Print 35 comment(s) - last by SiliconJon.. on Aug 13 at 1:23 PM

Xbox 360 will be the only game console to stream Netflix content

Microsoft frequently rolls out updates for the Xbox LIVE service that adds new features for Xbox owners. The latest update for Xbox Live is coming soon with some features set to roll out this week. Starting on August 13, Xbox owners will be available to browse and purchase Games on Demand on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

The update also adds a new Avatar Marketplace that will offer props for Avatars and the ability to download and purchase premium items like clothing for the player's avatar. The slick Netflix streaming service is also getting an update that adds new features like Party Watch that lets users watch a show with friends at the same time if the movie is supported. Content search is improved in the update and the playback experience is reportedly improved as well.

One key announcement that Microsoft has made in conjunction with details on the new Live Update is to reveal that the Xbox 360 will be the only game console that is able to stream Netflix content. Microsoft has announced that it has an exclusive partnership with Netflix. That means owners of the Wii and PS3 waiting to join the Netflix streaming service are out of luck.

Account management features will be updated to prompt subscribers to renew their Windows Live IDs and subscriptions when they expire. Gold member Veterans will also get a special card and may get other unnamed perks as well.

The update adds various fixes to the console's video display options to make viewing content in the highest supported resolution easier to do. User ratings are being tightly integrated into XBOX Live allowing users to rate content on the Marketplace with a 5-star system and games and other content will be sortable by these ratings.

Various improvements are being made with the UI with the dashboard being reorganized to make finding things easier. Xbox Live Community Games has been renamed Xbox Live Indie Games, and achievement tracking and an achievement browser is available as well. Microsoft says that ore features are coming this fall with integration of Facebook, Twitter,, and Zune Video in the Xbox Live features.

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BLU-RAY Supported?
By Mitch101 on 8/11/2009 10:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
There are plenty of rumors floating around now that Toshiba is signing an agreement to make BLU-RAY drives that there will be an add on BLU-RAY drive by X-mas for the 360. Im curious to know if support will be in this update or when the next update might be.

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By orgy08 on 8/11/2009 10:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
It might be a simple patch like the HD-DVD and not a compete update like they have twice a year.

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By mofo3k on 8/11/2009 10:34:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure what the price would be on one of those, but why would you want one when standalone Blu-Ray players are under $200 and dropping. I can't see an addon player making much of a splash right now. Maybe earlier on when Blu-Ray was still in it's infancy but now I think it's too late.

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By nafhan on 8/11/2009 10:39:23 AM , Rating: 3
If it was $100, I think a lot of people would get it.
Newegg's got a $60 drive for the PC, so a $100 (or lower, maybe) price point would definitely be doable...

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By Murst on 8/11/2009 11:03:15 AM , Rating: 1
If it was $100, I think a lot of people would get it

Meijer had a $100 standalone Magnovox BR player for sale a couple months ago, and Dell was selling the Sharp BR player for $119 ( they still might, I haven't checked ). In the next few months, more and more players should break the $100 barrier, especially with the holidays coming up.

Of course, Microsoft sells a wireless adapter for like $80, so they might be able to find a way to sell a BR add-on for even $400!

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By ncheese on 8/11/2009 1:58:51 PM , Rating: 3
I've not played with the ultra-cheap BR players you mentioned below, but I would still bet that the "proposed" XBOX w/ BR support will load faster, run BD Live faster, fast forward/reverse better, ... etc. It comes down to this simple fact, the XBOX (as well as the PS3) has far more processing power than any stand-alone BR player of comparable price.

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By StevoLincolnite on 8/11/2009 10:37:07 AM , Rating: 3
If such a thing did show up, they will probably release a second media update to support it, rather than wasting bandwidth to update 20 million+ Xbox Live! subscribers.

Or it will detect the Blue-ray drive automatically and download the required files, much like what happens when you launch a game and a new update comes available.

Regarding this update, I was in the Beta Preview program and was using it for several weeks.

The Games on demand feature was awesome in theory but in my opinion Microsoft dropped the ball on it, the pricing structure is NOT competitive at all, if anything it works out more expensive than going out and buying the disc.

