Time Warner Cable has launched its first app on Microsoft’s Xbox 360, making it the latest major cable provider to embrace the videogame console as another platform to offer up its lineup of channels to pay-TV subscribers.
The cabler announced plans to create an app for the Xbox 360 in June.
But the Tuesday launch of the app continues to position the Xbox 360 and its next-generation Xbox One as a viable set-top box that provides live TV from a variety of content providers. Doing so has been seen as a way to help get cablers and even satcasters out of the business of building set-top boxes, a money-losing venture but one that’s obviously been necessary in getting their content into customers’ homes.
The TWC app is the first time Xbox has offered all of the live channels a cable provider has available, Microsoft said. It hopes there will be “dozens” more to come.
Xbox Live Gold members with a TWC subscription in the U.S. will have access to up to 300 channels, depending on the type of subscription customers have. They must provide a password to access the channels.
While Xbox Live is available on other devices, the TWC app will only be available on the Xbox 360.
The programming can also be controlled using the Xbox’s voice and gesture controls using the Kinect.
In addition to a guide, the TWC app will enable users to filter searches by shows, channel names and genres.
TWC and Microsoft are now working on making the Xbox 360 the first streaming device to let TWC customers access both broadcast TV and Time Warner Cable On Demand programming over the next six months.
TWC believes making itself available on the Xbox will do two things: enable current subscribers to access the cabler’s channels on another device in a room that may not already have one of TWC’s cable boxes, and make its programming interactive through the Kinect and Xbox Live’s social media functionality, according to Mike Angus, Time Warner Cable senior VP and general manager of video.
“We’re going for the customer who has the Xbox and if there are folks who want to subscribe to Time Warner Cable, that’s good too,” Angus said. “It’s part of our commitment to provide customers the access to the content that they’re buying in as many ways as we can.”
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Sports broadcasters like ESPN, NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter, MLB.TV, UFC and WWE also offer some limited live broadcasts.
Xbox sees the addition of live TV as a way to complement streaming services from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Redbox Instant, Epix, Crackle, Vudu and CinemaNow and TV shows or movies offered up through apps from TV networks like HBO GO, The CW, FOX NEWS, NBC News, Syfy, Univision, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. Bravo and PBS will soon join the platform.