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Telus to Deliver TV Service Via Xbox 360

Canadian service provider Telus has become the first North American carrier to take advantage of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Optik TV integration.

Telus is well aware of the 360’s capabilities as a gaming system but hopes to build on its capabilities as an entertainment unit. Telus plans to allow Optik TV customers to use the 360 as a digital set top box that would enable PVR Anywhere features, allowing users to schedule the recording of up to three shows simultaneously on on PVR unit.

With this announcement, all the features of TELUS’ popular Optik TV service now become available directly via the Xbox 360 console. This means that customers of Optik TV can use an Xbox 360 as a digital set top box to:

    -  Watch any of Optik TV's over 400 digital channels, including over 50
       in HD;
    -  Watch any shows they have recorded on their Optik HD PVR digital box;
    -  Use PVR Anywhere to record up to 3 live shows simultaneously from any
       room
    -  Pause a recorded program in one room and pick it up from the same spot
       in a different room
    -  Get PVR functionality from any TV when watching recorded programs -
       Pause, replay, rewind, fast-forward.

Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of TELUS said that the company is blazing a trail as the first provider in North America to offer this innovative capability with Xbox 360 and Optik TV and the integration of the Optik TV service, powered by Microsoft Mediaroom, with the Xbox 360 will deliver increased flexibility and enhance our customers’ entertainment experience. With this announcement, all the features of TELUS’ popular Optik TV service now become available directly via the Xbox 360 console.

The announcement ties-in nicely with a current offer from Telus: they are giving a free Xbox 360 to subscribers who sign up for a twp-year high-speed Internet service contract.

Microsoft first demonstrated the Xbox IPTV capability at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2007 and Telus started using Mediaroom earlier this year. Ben Huang, director of marketing for Microsoft Mediaroom, said Microsoft is not looking to replace existing set-top boxes in the home, just aiming to give users more flexibility by having the Xbox available as a secondary unit.

“We know that there will be a variety of devices that consumers will want to use to access their TV service, including their laptops, mobile devices, Xboxes, and set-top boxes, among others,” Huang said. “We see Xbox 360 as an extension of the viewing experience. The primary set-top box in the home still serves as the DVR hub.”

Telus will use this project as a competitive advantage over other cable TV providers that don’t offer similar services, but most importantly as an opportunity for customers to save money and reduce the number of hardware gadgets cluttered around their homes and living rooms.

The Telus launch comes several months after U.S. giant AT&T discussed plans for the same capability, but AT&T has yet to make it available. Vodafone Portugal is the only other carrier supporting the Xbox 360 as an IPTV platform on a commercial basis, though other carriers reportedly have run tests.

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