Foxtel comes to Xbox 360


Microsoft and Foxtel today revealed that the cable television platform would be offered as a streaming and video on demand service directly through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 consoles.

The offering — to be launched “later this year” — will see Foxtel channels such as Fox Sports, Discovery, Nickelodeon, Disney and MTV directly through Microsoft’s Xbox Live platform. “A wide range” of movies and television series will also be provided in a video on demand format.

Subscribers will need both Xbox Live Gold and Foxtel by Xbox Live subscriptions to access the service.

“As we approach one million Xbox 360’s sold in Australia, we are looking forward to our customers having the opportunity to receive FOXTEL by Xbox LIVE. Last year alone, Australians spent more than 106 million hours on Xbox LIVE including gaming and social networking. With this FOXTEL partnership, there are more reasons than ever to connect your Xbox 360 to our online service,” said Microsoft’s head of Entertainment and Devices, David McLean, in a statement issued this morning.

“With at least 30 live channels and a wide suite of Video on Demand services, delivered over the internet via Xbox LIVE, no other television service comes close to this revolutionary new IP offering,” said Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams in the same statement.

The service will be launched “towards the end of the calendar year”, with further details — including packages and prices, as well as the full channel line-up — to be disclosed closer to launch date.

Microsoft already offers a movies on demand platform in Australia — to which it is gradually adding extra content. However, it is not the same service the company offers overseas. The full movies on demand service available in the US and a number of other countries is dubbed Video Store, whereas in Australia it’s a separate and more limited platform branded with Microsoft’s Zune media player.

The news comes as today Microsoft rival Sony switched on its own video on demand platform in Australia, which is provided across its PlayStation 3 and PSP devices. “A wide range of titles will be available in High Definition and Standard Definition, from all the major movie studios, with additional content being added weekly,” the company said in a statement.

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. I wonder if, as an iinet customer I’ll be able to download the Foxtel content through the Xbox 360 for free against my quota? That would rock.

    • Heh also as an iiNet customer, I was wondering the same thing. Will ping iiNet and find out. I highly doubt it, however — this looks like something that will be a tie-up between Microsoft and Foxtel … I think the iiNetwork would get in the way from their point of view.

      • Although, iiNet have been hosting various fox shows already on demand. Super14, Premier League. It could have been a test to see how it goes.
        I think part of the issues are where the data is hosted. Last time I checked, iinet were hosting some akamai servers in Australia, and it just so happened that xbox game demos and non purchase videos were hosted on there, so thats why they were quota free. If FOX go down the Akamai line of hosting, it may be the case.

  2. I like how the industry is moving towards making it physically difficult to get access to media. Who needs DRM when your media is welded in? :P

    • I see it a bit differently than that.

      I think what we’re seeing is that the internet and device convergence is causing a bit of a scramble and everyone is trying to figure out how to apply their old models to new technologies.

      So you’ve got Foxtel doing a deal with Microsoft – locks everyone into a DRM’d platform. The traditional thinking by both companies is, “WooHoo! Microsoft sells more Xbox 360 units, Foxtel doesn’t have to deliver a set-top box and both companies sell their annuity based services (Xbox Live Gold and Foxtel for Xbox)”.

      Then there is iinet and their recent deal with Fetch. They get around the virtual Foxtel monopoly on Pay TV services, give themselves a potential new revenue stream and encourage their existing users to upgrade their bandwidth to take advantage.

      What customers really want are services like Hulu, iTunes or where they can buy or subscribe to the content they want when and how they want it. Companies like Foxtel are just intermediaries that will utlimately be unnecessary. If I can subscribe to HBO via the internet or buy their programming a la carte, what is Foxtel doing for me other than aggregating content and playing the role of the gatekeeper?

      Companies like Microsoft, Sony and Apple are in the middle. Their devices POTENTIALLY could be the entertainment system at the centre. Picking up content directly from the providers.

      This of course eliminates Foxtel and disintermediates companies like iinet. I think we’re seeing that now with the NBN pricing – if that network gets built and I can get 100Mbps to my living room at an affordable price with plenty of download quota then I don’t need Foxtel’s delivery capability.

      • Exactly. I have long wanted a global service that holds all episode of all TV shows and all movies. No matter what device you are using, where you are or what your broadband connection is, you would be able to login to this service, pay to rent (or a bit more to buy) access to a piece of content, and then stream it or download it to your device of choice for viewing.

        You would have flexible payment options … monthly for access to a certain number of pieces of content, or on a per-rental or per-buy basis.

        The internet IS the intermediary between this sort of fictional service and my devices. I don’t want an Xbox, a PlayStation or any other service to come between this sort of global platform and my viewing habits. Why would I? They are only hardware terminating devices.

  3. No, no, Brendan – your media is “in the cloud”. Apply the right buzzword and it sounds far more progressive than “media you can only access on the terms of those providing it.”

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