Earlier this morning, Microsoft announced that it had reached an agreement with Time Warner Cable to bring 300 live TV channels to the Xbox 360 later this summer. This deal far surpasses the one Microsoft currently has with Verizon FiOS — that provider’s app only offers 75 channels — but is similar in that it transforms the Xbox 360 into a streaming cable box, of sorts.

Cable TV competitor Comcast also an Xfinity app available for the Xbox 360, but that app only gives users access to on-demand programming instead of live TV.

Time Warner Cable's app for the Xbox 360 may provide a service similar to the FiOS app for the system.
Time Warner Cable’s app for the Xbox 360 may provide a service similar to the FiOS app for the system.

With these apps becoming available for the Xbox 360, as well as the integration the Xbox One will have with cable TV set top boxes, it seems that the days of poor TV UI may be coming to an end. More companies have products in the running (Google, for example) or seem destined to enter the market (Apple, Intel), and these companies do user interface far better than cable providers. The greater good would be served by these providers outsourcing their UI, but then again, these are companies that don’t really like to give up control.

Microsoft’s Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media & Entertainment group at Microsoft, seems particularly excited about the TWC app on the Xbox 360.

“TWC TV is a significant addition to Xbox 360, bringing our customers their favorite entertainment in one place—enhanced TV experience, games, movies, music, sports and entertainment apps,” said Westlake. “Our partnership with TWC enhances all that is available on Xbox 360 today, which will we continue expand. We’re thrilled to offer TWC TV to U.S. Xbox Live members and Time Warner Cable subscribers.”

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If you’re a Time Warner Cable subscriber, that alone won’t grant you access to your TWC TV lineup on the Xbox 360. You’ll also need to be a an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, a service that costs around $60 per year. Yeah, it doesn’t seem right to pay an additional fee to access content you’re already paying for, but if you use your Xbox 360 to play multiplayer games online or stream from Netflix, you’re already paying that fee anyway.

There’s no word from Microsoft on whether or not the Time Warner Cable app — or apps from Verizon and Comcast — will make it over to the Xbox One when it launches in November. We’ll keep our eyes and ears on alert and let you know if we hear anything about that. In the meantime, drop us a line below with your thoughts on the TWC app for the 360.


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