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Microsoft's motives questionable?


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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Shawn Perron

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Posted November 07 2006 - 06:13 AM

http://www.microsoft....eliveryPR.mspx

Quote:
Xbox 360 Teams With CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting, UFC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to Digitally Deliver TV Shows and Movies to Gamers

Xbox 360 will become first gaming console to offer downloads of over 1,000 hours of TV shows such as “CSI,” “Robot Chicken” and “South Park,” and movies such as “V for Vendetta” and “Nacho Libre.”

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 6, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced agreements with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring an initial lineup of over 1,000 hours of hit TV shows and movies to Xbox 360™ gamers in the U.S. by the end of the year. Furthermore, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console to bring standard and high-definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution over the Internet directly to the consumer.

Beginning Nov. 22, on its first anniversary, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console in history to provide high-definition TV shows and movies directly to gamers in their living rooms. Xbox 360 gamers will have access to the full-length TV shows as downloads to own and movies to rent via download from the Xbox Live® network, the worldwide leader in online distribution of high-definition gaming and entertainment content. This announcement also brings with it several additional “firsts”:


For the first time, consumers will get an integrated gaming and entertainment experience on a gaming console that includes downloadable high-definition TV shows and movies. This new full-length content adds to the ever-expanding number of choices gamers have on their Xbox 360, whether they want to play games or play a movie on a disc or as a download in high definition or standard definition.


For the first time CBS will deliver high-definition download-to-own TV shows including “CSI,” “Jericho,” “Numb3rs” and remastered “Star Trek” episodes; gamers can buy them and watch them repeatedly.


For the first time on any platform, NASCAR.COM will deliver download-to-own condensed versions of select NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races from “Race Rewind.”


For the first time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will make 50 of its most intense fights available for download as well as select episodes from the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series.

“This groundbreaking announcement is a win for everyone,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “It connects our partners with one of the most coveted audiences in entertainment today, and provides even greater value to our Xbox Live community, allowing them to enjoy the games and entertainment they want, when they want it.”

The initial lineup of TV shows available for download to own and feature films available for download to rent will include a growing catalog of popular hits. Examples of content that will be available on the network by the end of year include the following:

•“Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” from Adult Swim
•“CSI,” “Survivor” and “Star Trek” from CBS
•Emmy and Peabody award-winning “South Park” and “Chappelle’s Show” from COMEDY CENTRAL
•“The Real World” and “Pimp My Ride” from MTV
•“Avatar: The Last Airbender” and ”SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon
•“Skyland” and “The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival” from Nicktoons Network
•“M:i:III,” “Nacho Libre” and “Jackass: The Movie” from Paramount Pictures
•“Carpocalypse” and “Raising the Roofs” from Spike TV
•“Race Rewind” provided by NASCAR.COM
•Select episodes of the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and the “UFC: All Access” shows from the UFC
•"Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1
•“The Matrix,” “Superman Returns” and “Batman Forever” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Xbox 360 gamers can access Xbox Live Marketplace with a free Xbox Live Silver membership and a broadband connection. More information about the content available on Xbox Live Marketplace can be found at http://www.xbox.com/...ceentertainment.

Support From Digital Entertainment Partners

“CBS is very pleased to be the first broadcast network to provide programs for the Xbox 360 game console, which marks a new and innovative way to distribute and monetize CBS’s world-class content in the digital space. Backed by the formidable marketing power of Microsoft, this platform also offers great potential to recruit new and younger viewers to our Network programming and creates added opportunities for our existing viewers to remain engaged with their favorite program.”

- Nancy Tellem, President, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group

“Xbox Live Marketplace provides a truly unique opportunity to connect the core audience with movies that really resonate with them such as ‘Jackass: The Movie’ and ‘M:i:III.’ The gaming community is fully engaged with online entertainment, and this is just the beginning of what we will provide to this fan base.”

- Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment

“We are thrilled to be part of this launch and bring some of our most popular and targeted programming, including Adult Swim’s ‘Robot Chicken’ and ‘NASCAR.COM,’ to this platform direct to gamers via Xbox Live on Xbox 360 as part of their online gaming and entertainment experience. Partnering with Xbox Live represents the ideal environment to extend the relevant Adult Swim and NASCAR.COM brands and reach our fans in the coveted 18–34 demographic.”

- Dennis Quinn, Executive Vice President, Business Development, TBS Inc.

“When gamers are taking a break from playing ‘Gears of War,’ I can’t think of a better way to keep the adrenaline flowing than with some high-impact UFC fights. For the first time ever, the original season of our hit reality series ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ will be available for digital download, plus many UFC fights will also be available for download to Xbox 360 in HD.”

