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TW Cable Streams Live TV to Xbox, But Still Requires Separate Set-Top

Cable op’s video subscribers can now watch up to 300 live channels on Xbox 360, with Xbox Live Gold subscription

Sorry, Time Warner Cable customers, you can’t throw out your cable box yet: You’ll still need to rent at least one set-top or DVR from the operator to receive live TV through the Xbox 360 game console.

After more than two years of negotiations and development work, Time Warner Cable announced a pact with Microsoft to offer the TWC TV app on the Xbox 360 videogame system, providing upward of 300 live channels. The feature will be available later this summer.

However, Time Warner Cable requires all digital video subscribers to lease at least one set-top or DVR to receive the service. Another catch: TWC video subscribers must subscribe to Xbox Live Gold, which costs $60 per year, to get access to the cable programming. The cable operator will not charge an additional fee for access on Xbox.

In addition, Time Warner Cable and Microsoft currently don’t have an agreement to bring cable TV programming to Xbox One, the next-generation console, skedded to ship this November. “We’re eager to work with Microsoft on Xbox One and build on our momentum,” a TWC rep said.

Other U.S. pay TV partners that provide content through Xbox 360 include Comcast Xfinity, which offers VOD titles on the console, and Verizon FiOS, which offers a subset of subscribers’ live TV lineups.

Both TWC and Microsoft touted the deal as a breakthrough that provides a new option for watching cable TV.

“We are thrilled to partner with Microsoft in expanding the many ways our customers already connect to the content they love through TWC TV,” Mike Angus, senior VP and general manager of video for Time Warner Cable, said in a prepared statement.

Microsoft positioned the deal as boosting Xbox 360’s appeal as a general-purpose source of entertainment in the living room.

“TWC TV is a significant addition to Xbox 360, bringing our customers their favorite entertainment in one place — enhanced TV experience, games, movies, music, sports and entertainment apps,” said Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Media & Entertainment Group.

TWC TV channel lineups vary by market and depend on the video subscription package to which a customer subscribes. The cable company also offers TWC TV on Apple iPhone and iPad, select Android devices, PCs, Macs and Roku set-tops. In addition, Time Warner Cable plans to provide access to VOD titles on Samsung Smart TVs later this summer, with live TV available later in the year.

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