Who needs a cable box anymore?
Microsoft has announced that the Verizon FiOS app was released for the Xbox One. The app allows FiOS subscribers to stream live cable television on the system, with 74 channels being offered. The app had already been available on Microsoft's previous-generation console, the Xbox 360. Pay TV service Time Warner Cable was not to be outdone: Microsoft announced that the TWC app on Xbox 360 has been updated to include video-on-demand, with more than 5,000 on-demand choices available in addition to the 300 live channels TWC offers.
Where does this leave the state of pay TV on Microsoft's consoles? As the new kid on the block, the Xbox One doesn't offer many television apps. FiOS is the first app from a pay-TV provider on the console, though there are apps from specific channels — the CW, ESPN, Fox, FX and Univision — as well as Amazon Instant, Crackle, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Target Ticket and Xbox Video for streaming television shows. (Using the cable-TV and other apps requires a $60-per-year Xbox Live Gold subscription.)
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The venerable Xbox 360 has more TV selections available, with Xfinity (Comcast), Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS apps. Specific channels include apps for A&E, Animal Planet, the CW, Disney, ESPN, Fox, Fox News, FX, HBO Go, History, MTV, National Geographic, NBC News, Nickelodeon, PBS, Starz, Syfy, Telemundo and Univision. And you can watch TV series via the same general streaming apps offered for Xbox One: Amazon Instant, Crackle, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Target Ticket and Xbox Video.
With the Xbox One's capabilities to connect a pay-TV receiver directly to the console via HDMI, what would be the use of television apps? Beyond additional on-demand options that your pay-TV box may offer, having separate apps allows multitasking on Xbox One that wouldn't be possible otherwise. You could watch live TV via the cable box and have a smaller screen "snapped" to the side streaming another show. Or vice versa. Whichever way you choose to watch, it is clear that Microsoft is getting serious about entertainment options on its consoles.