- Dana White, President, UFC

“Warner Bros. has been aggressively pursuing a strategy of getting our content to consumers when and where they want it. This is a fantastic opportunity to reach the gaming world with our rich menu of content including next-generation formats.”

- Simon Kenny, President, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution


http://www.shacknews.com

Quote:
Video content comes to Xbox Live Marketplace

Microsoft today announced that it has partnered with major entertainment content providers, including CBS, MTV, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Warner Bros., to bring downloadable video content to Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Marketplace. Along with the announcement, Microsoft listed numerous movies and television programs to be made available both in 720p and 480p resolution formats. Television programs will be offered for sale, while movies will be provided on a rental basis. Content to be live on Marketplace within calendar 2006 includes:

- Adult Swim: "Robot Chicken," "Aqua Teen Hunger Force"
- CBS: "CSI," "Survivor," "Star Trek"
- Comedy Central: "South Park," "Chappelle’s Show"
- MTV: "The Real World," "Pimp My Ride"
- Nickelodeon: "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Skyland," "The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival"
- Paramount Pictures: "Mission: Impossible III," "Nacho Libre," "Jackass: The Movie"
- Spike TV: "Carpocalypse," "Raising the Roofs"
- NASCAR: "Race Rewind"
- UFC: "UFC: All Access," "The Ultimate Fighter" original reality series
- VH1: "Breaking Bonaduce" and "Hogan Knows Best"
- Warner Bros.: "The Matrix," "Superman Returns," "Batman Forever"

As with other Marketplace content, movies and television programs will be accessible to any Xbox 360 owner with a free Xbox Live Silver subscription. Rented movies can apparently be kept for up to 14 days, but once watched will only remain viewable for 24 hours. Microsoft did not divulge purchase and rental prices. However, according to a forum post made on the NeoGAF forums before the Microsoft announcement, TV episodes will sell for 240 Microsoft Points ($3) in both SD and HD formats. Movies will allegedly rent for 320 Microsoft Points ($4) in SD and 480 Microsoft Points ($6) in HD. This information is still unconfirmed, but the poster in question, one "mildewproduction," has made several accurate predictions about various unannounced Microsoft programs in the past.

High definition movie content is expected to surpass 5GB, raising questions as to the adequacy of the included Xbox 360 hard drive, which in practical terms provides 13GB of storage space. Microsoft representatives have stated that while the company has no current plans to offer a larger drive, it will consider doing so if consumers deem it necessary.

Video content will be available in the United States as of November 22, one year after Xbox 360's North American debut. It is not clear which videos will be available from day one.

6 dollar 720p movie rentals and many popular shows in 720p. Microsoft announces this mere days before the HD-DVD add on is released. Seems like they are sabotaging thier own product launch. Has Microsoft launched it's first salvo against HD on disc?

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted November 07 2006 - 06:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Perron
6 dollar 720p movie rentals and many popular shows in 720p. Microsoft announces this mere days before the HD-DVD add on is released. Seems like they are sabotaging thier own product launch. Has Microsoft launched it's first salvo against HD on disc?

How do you figure. Two entirely different market places. The goal of movie and TV downloads utilizing the XBOX 360 (with MS Media Center Extentions) has been a long term goal from MS. I believe they have seen how fast the download segment of MS-Live has grown over the last year and want to capitalize on it prior to Sony getting a foot-hold in this market. BTW, Sony has major investments in the same functionality for the PS3 which should be available from Sony sometime after the first of the year.
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#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Sami Kallio

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Posted November 07 2006 - 07:02 AM

I see this more of an option for the mainstream "mp3" crowd, which could in the end come and bite us videophiles who want high quality. I can't imagine them offering full quality HD-DVD movies at several ten gigabytes a piece at this point.

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Shawn Perron

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Posted November 07 2006 - 07:03 AM

Quote:
How do you figure. Two entirely different market places. The goal of movie and TV downloads utilizing the XBOX 360 (with MS Media Center Extentions) has been a long term goal from MS. I believe they have seen how fast the download segment of MS-Live has grown over the last year and want to capitalize on it prior to Sony getting a foot-hold in this market. BTW, Sony has major investments in the same functionality for the PS3 which should be available from Sony sometime after the first of the year.

Some Bill Gates quotes:

http://www.engadget.....ll-gates-again

Quote:
In terms of movies, I often say that this is the last format battle there will ever be, because everything is going to go online -- you're going to download it. In fact, one of my favorite features on Xbox Live is where you can go and get the HD demos of the games or get HD videos like the making of the Xbox, the making of Titanic, they've got this Mission Impossible 3 thing. It's really cool when you're set up with an HD display, the fact that you can just click and it either streams or downloads, that's very nice.

