Xbox to Add YouTube, UFC... and Cable TV?


Microsoft may soon be hooking Xbox 360s up to cable TV.

Unfortunately, the Redmondians were unable to get any such announcement cleared in time for the start of Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles today.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console already can access live TV, acting as a set-top box through AT&T U-verse TV (see AT&T Gets Game On With U-verse TV On Xbox 360s) as well as the U.K.’s Sky TV, France’s Canal+, Australia’s Foxtel and Canada’s Telus.

There are more pay-TV partnerships to come, Microsoft promises: “Microsoft has announced its commitment to expand access to live television programming on Xbox 360 to more providers in the United States and around the world during the upcoming year.” A spokeswoman for the software giant confirmed that in the U.S., that means providers in addition to AT&T.

Recall that Fox noted in a May 11 FCC filing that one of its pay-TV affiliates (not named) plans to make video available on a variety of devices in the near future — including game consoles (see FCC’s AllVid Grows Less Relevant By the Day).

Also announced at E3: Microsoft will offer Xbox LIVE subscribers access to YouTube clips and Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed-martial arts programming — including live matches, classic fights, interviews and behind-the-scenes clips.

Microsoft led off its Xbox news at E3 with a voice-search feature for Xbox that will let you find games, music, movies and TV shows by speaking  (e.g., “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”), searching across Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, YouTube, music, and the Xbox LIVE Marketplace (see ESPN Strikes Deal With Microsoft For Xbox). The feature requires the Kinect “controller-free” motion-detection and voice-activated add-on for Xbox.

Microsoft says it has nearly 35 million Xbox LIVE members around the world. A standard Xbox LIVE Gold membership is $59.99 per year.


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