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Xbox 360 as set-top box: 'not able to receive or record live TV'


Puzzling details about Microsoft's partnership with UK telecom company BT Group have begun to trickle down. According to BBC, when used as a set-top box to deliver BT's television service, Xbox 360 "will not be able to receive or record live TV." Say what?

The report describes the subscription-based service (with 12-month contract) as a library of on-demand content – yeah, like this one – that includes "near-live" Premier League soccer matches. "The reason for streaming-only on the Xbox is because currently the console does not have the capability for live TV or enough hard drive [space] for practical downloading of content," a BT spokesman told BBC, seemingly hinting that a firmware update could be in the works to enable live streaming. [Update: BT's current service only offers over-the-air live broadcasts (and not via IPTV); without a tuner, Xbox 360 is not capable of receiving the company's live programming.]

Whatever the case, something ain't right here, so we've put a call into Microsoft for answers. Stay tuned.

We've finally heard back from MS; their statement is attached after the break:

"Xbox 360 is able to offer the complete Microsoft Mediaroom experience, including both live TV and VOD, when delivered over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. BT Vision is unique in that it does not deliver live TV over IP. It delivers live TV over antenna-based digital terrestrial television (DTT) to a set-top-box. There are currently 13 other service providers delivering commercial TV services with the Mediaroom platform, and each of them delivers a live TV service that could potentially be accessed via the Xbox 360. That said, BT Vision customers can transfer live television content to their Xbox 360 that they have captured on their set top box."

So, there you have it. It's not that the Xbox 360's IPTV experience as shown at last year's CES isn't coming, it's just not coming via BT's implementation.

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