Fox FCC filing: MSO moving all services to game consoles

Maybe the set-top box really is dead, and, at least for one MSO, it looks like it may be. Fox Group SVP of content protection Ron Wheeler, in a filing with the FCC, stated that "in the course of renegotiating a contract with one of Fox's multichannel video programming distribution ("MVPD") partners, the MVPD has told Fox that it intends in the near future to make its subscription and on-demand video services available directly to widely-marketed consumer electronics devices, such as game consoles."

Earlier this month, Disney made a similar filing, but with one major difference: Fox goes on to reveal the plans of an American operator to begin substituting software on game consoles and other "widely-marketed consumer electronics devices" for set-top boxes.

"While there have been hints of this kind of thing for the last eighteen months, this revelation, especially in relation to game consoles, is a significant step up in the commitment level from the operator(s) in question," said Stephen Froehlich, a senior analyst with IMS Research. "While it is impossible to yet say who the MVPD in question is, our analysis points to a cable operator in the U.S. (including Verizon FiOS in that category)."

Froehlich said that AT&T already is using Mediaroom in that capacity on the Xbox 360, but it "lacks the bandwidth to do much more than it is currently doing."

Froehlich said the filing raises the possibility that the MVPD in question may become a content distribution network and begin serving video to customers using other broadband providers.

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