Some of you may remember that back in 2007, Microsoft laid out plans for IPTV services on the Xbox 360. Launch windows have come and gone, and many eager 360 users (myself included) had pretty much forgotten about it. But now, a leaked internal memo shows that the Xbox 360 may finally have the feature added as soon as November 7, 2010.
The document in question shows that AT&T’s U-Verse service should be the first offering from any content providers to play nice with Microsoft’s machine. What this means is that U-Verse subscribers will get the Mediaroom Dashboard option that will allow them to access features from AT&T.
There hasn’t been a ton of new information about this service since Microsoft’s keynote at this year’s CES. However, assuming they haven’t lost too many features along the way, there are a few things we can expect. The 360 should be able to act as a stand-alone set-top box, and can even be set to boot directly to live television programming rather than the Dashboard. Picture-in-picture programming guides, On-Demand programming and DVR services are just a few of the slick features you can see demoed in the video below.
The only major drawback of the service is that the Xbox 360 can’t be the only AT&T box in your home. You will need another box to act as the master DVR for your service. The Xbox would then grab recorded content from that box. For single-television apartments, this is a bit of a downer, but for most homes with multiple televisions, this shouldn’t be too big of a deal.
The way we consume television is rapidly changing. With the recent release of the new AppleTV, the revamped release of the Roku line-up, Google TV and the impending Boxee Box, the battle for an all-in-one Internet-centric media box is really heating up. And while it’s impressive to see AT&T being the first major provider to take a progressive step forward, it is a little disheartening on the consumer side due to the extremely limited roll out for U-Verse. I live in a major US city, and I still don’t have U-Verse availability. Otherwise, I’d be pretty excited about this. But if you add Netflix, the ESPN service, all the media center capabilities and the Hulu Plus service coming next year, then the 360 also starts to look like a major player in this battle.
Any U-Verse Ranters out there? Will you be integrating your Xbox further into your home entertainment set-up with IPTV? Does the thought of the Red Ring of Death and overheating deter from wanting to leave your 360 on as much as the television? Or does this need to come to Comcast or Time Warner before it makes a difference?