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back to article Microsoft notices Xbox gamers actually slack-jawed TV fans, adds 43 new apps

Everyone's been waiting for a game-changing Apple TV product to come riding over the hill, but it could be Microsoft that captures the internet TV market first. In the Xbox, Microsoft already has a popular internet box that people plug into the sitting room TV. Now Microsoft is ramping up the TV and video content available on …

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FAIL

Huh

People really pay Microsoft just to connect to their online network? Has anyone told the parents of these kids they're being scammed? Pay for the privelege of paying for something else.. sounds like an excellent deal.

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Hmm

I was a happy gold user for years. Bluntly I liked the experience and didn't notice the cost.

I mean I was aware PSN was free - but then I was also aware of the eternal mess it seemed to be.

Few things made me change my mind - the pointless MS bonus points trying to make it appear 'good value', PSN introducing their own paid subscription which actually seemed to offer something new, but most importantly their last batch of f'in dashboard updates that turned 'my' console into a f'in advertising hoarding at the expense of usability.

Basically if something's free, I'll put up with adverts - google is a fine example. I get free stuff and I accept they need to get something infront of me that covers their costs. Alternatively I'm happy to pay for something, if it's geared around making life as perfect as possible for me - e.g. the updates for parties, beacons etc - I used to look forward to each update as it used to bring 'cool shit'

Xbox just seems to have lost their soul/way. Maybe it's just me, or maybe it's just that Xbox is no longer just a fun little MS side-project that they hoped would cover their costs one day.

Anyway - I've let my gold subscription lapse, most of my games have been donated to the office pile, and I'm back on Steam. Can't see myself going back to consoles - my next 'console' will be a second PC plugged to the TV.

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WTF?

Re: Hmm

If you want to charge for using voice over IP that's fine..people pay for things like Ventrillo, not as much as you do for XBox Live but that's just life. But to charge for something that EVERYONE else gives for free is just a rip off. They don't supply the content, they don't provide the infrastructure for the bandwidth your browsing or streaming requires and you've already paid for the hardware. So effectively you're giving Microsoft money for something other people are providing. If you really want to use online console networks for gaming, that's your call, though why you'd want to engage in what passes for conversation with the kind of no-life twat that inhabits those networks is beyond me. But when it comes to accessing online content, Microsoft is no better than any other network out there. Using Netflix, Hulu and Amazon is just as painless on a PS3 or Wii as it is on an XBox. Same with browsing or accessing media servers. The difference is that right now Sony and Nintendo don't charge money for accessing online content whereas Microsoft most definitely does. Sony''s paid network is of no relevance to this conversation as the article's topic was specifically that Microsoft have realised that people want access to TV apps. It has nothing to do with paying subscriptions for discounted games and gaming content.

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Facepalm

So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

Who like to pay their XBOX Gold membership fee to access the Netflix/Lovefilm subscription they already paid for?

Don't tell 'em it's free on the PS3...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

It means there are between 20-30m idiots out there at least...

to be fair, only 56% of Xbox360 owners are stupid enough to pay for Xbox Live Gold and double dip subsciptions, because Microsoft tell them it's really good...

Given the 50%ish failure rate of the Xbox, it's likely there are only 40m ACTIVE Xbox360 users, so between 20-30m stupid enough to pay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

50% failure rate? WTF are you on? (Test production runs don't count).

You mean that failure rate that is no higher than the failure rate of the PS3 right? If you mean the original Xbox however, your post is as redundant as the console.

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Facepalm

Re: So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

Indeed there are dimwitted people. They also buy PS3 and all that Sony DRM goodness. Enjoy.

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Re: So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

You do realise that the RROD defective machines were replaced, so hasn't changed the numbers that you are playing with?

I won't defend the platform- the first generation of machines were as noisy as hell (unsuitable for any kind of media playback) - and the paying to use the online features (which as far as I know, is a peer-to-peer system that doesn't place too much workload on MS's servers - though I may be wrong) isn't great, but you are exhibiting that unfortunate tendency to class whole swathes of your fellow humans as 'idiots'. Pillock.

A year's subscription to XBOX Live Gold is less than quid a week... far cheaper than that extra half pint on a Thursday, a take-away snack once in a while, a coffee on the way to work, or a monthly trip to the cinema. Why single out this one expenditure for your poorly thought-out judgement?

The PS3 is the more versatile, civilised machine, though. No charge to play games online- but that's just as well given Sony's history of keeping user's account details secure.

