Consoles are no longer just home to video games. Recently, video game system manufacturers have wanted more from their devices, pushing them as general home entertainment systems instead of solely for the video game market. This has been particularly true for the most recent console generation, with both Microsoft and Sony pushing their next-gen systems as multi-purpose entertainment hubs.
This was a major cornerstone for the initial promotion plans of Microsoft's Xbox One. The tech giant's latest entry into the console market was described as a multimedia all-in-one device, complete with features such as Xbox Snap Mode to allow users to keep two features running on the console at once. Although some gamers were concerned about the lack of focus on video games themselves, particularly when combined with strict rules on used games which were eventually rescinded, in the end some of these media functions have been huge positives for the console. In fact, better media center features were amongst our most-wanted features post-launch, and Microsoft has since updated the Xbox One with media player and USB support.
Now, Xbox One owners will be able to enjoy even more media functionality. Microsoft has revealed a partnership with newly-announced Dish product Sling TV. As stated on Xbox Wire, the Xbox One will be the exclusive video game console for the streaming service that offers a cable television alternative. What's more, Xbox One owners will also get a one month free trial at launch, as long as they are signed up to Xbox Live.
So what, exactly, will users get with Sling TV? The service from Dish will offer users an over-the-top television service that gives access to would-be cable TV channels such as ESPN, Adult Swim, TNT, CNN, The Disney Channel and Cartoon Network without additional hardware. Users will also have access to on-demand video and content from online video network Maker Studios. The service will normally cost $20 a month, with further add-ons for $5 apiece.
It's an interesting service to offer for Xbox One users, and ties in well to Microsoft's idea of its console as a multimedia entertainment system. Bassil El-Khatib, Vice President of Sling TV, stated that one of the keys to Sling TV's success is to reach the "millennial" consumer market. "One of the keys to reaching this audience is being on the devices they use," said El-Khatib, "and we know millions of consumers are turning on their Xbox every day to access content they love."
Microsoft also reiterated its intention to make the Xbox One the go-to device for home entertainment. Microsoft will be "launching the Sling TV app on Xbox in early 2015," according to Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Xbox. "We're committed to bringing great entertainment options to gamers," said Nichols. "Our relationship with Sling TV is an important milestone in that journey and in offering more choices to our Xbox fans."
Source: Xbox Wire