Print 15 comment(s) - last by Circle T.. on Jan 8 at 1:34 PM

Microsoft fights Blu-ray Disc exclusives with Xbox Live content

Microsoft announced at CES the addition of new content providers for its Xbox Live online service. Later this month, select television shows from ABC and Disney and movies from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) will be available for Xbox 360 users in the U.S.

Included in the ABC and Disney family are content from the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, ABC News, Disney Channel and Toon Disney. Upcoming shows from the network include Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.

"As a company dedicated to providing consumers with a variety of high-quality entertainment and news content that they can view at their convenience, regardless of time, place or platform, we are very excited to bring our programming to Xbox LIVE members," said Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group. "This new agreement will not only provide incremental viewing opportunities, but also provides a wealth of promotional opportunities to further awareness of our shows and brands."

Beefing up the movie offerings on Xbox Live will be MGM, bringing with it an extensive catalog of films such as Terminator, Silence of the Lambs and The Usual Suspects.

"The Video Store on Xbox Live Marketplace has proven to be very successful, and we are excited that MGM will be a partner in 2008," said Jim Packer, co-president of Worldwide Television at MGM. "At MGM we are always looking for new ways to reach our broad audience, and partnering with Microsoft allows us to make our legendary library available to the millions of Xbox LIVE members here in the U.S."

The latest move in expanding the selection on Xbox Live may be viewed by some as Microsoft’s attempt to sidestep the ongoing high-definition format war. As a backer of HD DVD, Microsoft may be protecting its Xbox 360 users with the HD DVD add-on by providing Blu-ray Disc-exclusive content on the Xbox Live service.

Disney movies such as High School Musical and MGM films such as Rocky are only on Blu-ray Disc in 1080p. Through Xbox Live Marketplace, however, users can view those movies in high-definition, albeit in only 720p.

"Disney-ABC Television Group and MGM are two of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and this announcement helps continue to evolve and diversify the content offering on Xbox LIVE," said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. "The ability to offer such great content in high definition further expands Microsoft's commitment to connected entertainment with Xbox 360."

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Apples & Oranges?
By Wagnbat on 1/7/2008 9:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
How can you say Microsoft 'Fires Microsoft fights Blu-ray Disc exclusives with Xbox Live content'? I don't see what XBL expanding their offerings has to do with the hi-def BR format?

And personally with TV being free and all, plus this wonderful golden age of media where most who want to can own or build a DVR... I personally think the price of content on XBL is too expensive to appeal the masses that subscribe to XBL. 'Early Adopters' and people who care more about convienience than pinching pennys will love more TV content on XBL. But for me personally, I can't see spending $2 or so to watch a TV show or cartoon I can see on my regular TV for free. Of course there are exceptions, like an especially funny episode of south park. But on the whole, I think prices need to appeal to the masses versus the few for Microsoft to take a significant chunk of anyone's media distribution market.

RE: Apples & Oranges?
By raphd on 1/7/2008 9:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, it would probably be cheaper to rent a hdbox. If its $2 an episode, a season has ~22 episodes, you are looking at the cost of almost the entire dvd package depending on the show.

RE: Apples & Oranges?
By Circle T on 1/7/2008 10:52:23 PM , Rating: 4
Personally, I think you both are missing the point of this. Forget what they charge per show, or the length of movie rental. You need to look beyond the business model of XBL for a minute, and see the big picture. The fact that you can get this content without leaving your couch is the real issue here.

RE: Apples & Oranges?
By Brockway on 1/8/2008 5:18:39 AM , Rating: 2
Good luck fitting all that stuff on a 20gb drive, not to mention the poor Arcade buyers. I suppose those people can just buy the $180 120gb drive.

RE: Apples & Oranges?
By Circle T on 1/8/2008 10:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I personally have an Elite with the 120GB in it. So, no issues here. And the Arcade console makes no claims to be able to store that stuff, so I see no issue there either. Movies are rentals anyway, so you don't keep them.

But again, you are missing the point. Look past the storage issues and cost. When you get past those things, you can see where this is going. It will take time for digital distribution to get totally settled in and a good business model figured out.

But, in a couple years, when those issues should be solved, there will be a new Xbox. One that, given MS's latest talk and intentions, will almost certainly have a large HD with which to store movies and TV shows.

Again, I'm not claiming that RIGHT NOW, getting your movies and TV shows on XBL, or any DD provider for that matter, is a real substitute to buying the physical media. But, in very little time, I think that will change. I've watched a dozen or so movies from XBL, and it was great. Its not Blu-Ray or HD-DVD quality, obviously. But, for my needs, it was just perfect.

RE: Apples & Oranges?
By clovell on 1/8/2008 1:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
> The fact that you can get this content without leaving your couch is the real issue here.

Which you can also do with a DVR.

RE: Apples & Oranges?
By Circle T on 1/8/2008 1:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
Which you can also do with a DVR.

Exactly. Bits are being stored on your hard drive, for viewing later. Thats all we are talking about here. I don't get cable or satellite, so I have no DVR, but the premise is the same. Get the bits to a hard drive, so I can watch later.

The money I DON'T spend every month on cable/satellite I can put toward watching a few HD movies from XBL when I have time. Works just fine for me.

Care Less
By Master Kenobi on 1/7/2008 8:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft couldn't care less about the medium that content is delivered on, they have their hands in every cookie jar.

RE: Care Less
By threepac3 on 1/7/2008 8:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't MGM part of Sony Pictures?

RE: Care Less
By FuzionMonkey on 1/7/2008 8:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
MGM is a subsidiary of Sony.

RE: Care Less
By cubby1223 on 1/7/2008 8:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
No, MGM just had agreements with Sony for a while to distribute their movies. That's no longer the case as MGM now releases their titles through Fox. MGM also has dealings with other studios, like Weinstein with 1408 & The Mist.

RE: Care Less
By spazmedia on 1/7/2008 11:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
Actually Sony has a 20% stake in MGM:

RE: Care Less
By AntDX316 on 1/8/2008 5:50:55 AM , Rating: 2
so basically MGM is part of Sony and Microsoft

RE: Care Less
By qwertyz on 1/8/08, Rating: 0
All part of MS's plan
By FXi on 1/8/08, Rating: 0
"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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