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FAIL

Re: So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

You have a cute, but entirely flawed interpretation of basic maths.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

What DRM? The same DRM all consoles use... Sure Microsoft's console has rubbish DRM, and most games are cracked and online long before release, but that only means developers are less likely to bother with Xbox next time around, as they have shown Microsoft to be a bunch of incompetent idiots when it comes to hardware.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So does that mean there's a lot of dim people

I'm guessing you didn't bother reading your link... Yes, after 6 years on the market, Microsoft have finally managed to get the Xbox360 failure down to that of the PS3, that's been pretty reliable since day one...

http://www.nofussreviews.com/survey-results-2012

In 2009 ( 4 years after launch), the failure rate was still around the 55% - 60% mark. The warranty extension had long since finished.... Not that much to shout about really...

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Anonymous Coward

Err, I think you mean geeks...

Geeks do... Nerds talk about doing...

And yes, I run MythTV over HDMI... :)

Anon to avoid office ridicule...

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Re: Err, I think you mean geeks...

Office ridicule? For being a geek? What kind of backwards office do you work it? 'Geek' and 'nerd' are badges of honor to be worn proudly in this day and age. It's been that way ever since the drones who used to ridicule us figured out who it is that the have to go begging for help when they have computer problems.

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Three Thoughts

"People buy our game console and use it more and more to watch tv/movies." Or, people use it less to play games, which should be a big red flag about the viability of the games industry, if not for Microsoft, then for the developers of console games.

If I gave into the temptation of invoking infallible Apple, I'd suggest that if it was a plethora of apps that cracked the tv question, we'd see the app-happy AppleTV by now. But I will say this, the AppleTV is a product with a clear purpose, to display the entertainment available on one's computer and Internet on one's television. The XBox is a games console first and a content viewer secondarily, which means someone like me, who doesn't care about games, stops listening.

It also occurs to me that as mature hardware, the current XBox should be profitable at its retail price. At rollout of new hardware, the manufacturers have taken losses on new consoles, intending to make that up on the purchase of games tied to the new platform. A few years after release, manufacturing costs fall. As a result, hardware refreshes are few. Now, if the XBox, or its successor, becomes the tv disruptor, what will that say about the price or its competitiveness as a games console, and how does being the conduit for someone else's revenue stream of subscriptions and advertising add to Microsoft's bottom line, let alone subsidize hardware refreshes?

The XBox TV may be more of a toaster-fridge than the Surface and the riddle as to how do computing companies transform entertainment delivery and grab significant value from Hollywood looks to me unsolved.

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Stop

Re: Three Thoughts

Thought one: that's not a corollary. People often watch more TV than play games; this could just be an indication that Xbox is in more "normal" houesholds (ie ones where gaming isn't a focus) than before. Also, the amount of time playing games doesn't mean anything; some people literally don't have time. And that's fine, as long as they keep playing games. So the metric is (as it's always been) attach rate. Nothing new to see here.

Thought two: that's a marketing exercise, and ironically it's probably proven to be false by the first thought: Xboxes are in more "normal" households than before.

Thought three: through the biz-speke I think you're saying that Xbox can't keep up with being a console if prices must be low but specs must be high, and where do they make a profit if that's where things go? I guess one answer would be the PS2: people bought it because it was a DVD player (and cheaper than the alternatives) as well as a games console. No-one's going to tell me that the PS2 wasn't also a phenomenally successful gaming console as well.

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Meh

Re: Three Thoughts

I think (as in my case) people had xboxes for gaming and now it's became possible to get films & TV programmes through it, and simply because it already happens to be connected to the TV gets used for watching films/tv.

So i'm not sure that it being in more 'normal' households is right either - I imagine it's in the same households but is now being used for more 'normal' activities...

I don't think anyone would go out and buy an xbox purely to watch films/tv on (for a start there's the live subs, though i don't know if you actually need it to get films etc, then there's no blue-ray player so it limits its usefulness there too...) I think in this instance microsoft is just taking advantage of a potential revenue stream simply because it can - squeezing the last bit potential out of the xbox 360 before they bring out the next one.

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Linux

Re: Three Thoughts

Your "clear purpose" there is missing a few things.

An AppleTV really does very little to get the content from your PC onto your TV. It's a lot better if you jailbreak it but who really wants to bother with that. It's the sort of thing that seems more appropriate for Linux users than Apple users and the Linux users are already using MythTV.

Microsoft realizing that the "computing appliance" that plays games can also be a "video appliance" is rather obvious actually.