Quote:
No, I mean, in consumer electronics there's often been unification. The nice thing is that when you move away from the physical format it's all just software, so you can render Windows Media, H.264, all the different formats are very straightforward. As long as you're in the physical media world you get these standards battles...

http://www.xbox365.c...LHPiPiP10180509

Quote:
For us it's not the physical format. Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything's going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it's even unclear how much this one counts.

If that doesn't seem like he wants these formats to disappear for a downloadable future, I'm not sure what would convince you. By his stated philosophy, the more consumer confusion and bungling, the sooner MS can cash in.

Quote:
I see this more of an option for the mainstream "mp3" crowd, which could in the end come and bite us videophiles who want high quality. I can't imagine them offering full quality HD-DVD movies at several ten gigabytes a piece at this point.

I never got the impression Microsoft was really pushing for the utmost quality. If pressed they'd probably give you some song and dance about how VC1 and DD 5.1 can be super compressed and still deliver reasonable quality.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Darryl

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Posted November 07 2006 - 10:27 AM

One major difference in markets is that the movies you can download via Xbox 360 Marketplace are 24-hour rentals. HD-DVD on the other hand is marketed to people who want to OWN the movie. Yes, you can rent them, but that's not the target market.

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Sami Kallio

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Posted November 07 2006 - 10:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl
One major difference in markets is that the movies you can download via Xbox 360 Marketplace are 24-hour rentals. HD-DVD on the other hand is marketed to people who want to OWN the movie. Yes, you can rent them, but that's not the target market.
What your source for that info? I am pretty sure the target is videophiles right now, not collectors. Eventually the target will be everyone who wants to watch a movie, and if people are willing to settle for low quality picture like they are settling for mp3's (a lot of difference I have to say) then it might hurt us videophiles. The rate which HD-DVD and BR movies are coming out is pretty good though and HD broadcast isn't going anywhere so I am not worried.

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Brent T

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Posted November 07 2006 - 11:37 AM

I think this is great news. Microsoft has a plan and that plan is to make the 360 a part of your HT and not just a gaming rig.

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted November 07 2006 - 01:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sami Kallio
What your source for that info? I am pretty sure the target is videophiles right now, not collectors. Eventually the target will be everyone who wants to watch a movie, and if people are willing to settle for low quality picture like they are settling for mp3's (a lot of difference I have to say) then it might hurt us videophiles. The rate which HD-DVD and BR movies are coming out is pretty good though and HD broadcast isn't going anywhere so I am not worried.

If you are talking about the online downloads, the market is not the Videophile, it is the gamer, who have, over the last year, shown a very high level of downloading with the 360. Internet movies (downloads) are short term rentals and the market is directed more at the netflix crowd, and to ensure MS is in a position to compete with Sony when they turn on their download features of their on-line service.

If you are talking about the HD-DVD market, of course it is currently the collectors, who are, as a rule of thumb, videophiles. The studios count on this.
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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted November 07 2006 - 01:53 PM

This is just a volley fired directly at Apple. They hope that 360 owners will buy a Zune.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Ryan-G

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Posted November 07 2006 - 02:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Martin
This is just a volley fired directly at Apple. They hope that 360 owners will buy a Zune.

[Opinion piece follows]

It looks that way on the surface, but IMO it's something much larger.

Microsoft knows that as an OS company it's future is doomed to mediocrity, it's product is a commodity with little growth potential and only profit spurts every X years(4?). There's really not much more they can do with Office, compiler sales have a limited market, and they're having an increasingly difficult time justifying new OS's short of supporting new hardware.

MS needs revenue streams, consistent ongoing revenue streams. To that end their plan is two-fold.

1. Gaming. Lots of money is spent on gaming, especially online gaming and it appears with micro-transactions. Thus, the X-box 360 Live and Vista's push for gaming. They want to be at the forefront, to make money on A+++ titles, and to make money from other people's work through micro-transactions. A guaranteed inflow of money.

2. VOD. The cable companies have gotten greedy, and their product is generally rather forcefed. You either buy package X with Y number of things you'll never use, or you go without. MS knows that the bandwidth from the internet is approaching the point where it's possible to transmit VOD over the internet, and they want to be the provider. Thus, they introduce the X-box 360's ability in order to start getting people used to MS as the provider, especially the younger crowd who's more comfortable with digital downloads. MS knows it can replace both the rental market and the cable market, generating loads of money with little effort.

MS knows the computing and console markets are changing, MS knows that the curve for personal computing power has neared the point where there's not much point in purchasing new hardware. As it stands today, any given computer in the last 5 years is quite capable of handling all non-gaming tasks efficiently without a need to upgrade. Even Valve(Makers of Half-Life 2) admit that the GPU is starting to wind down in it's ability to provide "Must have" features.

As such, MS knows that the time is quickly approaching to when computers have become household commodities like furnaces and refrigerators. MS also knows that there's a fast approaching end-point to what can be crammed into a Console package. Heat disipation alone is a problem.

