BT (NYSE: BT) will start streaming on-demand TV and other programming over Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) Xbox 360 from the middle of 2008. The BT Vision IPTV service, which for the last 13 months has operated over its own dedicated set-top box, will offer “hundreds of movies and thousands of hours of sporting events, television programming and music videos” to the console – but only for BT Broadband subscribers. The service will run over Microsoft’s Mediaroom IPTV platform, which already powers the dedicated BT Vision box and which MS’ entertainment and devices head Robbie Bach – during Bill Gates’ keynote at CES in Las Vegas last night – said now runs on over a million boxes globally.
BT this morning clarified for paidContent:UK the deal covers Vision’s VOD programming but not the linear Freeview channels also offered by the dedicated V-box, which has a 160 Gb disc. This sees BT become not just an infrastructure company but a content distributor.
Mediaroom was added to Xbox 360 last year and Xbox Live is also integrated in to the Mediaroom experience so viewers watching BT’s VOD shows will be able to chat with friends using voice or text. BT will also start selling the Microsoft consoles. BT’s spokesperson wouldn’t comment on whether BT Vision would get carriage on more boxes, but BT Vision CEO Dan Marks (in the release): “Our aim is to provide BT Vision on multiple platforms.” Microsoft has its own IPTV plans in Europe, too, having launched Xbox Live Video Marketplace here last month and been in talks with broadcasters including the BBC to provide programming for it (don’t bet against an Xbox version of iPlayer).