The first Xbox WAS a PC. This point is especially obvious if you've ever seen the original Xbox dev kit.

It's a concept that might not play well to blithering Apple fanboys (or Linux Zealots) but that doesn't seem to be hurting the concept any.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Three Thoughts

I've gotta say I watch more media on my pc than I play games, I also write more than I play games and, probably I absorb more internet than play games. But I do consider myself something of a games player the 100 odd games on steam would point to that as well as a smattering of none steam titles (gamersgate / f2p / etc )

I don't really think it's all that odd for people who have a console or pc plugged into their TV to use it to do media.

I'd sooner have a pc though, going round my mates who has a 360 plugged into his tv I got to experiance the really rather dodgy interface (sort by date added doesn't seem to work on its youtube app and the youtube via the browser is all kinds of dodgy, the browser ui over laps the search bar, it doesn't go full screen, if you click the link that takes you to the app it only opens the app, it doesn't open the app at the video you clicked the app button.) Not to mention it was pretty bad at handling the stream (audio out of synch, stuttering, etc) anyhow, I'll keep my pc, and lets face it you can get a machine that'll do 1080, with half decent storage for a couple of hundred quid.

The other funny thing was that without a gold subscription you couldn't use youtube - which was surreal.

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Re: Three Thoughts

"I don't think anyone would go out and buy an xbox purely to watch films/tv on"

Wrong. I have 1 that was bought for this purpose alone, and another (original 360 design) that I bought in 2006, used for about a year, didn't really use much until it got on-demand, and now it's used daily.

Both are Gold Subscribed, and both are basically used only for the tv/film stuff.

Someone in our office also bought an Xbox 360, has Gold, uses it with Netflix, and does not have a single game.

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WTF?

Re: Copycat Microsoft

You do of course know that XBOX has been able to use Netflix, selling full tv/movies videos via their XBOX marketplace, streaming via DLNA and even usable as a media center extender for YEARS before Apple TV came out. If anything Apple has copied Microsoft as a media device.

The bottom line that TV is changing for Microsoft is that it sells XBOX units. I'm actually considering getting another XBOX to use with my bedroom TV, not because I want it to play games but because I can get to Comcast XFinity ondemand content since they have an app that Apple TV doesn't have, PS3 doesn't have, Roku doesn't have, Tivo doesn't have, but Microsoft XBOX does have. The Apple TV sucks compared to the XBOX for a multimedia device, it does everything it does and more.

And if anybody has vendor lock in it's Apple, dear god they threatened to pull their products out of an entire country if they had to license their DRM to third parties to allow itunes purchased content to play on something else.

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Re: Microsoft can't do anything very well

They seem to have shoe horned themselves into the console market pretty effectively. Remember how when Xbox 1 came out we all knew there was no way they'd make a go of it? Of course that's a dead market now. Except for the new Android console that's going to be awesome, obv...

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Re: Microsoft can't do anything very well

I would tend to disagree with @Sabroni...

Metro could be very interesting on a SmartTV... think of some of those TVs with a built in DVD player. Then take that 20" Sony Tablet, scale it up, add in the Kinect as standard with the rest of the Xbox hardware, and you could have a pretty reasonable 40"+ "gaming TV" all in one. Heck add in cable card too, 3 HDMI ports (1 for PS3, 1 for WiiU and 1 for the connection to a home amplifier system), and you wouldn't need too much more I would imagine... You would need to use either some form of hand movement to control the UI (not touch screen) but that's already out there. Or reinvent the remote much like the Wii one to be directional not static, but if you took the best bits of Metro, Wii, Kinnect and added in the Netflix, Google TV and other bits, you could end up with quite an all in one system. Mind you it would be a move away from the 1" thick TVs people have now to something about 4" thick I would think, but you could end up with something pretty decent that didn't need much 3rd party add in.

(Sorry for the disjointedness, typing under the influence of a cold)

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Re: Copycat Microsoft

@Eadon

This is the second Anti MS post I've stumbled across of your today... no problem with that in itself, but you should have enough ammunition already without making stuff up : D For your information, most of us users of MS OSs have plenty of gripes with it ourselves, and we don't need further encouragement to dislike aspects of it, especially if our productivity software doesn't allow us any choice in OS. MS fanbois? I've heard of them, but then I've heard of unicorns and rocking horse droppings.

