Forget the Zune Hype; Xbox Bigger Threat To iPod/iTunes

Nov 7th, 2006 | By | Category: Digital Video Downloads

xbox-logoWhile Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released Zune portable media player has generated a lot more hype, it looks like the Xbox 360 may prove to be an even bigger threat to Apple’s iPod/iTunes juggernaut. The move promises to put digital video downloads where people want them most – on their TV’s.

Microsoft today announced agreements with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring an initial lineup of over 1,000 hours of TV shows and movies to Xbox 360 gamers in the U.S. by the end of the year. Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console to bring standard and high-definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution over the Internet.

Microsoft’s announcement could prove to be more significant for digital video than the much-hyped Zune. However, Microsoft makes no mention of the platform being open for independent content delivery.

This announcement also brings with it several additional firsts, according to Microsoft:

  • Consumers will get an integrated gaming and entertainment experience on a gaming console that includes downloadable high-definition TV shows and movies.
  • CBS will deliver high-definition download-to-own TV shows including ‚ÄúCSI,‚Äù ‚ÄúJericho,‚Äù ‚ÄúNumb3rs‚Äù and remastered ‚ÄúStar Trek‚Äù episodes.
  • NASCAR.COM will deliver download-to-own condensed versions of select NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races from ‚ÄúRace Rewind.‚Äù
  • The Ultimate Fighting Championship will make 50 of its most intense fights available for download as well as select episodes from the original season of ‚ÄúThe Ultimate Fighter‚Äù reality series.

“This groundbreaking announcement is a win for everyone,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “It connects our partners with one of the most coveted audiences in entertainment today, and provides even greater value to our Xbox Live community, allowing them to enjoy the games and entertainment they want, when they want it.”

The initial lineup of TV shows available for download to own and feature films available for download to rent will include a growing catalog of popular hits. Examples of content that will be available on the network by the end of year include the following:

  • ‚ÄúRobot Chicken‚Äù and ‚ÄúAqua Teen Hunger Force‚Äù from Adult Swim
  • ‚ÄúCSI,‚Äù ‚ÄúSurvivor‚Äù and ‚ÄúStar Trek‚Äù from CBS
  • Emmy and Peabody award-winning ‚ÄúSouth Park‚Äù and ‚ÄúChappelle‚Äôs Show‚Äù from COMEDY CENTRAL
  • ‚ÄúThe Real World‚Äù and ‚ÄúPimp My Ride‚Äù from MTV
  • ‚ÄúAvatar: The Last Airbender‚Äù and ‚ÄùSpongeBob SquarePants‚Äù from Nickelodeon
  • ‚ÄúSkyland‚Äù and ‚ÄúThe Nicktoons Network Animation Festival‚Äù from Nicktoons Network
  • ‚ÄúM:i:III,‚Äù ‚ÄúNacho Libre‚Äù and ‚ÄúJackass: The Movie‚Äù from Paramount Pictures
  • ‚ÄúCarpocalypse‚Äù and ‚ÄúRaising the Roofs‚Äù from Spike TV
  • ‚ÄúRace Rewind‚Äù provided by NASCAR.COM
  • Select episodes of the original season of ‚ÄúThe Ultimate Fighter‚Äù reality series and the ‚ÄúUFC: All Access‚Äù shows from the UFC
  • ‚ÄúBreaking Bonaduce‚Äù and ‚ÄúHogan Knows Best‚Äù from VH1
  • ‚ÄúThe Matrix,‚Äù ‚ÄúSuperman Returns‚Äù and ‚ÄúBatman Forever‚Äù from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Xbox 360 gamers can access Xbox Live Marketplace with a free Xbox Live Silver membership and a broadband connection. More information about the content available on Xbox Live Marketplace can be found at the Xbox site.

No Responses to “Forget the Zune Hype; Xbox Bigger Threat To iPod/iTunes”

  1. Ed Roberts says:

    That’s HUGE news. iTunes started the first hints of IPTV. This is an enormous step forward not only for IPTV, but also for sales of the Xbox 360. This is truely merging the game world with the entertainment world. The HAVE to have it in their plans have to include the ability to interface the Zune with the Xbox. Of course, still no mention of other downloadable content like… uhm… podcasts… At least the Zune now says it can play podcasts.

  2. info says:


    I agree – this is big news. Microsoft is trying to leapfrog iTunes, and supporting downloads to the XBox is big.

    I think Apple will be forced to respond with a Mac mini that’s a real digital media center. They’ll have to do something that will raise the bar and help them keep their lead, and I’m not sure if the iTV will do it.

    What’s with the Zune podcast support comment. I’ve read that the Zune will play podcasts – but that’s no different than saying it will play MP3s. Have you seen any suggestion that it will have actual podcast support?

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