For instance here in Australia Mass Effect costs 6000 Microsoft points or $99.95 on Xbox Live - when being a fairly old game now.
I can pick it up brand-new for $49.95 - $59.95 AU, plus I get the Disc, artwork, booklet etc, plus Unlimited download limits don't really exist in Australia, and downloading a 5-6gb game is a large hit on a Telstra 25gb limit. (I'm on Westnet, with free Xbox Live! downloads.)

The older games are just as bad as well like Call of Duty 2 (They want 50 bucks for an early Xbox game? PLEASE!), plus you cannot resell the downloaded games either. (Not that I have ever sold a single one of my games anyway ~ 35 games and counting).

Then you have the Avatar market place, I bought the Warthog for 360/380? Microsoft Points because it stated it was "Interactive" - yet you just watch it drive around your avatar, hardly interactive. (They probably meant interactive for the avatar not the user, and the animations feature no randomization at all either).

Then you have the ratings. ~ A very welcomed feature, unfortunately it hasn't been useful yet because not enough people have rated games, and the ones that are rated are rated with 4-5 stars.

All in all it's a step in the right direction, Netflix is still USA only which is a bummer, Netflix should be taking advantage of the world-wide Xbox platform and get more penetration into more countries across the globe.

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By Parhel on 8/11/2009 10:53:11 AM , Rating: 2
For instance here in Australia Mass Effect costs 6000 Microsoft points or $99.95 on Xbox Live - when being a fairly old game now. . . . I can pick it up brand-new for $49.95 - $59.95 AU

Even $49.95 AU is pricey. Here in the US, they just released a special edition for around $20 USD which includes a bonus disc with the Bring Down the Sky DLC and some other stuff.

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By epsilonparadox on 8/11/2009 10:57:07 AM , Rating: 2
I highly doubt MS would support Bluray since they've already announced instant 1080p movies w/ the fall update and they wouldn't play a licensing fee to Sony.

The pricing must be really bad overseas because I'm also on the beta and none of the prices are above $30 in the states which is in line w/ what MS said. I still think it should be lower but I understand that while this may be convenient for some users, most of MS's money comes from the retail chain and MS can't anger them by pricing the games below the retail pricing.

I don't see a problem w/ the inability to resell the games since none of the games available are new games. They're mostly platinum hits. Also this is the same as on the PC if you were to get a game from Steam or Direct2Drive. It's a convenience feature and not one you're forced into. Since I haven't bought a game on it, I don't know if you're allowed to download the game on different consoles or if the purchased is signed to the original console.

I think Netflix has the same barriers of entry in other marketplaces as the movie download service on the 360. Every country has different rules and regs for movies/tv shows and Netflix and MS will have to get the service cleared w/ the governing bodies before the service can go live and it may not be a priority for either if the cost is too high.

RE: BLU-RAY Supported?
By Hiawa23 on 8/12/2009 8:55:43 AM , Rating: 2
I own all three of the consoles, & it amazes me that Sony is basically doing little to improve PSN, Home has been a joke, & MS continues to improve LIVE. I had hoped that PSN would be built like LIVE & was an integral part of gaming on the PS3, but as of yet all Sony did was slap & paste their movie division access on the site. I would think it would be in Netflix's best interest to get Netflix access on all 3 platforms. Shocking to see that even with the RROD fiasco, MS seems to be in a decent position, & seems to mor aggressive than Sony.

Bummer on the exclusivity
By SiliconJon on 8/11/2009 12:08:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still not moving the 360 out of the basement. I was hoping native Netflix would come to the PS3 so my HDTV could get some netflix. And while I still can do that via other methods, it ain't hap'nin. I hate this anti competitor, anti consumer underhanded crap, but the best I can speak with is my money.

RE: Bummer on the exclusivity
By drmo on 8/11/2009 1:58:43 PM , Rating: 2
Try playon. It does PS3 now, and it has a free 14 day trial. And no need to have a xbox live account.

RE: Bummer on the exclusivity
By Iaiken on 8/12/2009 2:42:03 PM , Rating: 2

The only advantage to the 360 model is that you just need the console with an internet connection... and a subscription to XBL... and a subscription to Netflix...

The nice thing about playon is that you can stream from multiple providers... and it doesn't require a subscription to XBL... and many of those providers are FREE.

That and "exclusive" isn't the ironclad chastity belt it used to be...

RE: Bummer on the exclusivity
By SiliconJon on 8/13/2009 1:23:46 PM , Rating: 2
I have playon, and it's not bad, but unreliable, and now it's a bit expensive though I paid $30 for it some time ago and I have found it worth the price I paid. But it breaks too frequently, though I also need to run a hardline to improve its performance as my wireless routers just don't cut it.

