After a three year long wait, the Xbox 360 will get IPTV service in the United States, thanks to Mediaroom and AT&T Uverse. While a nice addition to the Xbox 360's list of services, it has its limitations.
The Xbox 360 won't necessarily replace your existing set-top box. Consider the console as another "node," as Microsoft reps described it to us at CES, one which will interact and rely upon with your current IPTV box for some of its functions.
That includes DVR features. Mediaroom on Xbox 360 won't write to the console's hard drive, instead relying on your PC or current cable box for storage. The reason? According to MS reps, it's due to the console not being an "always on" device and for heat and hardware reliability issues. But users can still browse content, set programming to record and grab video on demand as they would through the AT&T Uverse or Mediaroom interface.
The current implementation of Mediaroom IPTV on the Xbox wasn't running through the Uverse brand interface, instead using a stock Mediaroom 2.0 GUI. It was pulling content from a fictional provider, ContosoTV, but was accessible through the New Xbox Experience interface. At the show, it was located on the My Xbox row, something that doesn't appear to be final.
While maybe a little more limited than we were expecting, just like AT&T Uverse availability in the U.S., those who do subscribe to AT&T's service will likely find it more of a convenience than a way to whittle down their media centre set up.