Microsoft announced the first devices running its new Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system this morning, and with that launch comes the introduction of new mobile video services. The new phones will enable users to connect to a wider range of video services from the likes of Netflix, AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as view videos from Microsoft’s Zune marketplace.
Netflix appearing on Windows Phone 7 shouldn’t be too much of a surprise; after all, a Netflix app was demoed at Microsoft’s MIX10 developer conference earlier this year. Not just that, but the video subscription company has been actively courting all manners of consumer electronics manufacturers with its video streaming service. In addition to having apps on any number of connected TVs, Blu-ray players, TiVo DVRs and broadband set-top devices from Roku and Apple, it is also available on the iPhone and iPad and soon might also have an Android app available, if its job listings are any indication.
AT&T is also using the Windows Phone 7 launch to take its ecosystem of U-verse video services beyond the subscriber’s set-top box. The carrier, which will have three Windows Phone 7 devices available to customers, announced that its U-verse Mobile service will be available on those phones not just to subscribers of its pay TV service, but to anyone who wants to view U-Verse content on the go.
U-verse Mobile, which launched video services on the iPhone earlier this year, enables its pay TV subscribers to manage their DVR recordings and download and watch select TV episodes at no extra charge. But for users that aren’t U-verse subscribers, the app will allow them to subscribe for $9.99 a month to download and view U-verse Mobile content on the go. In addition, AT&T confirmed that its pay TV subscribers will also (finally) be able to use their Xbox 360 as a U-verse set-top box, a feature that Microsoft has been promising for three years.
T-Mobile is also offering up its own live and on-demand video service to Windows Phone 7 users on its network. T-Mobile TV, which will first become available on the HTC HD7 mobile handset, is a white-labeled and rebranded version of MobiTV’s mobile video service. The service is available for $9.99 a month, and will give users access to live and on-demand video content from broadcasters such as ABC, Fox and PBS.
Finally, the availability of Microsoft’s Zune marketplace on Windows Phone 7 device will extend its digital music and video store beyond the desktop and its Xbox Live service and make it available on new mobile devices. Like Apple’s iTunes integration on the iPhone and iPad, Microsoft’s Zune marketplace enables users to purchase or rent videos which can then be viewed directly on Windows Phone 7 smartphones.
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