UK 360s tuning in Sky TV

Microsoft and satellite broadcaster reveal new joint venture to bring premium TV services to the console; Ireland also partaking.

While PlayTV has been giving British PlayStation owners enhanced televisual experiences for some time, and the BBC has been working to improve the performance of the iPlayer on the Wii, Xbox 360 owners in the UK have been left in the cold when it comes to TV services. That changed today, when Microsoft and Sky announced a partnership that will allow Xbox 360 owners access not only to Sky programming via their consoles--via a subscription or a pay-per-view basis--but also to "a range of unique interactive services."

So now you can not only watch TV, but also watch your avatar watching TV. (Image Credit: crave.cnet.co.uk)

Available in the UK and Ireland, the service will be an extension of the Sky Player TV service for PCs that uses Microsoft's Silverlight technology, launched in November 2008. While the full channel lineup has yet to be revealed, Sky and Microsoft said that it is "anticipated" that as well as a range of entertainment programmes and movies, both Premiership football and test match cricket would be available via the service, most likely through live streaming of one or several of the Sky Sports channels. Pay-per-view programming was also promised at the launch event in London today, though few details were offered.

Sky Player over the Web offers a selection of the movies offered on demand to satellite subscribers, as well as episodes of various shows the network broadcasts, such as 24 and Lost, and sports highlights. Live sport, however, is available only to subscribers, rather than to those paying a la carte. Movies from Sky Box Office are charged from £3.43/€4.40, while those programmes broadcast on the network's flagship channel Sky One are available from £1.47/€1.91. It is not clear if the pay-per-view options will require a Sky account, as they currently do via Sky Player, or if it will be possible to use Microsoft points for payment, as is the case for the current on-demand services on the console. Pricing for the console-based service was not confirmed either.

As well as being able to enjoy TV and movies, those watching Sky programming via the Xbox 360 will be "able to communicate with one another in real time via their broadband connections," and "be able to check news and access fixtures, league tables and other on-demand information," when watching sporting events, said Microsoft.

Discussing the deal, Neil Thompson, head of Xbox UK and Ireland, tacitly admitted that the Xbox 360 has been lagging behind its competitors in terms of the all-around package being offered, saying that Microsoft was now "one step closer to our goal of offering Xbox owners the best entertainment experiences out there."

To find out more about the newest features for the Xbox 360, come back to GameSpot for the video stream and live blog of Microsoft's E3 Press Conference at 6:30 p.m. BST/10:30 a.m. PDT on Monday, June 1.

Update: For more images, check out cnet.co.uk's Xbox Sky Player photo gallery.

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Discussion

73 comments
mcphail666
mcphail666

it sounds great but as gameking5000 says it sounds WAY to good to be free but if it is free i actually wont ever come off my 360

miketuck3r
miketuck3r

"I just watch internet browser on my FREE internet on my PS3 on iPlayer and Family Guy. PS3 is awesome! " Try watching live skysports on that browser...

hhap52
hhap52

if i was in UK, i would watch cricket all the time

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

Need more details on what's available before I can say that this is of any use to me.

SimonB1195
SimonB1195

I just watch internet browser on my FREE internet on my PS3 on iPlayer and Family Guy. PS3 is awesome! :)

tig1979
tig1979

Well if its a "free" service as i alreayd subscribe to sky then excellent, i can watch something else while the missus watches ulgy betty, if it aint incorporated in my existing sky sub then no thanks

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

I've got sky+HD so I don't need this.

tomo90
tomo90

This is excellent, espeacilly if it evolves into allowing me to get limited Sky TV at university through my 360. Kudos to Sky and Microsoft.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

I am really interested in this, as i dont really fancy a NASA style dish bolted to the side of my house : )

ultralesus
ultralesus

Could be cool... could be a rip off. I'd probably only use it for the footy though.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Yeah, this will come in to fruition as fast as IPTV has... yeah remember that Xbox360 feature? And how many people are using that in any country? It's nice that consoles are working towards being the all-in-one entertainment devices, but people are dealing with not-so-good attempts while they figure out what really works. _

fraz1776
fraz1776

@gamerkiduri What are you on about?? Hardly anyone has sky hd, I know 1 person who has wasted their money on it, £10 a month for the extra channels only a handfull of which have decent shows on is a rip-off.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

The Sky Player service is fairly bad as you have to pay to watch shows you've already subscribed to watch on TV. If you miss an episode it is better to wait for the repeat. The movie service used to be pretty good but I've not used it in a long time. An on demand service tied to your subscription with a decent amount of content with no additional fee would be cool. Actually I already use my Xbox for iPlayer and 4OD, just add their video directory to Media Player's library locations and use media sharing to stream the videos to the Xbox.

ricemack
ricemack

If I want to watch sky hd and I'm playing 360 I just press the av button on the remote! I have no interest in this unless its free as part of my subscription , I might give it a try. You can bet the quality will not match a hd broadcast though.

BenBenBen93
BenBenBen93

i don't have sky hd (i have sky+) so i will buy my footie games on my xbox : ). and hope i fully i don't have to pay subscription since i already pay for live and sky.

gamerkiduri
gamerkiduri

whats new about this??????????almost evry1 in uk has sky hd

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

If you still get charged a subscription fee, I'll just get the sky box instead and use my 360 for games thank you very much

majere613
majere613

The iplayer is a hell of a lot better than Sky's version, and doesn't have the cheek to charge you. I went through all the rigmarole to set SkyPlayer up so I could catch a couple of shows I'd missed, only to find that it wanted me to pay to watch them- as well as being a Sky subscriber. Both this and PlayTV are pretty pointless, IMHO, there's plenty of kit that does the job better, and cheaper.

