Xbox TV Options Grow, with FiOS TV, Time Warner On-Demand

Time Warner Cable has added on-demand options to the Xbox 360. Credit: Microsoft

(Image credit: Time Warner Cable has added on-demand options to the Xbox 360. Credit: Microsoft)

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.)

MORE: Xbox One Review

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.

Follow Kevin Ohannessian at @khohannessian and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Kelly Ohannessian is a freelance writer and editor. With more than 15 years of experience, she works with a focus on covering the creative aspects of the gaming industry. Her articles have appeared on Medium, Fast Company, Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Gamespot, and many more. Currently, she works as a manager at Brooklyn Game Lab.

  • alextheblue
    If you subtract the cost of an HD box rental, it basically makes XBL Gold free.
  • ronintexas
    The best "video" service out there was Windows Media Center and the XBox360 as an extender. Microsoft has not done anything with WMC in years, and dropped support for the XBox One as an extender. When you pay $10 for a cable box per month, $10 for DVR service per month, and you have 3 TV's - that is $60 per month in rental fees....

    With Windows Media Center and the SiliconDust/Ceton Network tuners, you paid $2-$5 per month for a cable card....and had virtually unlimited recording space, unlimited tuners, and an XBox360 played it perfectly on the TV....

    With the addition of the TWC XBox360 app - I now have video on demand....100% of what I get from the cable company - why pay them $60 per year for the boxes? And since Microsoft dropped support on the XBox One, I will not be upgrading anytime in the future....
  • antilycus
    im confused people still watch paid for TV? Ever since they switched over to the Digital Over The Air (OTA) signal, I stopped watching all TV...though I haven't missed a single show I wanted. The system can't keep up. Commercials were a stable revenue stream in 1995, certainly not in 2013. With Crackle, Amazon Prime, and torrents out there (Hulu plus is a joke. why pay 9 a month for commercials and Netflix is a rip off too their content is outdated and a year late). Once these providers start producing their own series you can say goodbye to this antiquated revenue stream. XB One won't get my money (for the first time ever) because it's too geared to staying in the past not moving towards the future.
  • vidfreek
    Yeah Netflix is a complete rip off for $8 a month, you get a TON of stuff to watch on there and all on demand for that price. Sure it doesnt get big blockbuster movies right out of the gate but again, you are only paying $8 a month and the big movie companies dont want their stuff on there for that price.

    How is the Xbox One staying in the past? What future are you talking about here? More streaming and more people moving away from Cable TV? You do realize that as more people do move away from Cable TV, your internet bill is going up and your data limit is going down. These wont help anything move towards the future you speak of, so the Xbox One is just fine where its at right now if you ask me.

    As far as TV options go, I dont have a cable provider that they will work with. I live in an area that has a good sized provider but it isnt a big one like Verizon or Comcast or Time Warner, so I cant even use any of those features on my Xbox 360 or my Xbox One. So it doesnt even matter as I dont subscribe to cable TV at all right now, but I do get to pay more for my internet since my provider decided to institute data caps now, so using my Amazon Prime and Netflix is costing me even more money now, the future isnt looking too bright now is it?