So, MS is banking on the idea of multi-core "Servers" in upscale homes providing wireless networking to various displays around the house for gaming and general use, including TV. Intel and AMD are more than happy to provide those systems. MS will be happy to provide "X-box XXX's" as the downscale home solution with similiar functionality but without the wireless, whole house, ability. One or two boxes for a couple hundred dollars serving one or two displays capable of computing, gaming, and TV services.

The only roadblock to the whole thing is Playstation, which has the ability to compete as a Media center. It has the same power, and the same ability as the X-box 360, and can offer the same media services. If the Playstation wins the livingroom, Sony will win the VOD over the Internet. So MS had to find a way to eliminate them. Which they did. Force Sony to release early by throwing money at a new console until you get something reasonably functional, support the competing standard for HD-on-disc to eliminate the feature that drove sales for PS2 as people justified it's cost. Sony conviently helped by using an "Alien" processor that no one knew how to develop for, making supporting the PS3 a difficult and time/money consuming choice for developers.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. This console war, this format war, this VOD has absolutely nothing to do with today. It is all about the future of media and gaming, and who's going to be the "Portal" for it, reaping a great deal more money. Sony's fighting for a bigger piece of the pie, but MS OTOH is fighting for their future. If MS can't take at least one if not both gaming and VOD, they're doomed to being a commodity with a low stock price and no growth.

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted November 08 2006 - 02:20 AM

More information on MS 360 Hi-Def download strategy.
Quote:
Set to kick off on November 22, a week after Microsoft releases its HD DVD add-on drive for the console, the Xbox 360's three million gamers in the U.S. will now be able to download high-def content to the hard drives in their consoles.
http://hddvd.highdef...._Downloads/346

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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Josh Simpson

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Posted January 03 2007 - 02:20 PM

I don't find this motive as questionable as Best Buy is doing with their Blu Ray players. I was in there the other day and there was an employee dealing with two customers who were asking about HD-DVD. He basically ignored that and started telling them how much better blu ray was. He was stating some stuff that I knew was innaccurate, and I told the two customers and the employee to their faces that he was wrong and that he was "lying" to them. He just kept going on and on about how HD-DVD was good, but didn't have nearly the resolution that Blu-Ray had. I probably shouldn't have blurted out, and I'm sure it was obnoxious, but I couldn't take it. Does Best Buy get a bigger cut from Sony or something or was this guy an idiot?

I'm sorry about this rant. I think I may have derailed this thread, but I didn't mean to.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted January 04 2007 - 09:15 AM


Nope...I've witnessed that first-hand as well on multiple occasions from Best Buy sales reps. Quite frankly, I find it offensive and wrong, but it's clear from reading this (and other) forums that some "word from on high" is telling them to do this. It's ridiculous, to say the least. Although I own an HD DVD player, I personally have nothing against Blu-Ray, per se. Why can't they both be represented equally at one of America's most prominent retail chains? I don't get it, quite frankly.


#14 of 19 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted January 04 2007 - 09:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Bendiksen

Nope...I've witnessed that first-hand as well on multiple occasions from Best Buy sales reps. Quite frankly, I find it offensive and wrong, but it's clear from reading this (and other) forums that some "word from on high" is telling them to do this.
Best Buy can barely train their alot of (but not all of) employees how to run a register or how to look up if they have a DVD in the store or to even put DVDs in alphabetical order but you think they want to orchestrate a conspiracy against a product that doesn't even sell enough to be considered a drop in the bucket? I have no doubt that reports of employees talking up Blu-Ray are true but it's all because of the buzz around the PS3 or an employee listening to a fellow employee who is a PS3 fanboy and just repeating what they hear.

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   jervis961

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Posted January 04 2007 - 12:03 PM

I believe I read somewhere a while back that the HD-DVD players are sold at a loss and therefore are not money makers for the retail stores. Meanwhile BluRay is profitable for the store when they sell the player and the movies.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted January 04 2007 - 01:28 PM

The assertion was that the HD-DVD manufacturers were taking a loss on the units. The stores are certainly not selling these at a loss. Both HD-DVD and BD are profitable for the stores.

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted January 04 2007 - 01:49 PM

It's all about the money. If BB sales staff are paid on commission then they will make more money on the sale of a BD player, since BD players are higher priced than HD DVD. The sales staff don't give a s*^# about the format war and neither does Best Buy.
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#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted January 04 2007 - 06:16 PM

They are not paid on commission.
I think there can be little "perks" or something of that nature maybe though...

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted January 05 2007 - 03:44 AM


Quote:
I think there can be little "perks" or something of that nature maybe though...
I heard they get kickbacks on extended service contracts, but I have no idea whether or not that's true.



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