The BBC is reportedly in talks with Microsoft over allowing the corporation’s content to be downloadable via Xbox Live, as Microsoft looks to turn the console into an entertainment hub in people’s living rooms.
In the US, Microsoft currently offers a video on demand service through content deals with Warner Bros, MTV and others. It apparently now plans to expand this service to Europe.
Whether or not Xbox gamers will be charged for watching BBC downloads in this country is another matter, which depends on whether or not on demand downloads are classed as tranmissions, which are normally covered by the licence fee.
The BBC recently launched its iPlayer in beta, which provides a selection of TV shows for download, free of charge. The problem with this is that they can only be viewed via PC, whereas many people would prefer to watch via TV.
Making this programming available via the Xbox will put Microsoft in competition with Virgin Media, which is already offering BBC content on demand via its cable TV service. Virgin provides this free of charge to subscribers.
It’s an interesting move from Microsoft though, and could well give the console an edge over its rivals.