UPDATE: Microsoft has confirmed this report on its Xbox Wire blog: "Coming in June, anyone with an Xbox will be able to access popular entertainment experiences – whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership. This includes great gaming apps like Machinima, Twitch and Upload, popular video services like Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Red Bull TV and HBO GO, sports experiences like the NFL app for Xbox One, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center and more." See the company's post for more details.
For years, Xbox users who wanted to watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, MLB.TV, or other streaming video services via their gaming console not only had to pay the subscription for each of those services, but had to ante up for an Xbox Live Gold premium subscription. A new report from Ars Technica says Microsoft may be thinking about ditching this requirement, since none of its competition charges anything similar.
In the early days of Netflix’s streaming video service, one of the only dependable ways to get streaming video onto your TV was through a gaming console such as the Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3. But even though the PS3—and then the Roku boxes, and smart TVs, and web-connected Blu-ray players, and Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV, and countless others—don’t charge for access, Microsoft has continued to require an Xbox Live Gold membership.
Ars Technica claims that multiple sources at Microsoft are saying the company is tearing down this paywall, and will allow plain old Xbox Live members to stream these services without paying the company any extra.