Matt Farrington-Smith
11/10/2011 15:57 | By Matt Farrington-Smith, editor, Tech & Gadgets

Microsoft launches Xbox 360 TV service

Xbox 360 users will be able to enjoy on-demand entertainment from BBC, Channel 4's 4oD, Channel 5, LOVEFILM and more.

You become the remote controller, as Xbox 360 beckons in a new era of TV and entertainment across Xbox LIVE in the UK this Christmas.

Xbox 360 to launch on-demand TV service this Christmas. Image Microsoft

Microsoft have announced close to 40 leading TV and entertainment providers - including Channel 4, Channel 5, BBC, Sky, LOVEFiLM, MSN, YouTube, Blinkbox, Zune and Muzu. So you'll be able to enjoy a brave new world of video, movies, TV and music from the comfort of your living room on your Xbox 360 console.

TV highlights

Channel 4 will offer their 30-day 4oD catch-up service, Channel 5 also weigh in with a version of their Demand 5 player, whilst LOVEFILM offer their rental library to all existing LOVEFILM members with a subscription of £5.99 or more.

blinkbox already offer a selection of free TV and movies online (along with some paid content), so we can expect a similar offering when it arrives on our Xbox 360 dashboard.

MSN's Video Player will deliver free full TV series similar to what you can find on

Pete Clifton, Executive Producer, MSN UK said: "We think that our users are going to be thrilled by the combined power of MSN Video Player and Xbox LIVE. This partnership expands our reach and means consumers can access the 'MSN exclusives' content, plus news, entertainment and lifestyle video, AND an extra helping of their favourite classic TV shows such as Top Gear, Doctor Who, Derren Brown, Skins and How to Look Good Naked - all for free to Xbox LIVE Gold members."

Search through TV shows and movies using Bing on Xbox 360. Image Microsoft

Search through TV shows and movies using Bing on Xbox 360

Voice activated

Gone are the days of managing a handful of remote controls, trying to remember what movies are available from what service, and hunting back and forth across television inputs.

Using voice search with Bing on Xbox, easily look across a variety of branded services and play the programming you want without ever raising a finger.

Having trouble finding last night's episode of "The Office"? It's now only a voice command away. Just say "Xbox, Bing, 'The Office,'" and Xbox finds it.

See what your friends are watching. Image Microsoft

See what your friends are watching on Xbox 360's new TV service.

See what others are watching

The Xbox 360 TV experience has designed to be more social and personal.

Share recommendations, and show the Xbox LIVE community what games you're playing, movies you're watching and music you're listening to.

You can also invite them to join in, post your game achievements and info about your favourite movies directly to your Facebook wall from Xbox LIVE.

Coming soon

With all this amazing free content you're probably dying to dive straight in. You can expect the new service to go live on your Xbox 360 as part of the dashboard update - which has a rumoured November 2011 release date.

The Xbox 360 TV experience is free, but an Xbox LIVE Gold membership is required.

Xbox LIVE running on Windows 8. Image Microsoft

Xbox LIVE running on an early version of Windows 8.

Microsoft's "three screens"

When looking to the future Microsoft have long spoken of their "three screens" philisophy; TV, computer, mobile (and the Cloud).

At BUILD (Microsoft's developer conference) Xbox LIVE was shown running for the first time on a range of Windows 8 devices. Microsoft are already implementing a feature called 'Async' into its multiplayer gaming titles, this will allow Windows PCs, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 users to play against each other.

If Microsoft are to fulfill their "three screens" destiny we would expect a full Xbox LIVE experience to arrive on all Microsoft devices in the not-too-distant future.

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