Hot on the heels of our speculation article wondering what services would be available for it, Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb revealed the first official details on the streaming TV channels that would be coming to Xbox Live as part of next month's dashboard update. And though the services may not be to everyone's liking (like ESPN), there's still plenty here to watch.
First, let's take a look at the services that will be available altogether for Xbox Live this November. (Note: some of these services are already available, like Netflix and Hulu.)
ABC iView – Australia
AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K
Antena 3 – Spain
Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
AT&T – U.S.
BBC – U.K.
blinkbox – U.K.
Bravo – U.S.
BSkyB – U.K.
Canal – France, Spain
Channel 4 – U.K.
Channel 5 – U.K.
CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
Comcast – U.S.
Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
EPIX – U.S.
ESPN – U.S.
Facebook – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
FOXTEL – Australia
GolTV – Spain
HBO GO – U.S.
Hulu – Japan
Hulu +– U.S.
iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.
Last.fm – U.K., U.S.
LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
Manga Entertainment – U.S.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
Mediaset – Italy
MSN with MSNBC.com – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
Netflix– Canada, U.S.
Rogers On Demand Online (RODO) – Canada
RTVE – Spain
SBS On Demand – Australia
Syfy – U.S.
Telefonica – Spain
Televisa – Mexico
“The Today Show” – U.S.
TELUS – Canada
TMZ – U.S.
Twitter – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
UFC – Canada, U.S.
Verizon – U.S.
VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
VimpelCom – Russia
Vodafone Portugal – Portugal
YouTube – Available in 22 markets
ZDF – Germany
Zune – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain
That's a pretty damn impressive list. You might not think that there's not much there in the way of individual channels, but you have to look at it collectively. Sports fans in particular will get a kick out of the UFC Channel, which was first presented at the E3 press conference earlier this year. Being able to interact with other fans and watch pay-per-views live is completely insane -- and definitely better than trying to go into a packed sports bar to watch it.
What's more, seeing dedicated HBO and SyFy channels will keep plenty of fans happy, as they can watch their favorite shows, like Stargate and Game of Thrones, without needing a hook-up to a cable line. Granted, they'll probably need to pay a separate fee to access these programs, but it'll certainly be worth it to watch your favorite shows whenever you want.
But perhaps the biggest part of this deal is something we talked about previously -- the parntership with Verizon and Comcast. Subscribers who were previously signed up with these services will seamlessly be able to connect to Xbox 360 and watch a number of programs through it. Comcast in particular broke down how its process will work with the system in a blog post, explaining what benefits its subscribers will see by connecting to it. This will be done through the Xfinity service. Here's a glimpse.
As you can see, nice and neat, and you can find all your on-demand programs quite easily through the menu settings.
It will take a few months for all these services to eventually get settled in, but don't be surprised if your Xbox 360 console gets more attention than your cable box with these upcoming services. Microsoft is definitely looking to make a successful transition from game machine to all-around media entertainment machine. This marks the first step into that process -- and it's a big one.