Microsoft Taps NeuLion To Stream Live Sports To Xbox One

Platform Will Stream HD At A Sports-Friendly 60 Frames Per Second
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NeuLion has won a multi-year deal to provide HD-quality live sports streaming to the Xbox One, the next-gen Microsoft console that has shipped about 3 million units worldwide since its debut on November 22.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Microsoft has licensed the NeuLion Sports Platform, along with other services from NeuLion to develop, host and operate the delivery of certain live sports content “to be determined by Microsoft on the Xbox One.”  That partnership will include 24/7 linear channels integrated with real-time sports stats and access to related on-demand content.

In the early phase of the collaboration, 24/7 streaming of the NFL Network is being offered to authenticated cable customers who also have an Xbox Live Gold subscription, according to Microsoft.

On the technical end, NeuLion said its platform will ship HD video to the Xbox One at up to 6 Mbps at 60 frames per second, a rate considered friendly to fast action live sports. NeuLion is delivering video to the Xbox One using seven different bit rates, which can be adjusted up or down based on the amount of bandwidth that's available.

“Our sports platform has helped to reduce the complexities involved and deliver for Xbox fans a tremendous live sports experience on the game console,” said Chris Wagner, EVP and co-founder of NeuLion, which has worked with Microsoft on several Xbox 360 apps, including some tied to pro sports.

“NeuLion has enabled us to merge high-definition video with real-time data to create an interactive experience that is only available on Xbox One,” added Wil Mozell, general manager of Microsoft’s Sports Entertainment Group.

In other Xbox-related news this week, Blair Westlake, the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Media and Entertainment Group, who was in charge of licensing movies and TV shows for the Xbox platform, confirmed that he has left Microsoft amid a restructuring.