London, UK - British broadcaster Sky has signed a deal with Microsoft to bring live television to the Xbox 360 for the first time.
From this autumn, Xbox owners in the UK and Ireland will be able to access Sky Player, Sky’s online TV service, through the Xbox Live online service. But Microsoft won't say whether there are plans to offer similar services elsewhere in the world. "Xbox is going to continue to evaluate bringing our content to the right regions," said a cagey spokeswoman.
It's the first time that live TV has been available on a games console, although Playstation and Nintendo Wii users can already access catch-up TV content through the BBC's iPlayer service.
Sky Player currently provides access to a range of live pay TV channels including entertainment, movies, documentaries, kids, culture, news and sport.
Customers joining Sky through their Xbox will get access to a range of linear TV channels as well as a library of on-demand content. A number of subscription packages will be available, as will the opportunity to access programming on a pay-per-view basis.
Xbox owners who already subscribe to Sky TV will now be able to access Sky Player’s on-demand services through their console, in addition to their PC or Mac. Customers who also subscribe to Sky Multiroom, Sky Broadband Max or Sky Player Multiroom will also be able to receive live TV via their console.
Neil Thompson, Head of Xbox UK and Ireland, said: “Our customers have told us that they want the opportunity to use their consoles as a way to access TV, and once again Xbox has pulled off an entertainment first with amazing content and rich interactive experience."
Users of the Xbox Live online service will also be able to watch programs together, exchanging messages and accessing related information.
The service is set to launch this fall. No pricing details have been given.