Pugberto3122
Pugberto3122

A great way to watch Liverpool win the Premier League next season I must say. I do have Sky already but getting rid of it now because the football season is closing.

fenwickhotmail
fenwickhotmail

Sounds good if you can choose what football matches to watch.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

@flyingteddy, No Microsoft arn't worried at all, they are just trying to make the most out of the 360 and make it a much more great experence while exploring many options. I personally think this is great, Now I can watch Sky in my room. Saying this will Fail is an utter joke, It benifical to anyone who dosent have multiroom.

BLuFAlc0n
BLuFAlc0n

It's pointless...... We can get SkyHD cheaper than this. PlayTV only cost £50 (well 69.99 in other shops). Which is cheaper than a good Freeview. the iPlayer, is quite shocking, but it's free! finally, 360 copied (again, like they always do), the PSP has this thing first! I bet all thumbs down are 360 owners, do what you want, but YOU KNOW Microsoft COPIED (AGAIN)!

jango195
jango195

In my opinion, this seems like it would only be of use to people who don't have Sky already, or some other digital tv subscription, otherwise it's just more subscription fees to pay out for most likely less than what's available to them already.

Mr_Fujiv1
Mr_Fujiv1

so what stuff will they actually show :/ most people have sky anyway

Calverz
Calverz

Seriously stoked about this!

andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

"Seems like a stupid idea to me, if you really want Sky you would just get a Sky dish" This kind of stupid assuming comment irritates me greatly, you'd better hope you're some small inexperienced child which is the only thing that could excuse you. Some people may not wish to pay the extortionate fees Sky charges for it's TV services when the majority of decent shows are available on free-to-view FreeSat and Freeview channels. This new venture may give people like myself who do not believe in paying twice for their TV (once for a TV licence, again to Sky) an opportunity to watch select extra channels and programs without selling their soul to Sky for a year (minimum subscription).

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

It will be interesting to see how this works. I already have a Sky subscription, and would love to be able to stream content to another TV with my 360, but I don't want to be paying another subscription for my 360 to be able to do this - I could just pay an extra 10 pounds/month and get multiroom. As for pay as you watch - why would existing Sky customers go for that when they are already paying for the content with their Sky package?

AlphaCommando
AlphaCommando

Hahaha, typical Microsoft. Copy PlayStation's awesome idea and make people pay subscription fees.

AlphaCommando
AlphaCommando

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hoppie
hoppie

This is a great partnership from Microsoft, really clever business, and this is coming from a PS3 owner. Personally i already have Sky so whatever but for those who don't etc...

rebound2
rebound2

If this is the same as the Sky Player that you can get online, it's going to be crap... that thing sucks! But if this is a fully fledged sky thing it would rock!

Wolls
Wolls

Seems like a stupid idea to me, if you really want Sky you would just get a Sky dish

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

....or you could just subscribe to Sky and get the same thing.

gandalf_storm
gandalf_storm

if they had a one payment for sports id be interested, as its subscribing im not

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

the ps3 is normally criticised for not focusing on games and trying too hard to be a multi purpose entertainment system, now 360 is trying to be the same. it should just stick to the games, or are microsoft worried?

hassy94
hassy94

"Well what goods this for people with other Sp`s, Sky are way too expensive anyway and what happened to the BT Vision service being offered through the 360 with the new NXE launch. I mean as if people are gonna pay for stuff thru that. Not only that theres not 1 ISP that provides a fast enough speed for this in the whole of GB. Be lucky to get 2-3 meg over here and you need at least 2 before it will run. They also traffic shape during peak hrs so xbox live, Live streaming and P2P is all slowed down hurrendously after 4pm right up till midnight. I know for a fact BT traffic shape, AOL and Tiscali also." I'm stuck with Karoo broadband over here, from Kingston Communications. I'm soon upgrading to upto 24mb/s (75gb limit) for £30/month. I will only be getting 12 however due to my line, but it's a lot higher than "2-3"...

jasper061992
jasper061992

Eh, i already got a Sky box set up in my room, already paying my own £10 for the HD in the living room, not subscribed to Xbox Live as of yet due to hardly using the thing. Doesn't apply to me really, but nice idea i guess. Hope they succeed.

hassy94
hassy94

Does that mean we get all the free Sky channels (freeview really) for free through our Xboxs too?

coruscant
coruscant

It's still only Sky programming though. Us PS3 owners can have anything that's on Freeview, and that's all free!

wars45
wars45

got sky so way would i pay for it 2

benboz
benboz

Bring this to Australia. We want Live TV on our Xbox 360's too. Don't just leave us down under. We want some of that awesome stuff that us aussies don't even get.

TBoogy
TBoogy

Congrats UK 360 owners. You got played on Netflix and have a less full Marketplace, but it seems this seems to make up for it. Live TV with the ability to talk with friends while viewing seems hot.

metalkid9
metalkid9

WHAT!? I want that on my console! why can't they have it here in NA? MS better announce a sports channel or something on the 360 at E3

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

StJimmy, there are dozens of cable and satellite providers in the US (Comcast sucks BTW), while the UK really only has 1. That's the same reason Nintendo won't be releasing the TV Guide-type channel for the Wii outside of Japan.

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

StJimmy, there are dozens of cable and satellite providers in the US (Comcast sucks BTW), while the UK really only has 1. That's the same reason Nintendo won't be releasing the TV Guide-type channel for the Wii outside of Japan.