbox 360 video capabilities. Our understanding is that the BT Vision video on demand service will appear as a distinct "portal" on the Xbox Live menu, although no demonstrations of the commercial product have yet been seen. Microsoft also expects to roll out its own video on demand offer through Xbox Live (in the UK), so at first sight it might appear that it could be competing with BT for VOD customers. Much will depend on what video is actually made available on each service, and which content partnerships are formed. As long as the Microsoft/BT partnership remains in good shape, they will manage things to minimise potential conflicts. Client Reading: Global IPTV Forecast: Homes, Users and Subscribers Add to Technorati Favorites
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