Millions of entertainment fans will soon have the way they watch TV transformed, as Xbox 360 and Sky announce a ground-breaking partnership which will enable, for the first time ever, premium live television to be watched through a games console.
In a UK and Ireland first, Sky Player, Sky's online TV service, will come to Xbox LIVE in the autumn, allowing Xbox owners to access a range of channels and programmes to either view live or on-demand.
Details of the full channel line-up will be revealed closer to launch, but it is anticipated that Xbox LIVE users will be able to access blockbuster movies, must-see entertainment shows, thought-provoking documentaries, programming dedicated to kids, music and the arts, as well as all the excitement of Premier League football, Test Match cricket and a wide variety of other sports through Sky Sports.
The news, officially unveiled today in Central London by Sky Sports News Georgie Thompson, reveals there will be a number of viewing options.
For a new customer joining Sky through their Xbox, Sky Player will offer a wide range of live channels and on-demand content via a number of different packages. These customers will also be able to access their favourite shows on a pay-per-view basis.
Existing Sky customers who already own an Xbox will benefit from another way to view their favourite shows, in addition to their Sky set-top box and PC or Mac
There will be a range of unique interactive services available to the Xbox LIVE / Sky Player offering. For Sky Sports, for example, this will mean that live coverage will be supported by range of applications to enhance the viewing experience further. As well as fans being able to communicate with one another in real time via their broadband connections, they will also be able to check news and access fixtures, league tables and other on-demand information. Interactive applications will also be developed across other programmes genres.
Stephen Nuttall, Director of Sky's Commercial Group comments:" Our partnership with Xbox is a further example of our commitment to put choice and control in the hands of customers. Xbox owners now have a range of ways to access Sky content and can pick and choose the platform and packages that are right for them. We are extremely excited about the opportunity of reaching Xbox owners who are looking to experience Sky for the first time, as well as giving our existing customers yet another way to experience the content they love."
Echoing this, Neil Thompson, Head of Xbox UK and Ireland, adds: "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. The combination of Sky's leadership in content creation and aggregation and our own in creating a constantly evolving new generation of rich 360 entertainment experiences means we are one step closer to our goal of offering Xbox owners the best entertainment experiences out there, whether it's movies, music, games, interactive experiences or high quality TV."
Sky Player joins Xbox LIVE's ever-expanding interactive online offering spanning on-demand films, music videos and games. It also enables users to communicate with each other via live video chat and MSN Messenger, beating console rivals to cement Xbox 360 as a true pioneer of home entertainment.
Sky Player currently provides access to a range of live TV channels – including Sky Sports – and a comprehensive on-demand library of thousands of programmes spanning entertainment, movies, documentaries, kids, culture, news and sport.