LONDON&DUBLIN - 28 May 2009: 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 alreadyown 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.
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About Sky Player TV
Sky Player TV was launched in December 2008 as a dedicated online subscription TV service, providing an alternative way to subscribe to Sky TV, without the need to subscribe to an existing TV-based service. It built upon the success of Sky Player, which launched in 2006 as a bonus service for Sky’s Direct-to-Home (DTH) customer base, allowing Sky customers to access live channels and on-demand content via their computers. It currently provides access to the likes of Sky Sports, Sky Movies, Sky News, The History Channel, National Geographic, the BBC, G.O.L.D, Eden, MTV ONE, Sky1, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, among others.
Sky is the UK’s leading entertainment and communications company, operating the most comprehensive multi-channel television service. Over 9.3 million homes - a third of households across the UK and Ireland - enjoy the very best entertainment, movies, news and sports channels on Sky Digital. In delivering entertainment through the TV, PC and mobile, customers have more control and flexibility over what, how and when they watch.
Over 5 million customers now choose Sky+, Sky’s digital video recorder, to record and store their favourite programmes and over a million homes enjoy the unprecedented picture and sound quality of Sky+HD, which offers 33 dedicated HD channels. Sky is also the UK’s fastest growing broadband and fixed-telephony provider with over 2 million customers taking Sky Broadband and just under 1.7 million customers taking Sky Talk.
Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a portfolio of more than 300 games in nearly 40 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
About Xbox LIVE
Xbox LIVE is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox LIVE connects millions of members across 26 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows and movies as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favourite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.
About Xbox LIVE Arcade
Xbox LIVE Arcade on Xbox 360 is the premier destination for digitally distributed high-definition games. Xbox LIVE Arcade is a fast-growing phenomenon with a diverse library of original development and classic titles from the world’s best independent and established developers and publishers. With a dynamically updated library and free trials for every title, Xbox LIVE Arcade makes it easy for every type of gamer— from casual to hard-core— to get instantly immersed in the fun. Xbox LIVE Arcade also lets friends connect and play these incredible games either from the same room or from around the world via the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/livearcade.
About Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse sales for Windows ( http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as“Age of Empires,”“Flight Simulator” and“Zoo Tycoon”; Xbox and Xbox 360 ( http://www.xbox.com), including such games as“Gears of War” and franchises such as“Halo,”“Fable,”“Project Gotham Racing” and“Forza Motorsport”; and MSN Games ( http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as“Bejeweled” and“Hexic.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq“MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx