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Microsoft is launching what looks set to be the most consumer-friendly Social TV service yet.

It is integrating Skype video chat with live TV viewing and targeting sports fans.

The latest version of Microsoft’s games console and digital entertainment centre, the Xbox One, is now being marketed as a Social TV device.

The selling point is that it has Skype pre-installed and lets Xbox owners “Talk to friends while you’re watching TV, movies or playing games. Now it’s even easier to invite the whole gang into your living room — no matter where they are.”

While Social TV is now typically a second screen experience, with people talking, texting, tweeting and Facebooking via tablets and smartphones while viewing TV, the Xbox offer a face-to-face Social TV experience completely integrated into the main TV screen.

 

Social TV for sports fans

A banner ad currently running within Skype itself suggests,“Talk to friends while watching live TV.”

 

Skype Xbox Social TV ad

Skype Xbox Social TV ad

 

The Skype Web site is quite clear that sports is the live TV which people want to talk about.

 

Skype Xbox sports Social TV

Sports Social TV via Skype and Xbox

 

Xbox Live in the USA offers sports via ESPN and it enables individuals to set up user profiles and receive customised content about the sports, leagues and teams they follow.

In the UK, a deal with BSkyB offers the Sky Go service, with seven sports channels and other movie and entertainment channels.

However, there is the potential for people to find other TV programming to view together.

The Xbox One has Social TV discovery built in, which can help users identify friends who are also fans of TV shows.

“Discover what TV shows and movies are popular among your friends and what is trending within the Xbox community.

Other key features of Skype via Xbox One include:

  • 1080p HD-quality video chat
  • Group calls with up to four participants
  • Every console ships with a Kinect and the camera automatically zooms in on the people in a video chat

The most mainstream Social TV service yet?

The combination of sports content, that fans naturally want to discuss, Skype being integrated into the Xbox One, and Social TV as a key element in the marketing combine to make this easy-to-use and arguably the most mainstream consumer Social TV service yet.

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