Verizon FiOS on Xbox – All IP All the Time

Mari Silbey —  November 29, 2011 — 17 Comments

Microsoft Xbox Fios TV live streaming

Verizon has a press release out today detailing plans for the launch of its FiOS TV service on the Microsoft Xbox. The service is still listed as “coming soon,” but all reports suggest general availability will happen before the end of the year.

It’s worth noting again that the new Xbox content (Microsoft is also partnering with Comcast) isn’t representative of a major shift in TV distribution models. Users still have to be subscribers of FiOS TV and Internet service to get access to the new Xbox FiOS app. However, it does illustrate how the shift to IP delivery is slowly taking place. Verizon currently delivers its VOD service over IP to subscriber set-tops, but its live television streaming happens over a QAM-based system. Several cable operators have started to deliver linear TV over IP to mobile devices, but although it was one of the first MSOs to promote the idea, Verizon still only has VOD content available for mobile viewing. I believe the Xbox app marks the first live TV streaming over IP that Verizon has introduced.

xbox-360-fios-tv

As for the details of the Verizon Xbox offer, the operator says it will sell a FiOS triple play package along with a year’s subscription for Xbox Live Gold membership for $89.99 per month to consumers who sign up before the 21st of January. It’s also throwing in a copy of “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.” The Xbox app will be integrated with Kinect to support voice and gesture commands.

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17 responses to Verizon FiOS on Xbox – All IP All the Time

  1. The Xbox dashboard update is scheduled for 12/6, so I imagine we’ll see it at that point or shortly thereafter. I didn’t think I cared because my Xbox is collocated with my FiOS DVR… but now I’ll be moving it upstairs to the guest bedroom for gaming or “TV”. It’ll be interesting to see which 26 channels will be available at launch. And I wish existing customers were treated to 12 months of Xbox Live as mine expires in a January.

    Also worth noting… Verizon’s Xbox offering includes live TV whereas Comcast is offering Xfinity On Demand stuff.

  2. Dave, you may not know the answer to this question, but I’m going to ask them anyway.

    1. I pay 127.19 a month for my fios tripple plan service. So, if I want to take advantage of fios on my xbox, I have to pay an additional 89.99 per month?

    2. Also, lets say, I take my xbox with me to another state when I visit state, will I be able to watch fios at someone elses house through my xbox?

  3. @evan:

    1. No. if you already have fios internet & tv, and you are currently an xbox live gold customer, then you get it for free. $89.99 is the triple plan price for new fios customers.

    2. I assume you would have to be connected to a fios network.

  4. Hey – this was supposed to be on the PS3 and Roku.

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2011-05/verizon-fios-tv-headed-to-roku-ps3/

    Well, hope one of those boxes gets added since I don’t have/want the xbox.

  5. Verizon has as much better offer for new customer if you get the higher ATV tier where you can get a $300 or $500 gift card. As an existing customer I qualify for the $300 gift card.

    I need to renew soon and even though I use a VOIP service, if I add digital voice, with the gift card my price will be lower for two years of service than if I just renewed my current Ultimate HD, 35/35 , and cellular which would go up $10.

  6. I forgot, the Live TV streaming is nice I guess, but without the ability to pause, FF, Rew, etc. I don’t see the point. I hope they eventually offer FiOS VOD on the Xbox like Comcast is planning. That I could use. I can always use another source for VOD especially if there is not going to be an extra cost for it.

  7. Since you have to have both Verizon FiOS and TV service, I wonder if the live channels are actually multicast? Certainly possible since its Verizon’s own network the whole way…

    As others have said, not sure what the value of this is exactly beyond maybe avoiding a rental fee for a non-DVR STB? Especially with the channel lineup being restricted and all. At least according to TechCrunch the service will launch “… with 26 channels on board, including MTV, Spike, Food Network, Comedy Central, HBO, CNN and Nickelodeon.” Pretty limited. I ASSUME they’ll at least be in HD and with decent quality, comparable to their 7.5Mbps HD h.264 VOD IP streams.

    At least with Comcast I have a reason to use this, given that they’ll be offering VOD access rather than live TV (though again maybe restricted to only certain channels–have to wait and see). And since I use a Tivo I don’t have access to VOD content from Comcast, so with an XBox I would have access. At least until Tivo gets their support in order (feel free to laugh here).

  8. evan, Jerry is correct and Verizon confirmed that the Xbox is only in the home right now. Which may support Glenn’s distribution theory.

    AnotherDave, I assume Verizon would prioritize these initiatives based on partnerships, technology, and marketing bang. And they reiterated to me this morning that they’re looking to work with several leading device manufacturers…

  9. “Since you have to have both Verizon FiOS and TV service, I wonder if the live channels are actually multicast? Certainly possible since its Verizon’s own network the whole way…”

    Intriguing possibility I hadn’t considered. Would make sense given that VZ will eventually switch over to all-IP. (Joe Ambeault said it was already technically possible for linear TV back at CES in January) Multicast would cover distribution for live content anywhere. Hmm…

  10. Yeah, there are even protocols that will cover dropped packets over multicast they could use, so that’s not an issue. The big reasons not to use multicast would be that each user has a different sized pipe and needs a customized stream, thus all the 2-second chunk ABR technologies. But with Verizon the bandwidths are pretty much always well above the thresholds required, even with multiple streams going. They could even prioritize the multicast bandwidth over their network so that even if you were running a high-speed torrent download or something it wouldn’t interfere–at least until it got to your home network devices (but Verizon intercepts the signals before they get to your devices, so they should still be okay).

    Certainly seems possible.

  11. There’s been a lot of discussion lately on balancing the benefits of ABR with the benefits of multicast. But you’re right, seems like Verizon could do away with ABR given the fat pipe. Hmm…

  12. And since I use a Tivo I don’t have access to VOD content from Comcast

    Well, you should have VOD access through the Xfinity website. It would just be a matter of hooking up a computer to the screen.

    This is all nice and dandy, but I have to wonder how the folks in rural Idaho… Do they know about this ?

  13. “This is all nice and dandy, but I have to wonder how the folks in rural Idaho… Do they know about this ?”

    Heh.

  14. “So we should worry about the folks in Riddle, Idaho now?”

    It’s interesting. Lots of tech is universal, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in Riddle, Idaho or New York, New York.

    But all IPTV all the time is different, since the FTTH footprint only got laid by Verizon inside the pale. FiOS is a cosmopolitan thing only. You can’t get here from there in Riddle, Idaho…

  15. While I’m busy testing the comment email notifications (again), it’s worth mentioning the new, new Xbox Live experience has been deployed. Unfortunately, Verizon didn’t launch simultaneous. However, we’re told it’s happening this year… unlike Comcast, which has been pushed to next year.

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