Free-to-air TV content coming to Xbox 360s around Australia.
Over the past few years both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have branched out and expanded their repertoire of multimedia features to include television content.
While Sony teamed up with the ABC and Yahoo!7 to bring free-to-air content to the PS3, Microsoft went down the pay-TV route and brought subscription-based service, Foxtel, to the Xbox 360. While Microsoft's initial TV push might have been with a commercial network, the software giant has now aligned itself with two public broadcasters.
Today Microsoft Australia announced that the ABC's iView and SBS's SBS On Demand catch-up streaming services would be brought over to the Xbox 360.
While no exact date has been given as to when the two new channels will arrive on Aussie Xbox 360s, the ABC has advised the iView service will be available in time for its summer TV line-up.
And the good news is that you won't require an Xbox Live Gold subscription (as Foxtel on Xbox 360 currently does) to access the content, making it available to all 360 owners with an internet connection.
Microsoft confirmed that both iView and SBS on Demand will also be compatible with Kinect's voice commands, a feature missing when the motion-sensing hardware launched locally, but due to be rolled out in Australia before the end of the year.
Sally O'Donoghue, Manager, iView and Internet Broadcasting, ABC TV, said:
"The family-focused Xbox Live platform is a natural fit given iView's broad offering of trusted and popular family content including Giggle and Hoot and Bananas in Pyjamas in addition to prime time TV catch-up such as The Slap, Spicks and Specks and The Gruen Transfer.
"This offering has grown to over 800 full episodes, close to 220 different series and around 350 hours of content.
Through ABC iView, ABC TV is making this content the most accessible in the country.
"Voice and gesture control via Microsoft Xbox Kinect can make browsing and discovering content on ABC iView even more engaging and interactive, and will prove particularly appealing to younger audiences," she said.
This announcement coincides with news overnight from Microsoft that saw almost 40 media partners signing up to stream video content to Xbox 360s around the world. While most content syndication deals are only for specific regions, some, like YouTube, Crackle, and The Daily Motion will be available on consoles globally.