Microsoft and Sony both have plans to provide live television on their respective gaming machines this fall in Europe. Sony announced at GamesCom on Tuesday that it will bring BBC to U.K gamers, and other channels to various European countries. Similarly, Microsoft has announced it will be featuring Sky on Xbox Live in the U.K and Canal Plus in France. What are the plans for these services? And when are they coming to the U.S.?
Nestled amongst the PS3 slim and motion control excitement at Sony's press event for the GamesCom convention in Germany, revealed that BBC and other, undisclosed channels were coming to PSN in the U.K., as well as RTVE, ANTENA 3, and LA SEXTA to Spain, ZDF Mediathek to Germany, NOS to (Netherlands), and the Australian Broadcasting Cooporation in Australia. While Sony released a DVR attachment, PlayTV, in the U.K. last year, that worked with your existing TV signal; this service will provide television over the Internet.
Microsoft has its own TV developments, with partnerships with British Sky Broadcasting in the U.K. and Canal Plus in France. Xbox Live will feature live television from the many channels in those respective networks, including interactive functionality. In a recent Fast Company interview Shane Kim, Microsoft's VP of Strategy and Business Development for Interactive Entertainment, said, "We will be delivering live video, and we get to surround it with the social and entertainment experience that's only possible on Xbox Live." Friends will be able to sit in a virtual theater, texting or talking while watching together.
But the question remains, when will such live TV support come to the U.S.? "We don't have a live video partnership to announce in the U.S. at this point," said Kim. And Sony PR reps have also told me that there are no U.S. announcements. Yet television on consoles in America seems inevitable: Xbox 360 and PS3 are ready-made to serve as DVRs.
So what's holding Microsoft and Sony back from carrying live TV in the U.S.?