Microsoft is beefing up the online video entertainment offerings of its Xbox Live online service by 25 percent, adding apps from HBO, Showtime, various Disney channels, Comedy Central and dozens of others it said will become available sometime this year. The company also is integrating Twitter and Twitter’s short-video service Vine into the service, providing ready access to the social-media services while watching TV through the Xbox One console. That deep integration will allow people to tweet about a show onscreen as they’re watching it, see in the program guide what shows are getting a lot of tweets and to follow what those who are connected with a show are posting.
Larry Hryb, a longtime Xbox executive, said in a video released today that the new approach with Twitter will make it easy for fans to talk about the shows they’re watching. It’s clearly an attempt by Microsoft to pull the so-called “second-screen” experience — watching a show while using social media on a tablet or phone — back into a single device. The integration looks slickly done in the video, but it will be interesting to see whether users will follow Microsoft’s lead. Will they use either a controller or perhaps their handheld devices with a remote-control app to tweet through the TV screen instead of directly through their phone? More will likely be disclosed in next Monday’s big presentation from Microsoft ahead of the E3 video game convention in Los Angeles. (more…)