A report from research consultancy TDG predicts that console-affiliated media portals such as Microsoft's Xbox LIVE and Sony's PlayStation Network will soon become formidable competitors to incumbent Pay TV services. Leveraging broadband-enabled game consoles as Over-the-Top video platforms – thus bypassing cable and satellite TV operators – these companies will offer a compelling alternative to traditional TV programming by providing a more immersive, interactive video experience.
"The launch of Microsoft's Experience and the Xbox LIVE Netflix streaming video service is a perfect example of how potent these services will soon become," notes Michael Greeson, president of TDG and co-author of the report. "There is little doubt these services are finally ready for primetime."
Even before the launch of Experience, Microsoft's Xbox LIVE had amassed some 15,000 movies (1,000 of which are HD) and some 13,000 TV shows for download-to-own. The Netflix partnership adds 12,000 movies and TV programmes to the mix, all for free streaming to Netflix subscribers. Sony's PlayStation Network has collected close to 1,000 movies and hundreds of TV programmes for download-to-own. It has also announced plans to expand dramatically its video library in the next few months in order to compete with Xbox LIVE.