I’ve just been catching up on a few days worth of Tweets and Blog posts. One of the articles I’ve been reading was a piece on c|net about the MS Mediaroom IPTV solution. It sounds like there are 1 million or so people on the system now which is great. My guess is a fair chunk of those are from BT here in the UK through their BT Vision product. The article talks about how IPTV will merge into Media Center, and find it’s way into homes through that route, but to be honest I think they’ve missed a huge piece of the story. Xbox.
The announcement last month of MS IPTV integration into the Xbox 360 gives the platform 10 million potential users in one go. At an Architecture Forum seminar on Tuesday it was mentioned that roughly 75% (IIRC) of Xbox’s are online using Xbox Live. So that could be 7.5 million IPTV consumers. Not a bad number really. To my mind the key will be how well the services are integrated into the Xbox console, and how the services are provided and billed.
From what I’ve read it sounds like the new Xbox IPTV services are being launched though the existing telecoms partners, BT in the UK, AT&T in the states etc. From what I understand, in the UK at least it’ll only be available to BT broadband customers. If it was me, once I knew it was all working I’d try to open this up wider. Give it free to BT broadband customers (god knows we need something to chear us up…) but charge a small subscription for everyone else. Use the MS Points model for billing so you can order it straight through the XBox console. Easy.
(Of course there there would be problems around bandwidth etc. Here you need at least 2MB/s to even get the BT Vision installed… but those are problems that will ease with time)
Bundling content and features into games consoles is a great way of making technology mainstream. It worked for Sony and Blueray, why not for IPTV?