Microsoft has signed deals with Comcast, Verizon, and a bunch of other TV and video providers to bring more video to Xbox Live.
The deals, which were rumoured earlier this month, are slightly different for each provider.
Comcast will bring its Xfinity On Demand service to Xbox Live, whereas Verizon will offer a selection of live TV channels to its FiOS subscribers. In both cases, users will still need to subscribe to the TV providers — Xbox Live is not replacing TV providers, but simply serving as a new set top box for them.
Microsoft is also adding two new TV content partners in the U.S. — HBO Go and Bravo. In these cases, customers might also need TV subscriptions — you won’t be able to get HBO Go on your Xbox unless you’ve already got HBO through your TV provider, for instance.
There’s also a bunch of new music and video content available from Web sources like YouTube, Vevo, TMZ, iHeartRadio, and others.
Outside the U.S., Microsoft announced content deals with the BBC in the U.K., Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and MediaSet in Italy. Again, each deal offers a slightly different set of services.
The full list of partners is in the press release.
Microsoft had previously demonstrated how users will be able to use Kinect voice recognition and Bing search to call up TV and music content on Xbox Live, but it had only announced a few partnerships outside the U.S.
Overall, the deals should help Microsoft further establish the Xbox as a full entertainment device, not just a game console.
It also means much harder going for newer interactive TV providers Google TV and Apple TV, who are nowhere close to the Xbox installed base of more than 50 million worldwide. They may be able to get similar content deals, but it’s hard to imagine customers paying $100 for a TV-only box when they can pay a little more to get a full game console as well.