Windows XP Media Centre Edition came out in 2002, with a IR-remote controlled GUI, TV tuners and recording abilities. They even tried to get third parties to manufacture compatible kit (I think Toshiba made a 'Media Centre' PMP). Microsoft tried (poorly IMHO) to communicate the concept of a all-connected streaming media household... fortunately, it didn't pull it off- people had incompatible machines, players, consoles etc... Its been there in most versions of Windows since.

Even before then, all big technology players were aware of the 'convergence' trend - quite a buzzword at the time- the idea that most devices will be capable of most things (your PDA is also your phone and often camera, your console is also a DVD player etc) and were planning for the disruption accordingly (with varying success).

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Linux

Re: Copycat Microsoft

You know that application that actually makes an AppleTV useful?

You do realize what the first 2 letters of it stands for don't you?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Copycat Microsoft

Xbox isn't DLNA...

PS3 is of course however. That's why it plays everything you chuck at it, rather than 10% of what the Xbox accepts...

http://www.dlna.org/consumer-home/look-for-dlna/product-search

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Re: Smart tvs suck

Not bloody smart enough. I prefer a dumb tv with something clever plugged in to it. Or a number of clever things, even better!

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Re: Smart tv's run Android

And in 3 years time, when developers are writing apps for Android 7.2, where are you going to get apps for your "Smart TV" running Android 2.1? Unlike a phone that gets replaced every 2 years or so, a TV is likely to be taking up space in your living room for at least 5 years, and probably longer for most people.

Having the "smarts" built into the $800 TV is dumb. It makes more sense to have the smarts in an add-on box.

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Re: Smart tv's run Android

Er, not quite ... most "smart" TVs don't run Android, there are a whole range of systems that they use. There is Google TV, which certainly has a head start on anything from Apple or MS, though it's not the standard platform yet. E.g., I believe LG have now started using Google TV for their latest 2012 range, but only in the US market. I have an LG Smart TV, which is great, though no sign of Android.

Yes, there's one camera that runs Android, the Samsung Galaxy Camera. The division between cameras and phones is increasingly blurred anyway (I wonder how the Nokia 808 Pureview's camera compares to the Galaxy Camera...)

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Re: Smart tv's run Android

I thought that at first, but now I disagree. Firstly Smart TVs get upgrades - and this time not held up by the networks - so Google TVs could see updates as long as the hardware supports it.

Secondly, the reason people upgrade TVs less often is because there's less need to - which also means there's less reason to care about having the latest OS anyway. It's still extremely useful having features like streaming (from local network and Internet), web/Youtube/etc, PVR built in as standard, saving the need for an extra box and yet more wires. It also means less UI hassle, as you don't have to switch TV inputs from TV to "smart box".

These things will still be useful in years to come when new things come out - and if I decide I want something more in five years' time, there's nothing stopping me adding a separate box then.

By your logic, do you buy TVs without freeview, because that can be a separate box? Eventually I suspect that smart TV features will be a standard, just like freeview - it already is in most non-cheap TVs these days - at which point you might as well get it anyway, there's no advantage to actively avoiding it. (If you mean it was dumb for the industry to do it this way - well maybe, except no one was buying the separate standalone boxes.)

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Guess

I'm a nerd then. A happy one at that!

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Copycat? Not likely.

I think MS had TV services in mind a long time before Apple launched the Apple TV.

Back at the turn of the century they were busy striking deals with all sorts of cable companies for VoD services, and if I remember rightly they even launched some VoD services in 2001. AppleTV didn't ship until March 2007.

As well as that, with steady (slow) progress in the intervening years, it was one of the cornerstone features of the 360 launch. Not that there was much visible progress in the UK but the plans were out there in plain sight.

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Re: Copycat? Not likely.

No, read the posts above, Microsoft have no ideas, they only copy Apple. It's just this time they did it first...

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XBox Live Gold Subs

... are a rip-off. Why would you pay for badly-policed, dickhead-ridden multiplayer and ads?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: XBox Live Gold Subs

I don't see any ads... but I would prefer some of the subs to pay for better policing of lag cheaters. Sure, many people will have network difficulties once in a while (I've know a few people whose internet goes down when it rains), but there must be ways of determining if their connection suspiciously, consistently goes bad when it is to their advantage in the game, and then ban them. And hey, the more homophobic racist 14 year olds playing on XBOX (easily muted) the fewer are posting on Reg Forums.

That said, compared to expenditure on other things, including beer and rent, the subs are small.

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Stop

I guess thats why my 360 is gather dust then....

