This is not your father's console. In the event that the games for the Xbox 360 weren't keeping the attention of gamers long enough, Xbox Live has announced it has acquired yet another entertainment partner. News Corporation, responsible for brands such as FOX, Fox News Channel, IGN Entertainment, and the Wall Street Journal, will be bringing a variety of TV, news, and video apps to the Xbox 360 later this year.
The FOX application will give users on-demand access to various popular shows, including (but not limited to) Glee, House, New Girl, Bones, Fringe, The Simpsons, and Family Guy. The Fox News Channel application will let users access clips from the network and "interact" with anchors and personalities, including Shepard Smith and Bill O'Reilly.
WSJ Live from The Wall Street Journal will offer up to four hours of live video programming each business day from the Jounral, Dow Jones Newswires, Barron's, MarketWatch, SmartMoney, and AllThingsD.com. The IGN app will eschew the political realm of its siblings and offer users video previews, reviews, gameplay videos, live streams, and walkthroughs of current video games.
The one caveat to all these additional applications is that certain features, such as Fox New Channel and FOX apps will require an authenticated subscription from participating cable and satellite providers -- as well as an Xbox LIVE Gold membership. And as true with all applications going forward, these apps will all feature Kinect support.
When Microsoft released its winter dashboard update in December that first began to offer Xbox 360 users television applications, one question raised was that could the Xbox 360 begin to offer users a true alternative to cable/satellite services, or was it merely window dressing (but still a good step in the right direction)? Considering that some of the applications still require authentication from cable and satellite providers, it would appear that it's still in its infancy. The Xbox television apps still have a long ways to go before being a truly viable alternative to traditional methods of home television entertainment, considering some still require cable. However, with Google TV marching strongly ahead, consumers need not fear the next stage in digital entertainment; the options are clearly there and will only get better as the months progress.
Ranters, are you using these devices to deliver digital entertainment to your home? Where would you like to see this go in the future?
Follow me on Twitter @mattrowland1