I get BBC iplayer for free on my bluray player and netflix free on my tablet (which has HDMI) so why would I pay MS for the privilege? Can't believe people pay for Gold.

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Re: I guess thats why my 360 is gather dust then....

I'm pretty sure that BBC iPlayer works without Gold (the others do need Gold, but it's all of £29 a year if you buy the sub from Amazon etc last I renewed, so that's um 7-8p a day.

Big deal. Pretty sure I waste far more than that per year on things like beer, which I literally **** away...

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Paris Hilton

Holier-than-Thou Non-Believers

I don't suppose that it occurs to any of you that ask "why people pay for Xbox Gold" that there ARE people out there that enjoy playing multiplayer games?

My stepson (14) LOVES his Gold membership and when I get the chance for a bit of mindless shoot/stab/kill I like it too.....The only difference being I'm not too proud to say so.

The commentards on here like to think they are high and mighty, and somewhat above the rest. Keep that arrogance...I enjoy reading your idiocies!

Paris....because I reckon she likes to have her buttons pushed....

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Re: Holier-than-Thou Non-Believers

If you dont shop around it can be as much as £2.75 a month to get onto X-box live, with rudimentary maths that is less than 10p per day.

I think that is a reasonable amount of money to pay to have access to a maintained online system, so what if Playstation is free, they hardly have a great track record for data security, perhaps this was because it was free and investment therefore was low....

But then I suppose value is in the eye of the beholder....

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Re: Holier-than-Thou Non-Believers

I play my games on Steam, costs me £0.00/day. I've tried shopping around, but I can't find it any cheaper.

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Trollface

Re: Holier-than-Thou Non-Believers

No no, remember. Those people are idiots and get absolutely no value for their subscription and are mindless Micro$oft drones. Or something like that...

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Re: Holier-than-Thou Non-Believers

See I used to think that Microsoft charge for Xbox Gold membership because they host the servers, and bandwidth isn't cheap.

It's not like that though is it? They run a matching service, and YOU run the server on the Xbox. Fortunately I don't own an Xbox. If I did, I'd be pretty cheesed off after watching a friend routinely have the action stopped in the middle of a game with a "the person running the server is throwing a strop, spitting their dummy out and has turned the machine off, please wait while someone else becomes the server" messages. How Xbox Gold is different from Gamespy is beyond me.

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Re: Holier-than-Thou Non-Believers

I do plenty of online shooting, I just do it on the PC where the multiplayer is free and there are clan servers with zero asshole tolerance.

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No problem with Gold

I've had a Gold account since the original Xbox (~8 years) and personally find it excellent. It's by far the best all-in-one friends/games service on a console, and its uptime is fantastic. I have a PS3 too (never payed for their equivalent premium service), and yes, it's a free service, but at the same time Live has never been down for weeks, or leaked my details. Cross-game voice chat, messaging, invites etc have been the norm for a long time.

Oh and for the 'who pays for two subscriptions?!' brigade, consider an alternative situation. I have a netflix account which I primarily use my PS3 for, but because I happen to have a Gold account (which I pay for anyway), I now have *another* device I can use it on. Win-win as far as I'm concerned :)

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Xbox never was about gaming only but gaming was the easiest way into the living room. But Xbox is the worst option. You need a gold sub just to use IE. I can't think of any other device that charges you to use you own net connection to view websites.

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Well I Like It :D

I play games and use my xbox. I don't see a problem in paying for the xbox live service. I find it a great service.

It is one of the things that I think MS has done right right in recent years. I think for more casual gamers like myself who want to pick up and play games quickly and easily it is great.

It will never be as good as PCs in terms of cutting edge and the ability to tweek settings etc but i dont have the time or spare funds to spend £1000 on a machine these days sadly :(

Just my two pence worth :D

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Re: Well I Like It :D

"It will never be as good as PCs in terms of cutting edge and the ability to tweek settings etc but i dont have the time or spare funds to spend £1000 on a machine these days sadly :("

You can get a gaming rig built for you for half that price these days. I'm still running on mine from two years ago, and it still runs modern games quite nicely, if not in absolute top bollocks rendering-from-here-to-mars-in-64x-FSAA detail levels.

One quick graphics card upgrade later though, and that'll be taken care of. Not that I play many PC games these days due to most of them being infested with malware.. sorry, "DRM".

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Re: Well I Like It :D

Don't forget PCI 3 express standards so upgrade the video card AND the motherboard - and then it continues from there! New CPU, new RAM, etc.

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