What these content provides need are native support for these powerful gaming consoles as there's no reason I should need to have a dedicated PC running to decode this, using extra power and bandwidth, when my PS3 is fully capable of taking the lower bandwidth encoded stream across my wireless network and using its own horsepower to decode.

But they're too scared of change (RIAA anyone?). I'm not willing to pay for tv subscriptions that are ad-revenue based. I say pick one or the other, or I'll do without. However, so many people willing to pay for advertising soaked feeds is a monsterous profit for many. So long as people are willing to pay subscription fees for advertisements, change will be undesired.

Netflix updates
By Parhel on 8/11/2009 10:45:03 AM , Rating: 2
Content search is improved in the update and the playback experience is reportedly improved as well.

In the current interface, you can't search for content at all. You have to add movies to your queue from your PC, and then you can watch them on the XBox.

I rec'd an e-mail from MS the other day about the update. I took it that you'd be able to search through the Netflix library from your XBox now, but it was a bit vague. And the screenshot posted in the article is the same as the current XBox Netflix screen, so I'm a bit confused.

Does anyone know if this is true? I bought my XBox primarily for Netflix and Media Center, so that would be a welcome update for me.

RE: Netflix updates
By snbdr on 8/11/2009 11:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
From what I know this is true. You will be able to search for content and add it from the x-box interface. The only problem that I have with it is that you can only search the top 50 movies in each category. And there is no search function.

RE: Netflix updates
By rburnham on 8/12/2009 10:44:12 AM , Rating: 2
That sounds very similar to what you can do on Netflix under Windows Media Center. There is no actual search feature where you can type in names of movies, but you can browse the categories. It has been a welcome feature, as we don't own a 360 but we've had a PC hooked up to our TV for the last 4 years and it's been well worth it.

By Scott66 on 8/11/2009 12:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
If I need a BluRay player and Netflix. Many LG and Samsung ones have Netflix built right in to the player.

Until I swap out my HD on my PS3 to a larger Drive, I prefer to have my media computer handle this and push it to the console.

By Morphine06 on 8/11/2009 1:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
What content are you pushing to the console? And why you need to push to a console when you have a media computer? And why would upgrading the HDD on the PS3 help stream Netflix?

Netflix on PS3 and Wii
By drmo on 8/11/2009 12:06:53 PM , Rating: 3
You can get Netflix on PS3 and Wii now by using Playon (running on your PC). I even use it regularly on my Xbox with XBMC. You have to add videos on your PC though.

By sapiens74 on 8/11/2009 1:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
Watching HD now with full bars

Looks great!

Anyone else?
By ajfink on 8/12/2009 1:16:32 AM , Rating: 2
My box has been hanging on the logo screen for 15 minutes. I think the update may have bricked my Xbox.

Anyone else having similar problems?

By sapiens74 on 8/11/2009 3:32:51 PM , Rating: 1
Actually Three Rings

Red Rings :)

I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By Innocent Hawk on 8/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By epsilonparadox on 8/11/2009 11:04:50 AM , Rating: 2
The only thing that Sony's video store doesn't have going for it is the number of videos available. I'm sure it doesn't even come close to matching the size of Netflix.

Which is kinda sad since Sony is a major player in the movie industry and knows all the players. They can easily get the agreements in place and make the PSN service #1 in the movie business.

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By ncheese on 8/11/2009 2:10:30 PM , Rating: 2
Which is kinda sad since Sony is a major player in the movie industry and knows all the players. They can easily get the agreements in place and make the PSN service #1 in the movie business.

Except those other players compete with Sony, so unless they have no other choice (such as when HDDVD gave in to BluRay), they will probably avoid supporting and driving profits to PSN. NetFlix has the advantage of PSN simply because NetFlix is not a competitor to any of the other movie studios. Like the old saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By JackBurton on 8/11/2009 11:05:57 AM , Rating: 2
You can, however it really depends on your internet speed. I have an 18Mb down connection an I can start watching a movie probably 5 minutes after the download starts. The PSN store is great, they just need to beef up the movie selection.

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By erple2 on 8/11/2009 11:36:29 AM , Rating: 4
Huh, on Netflix, I click the "watch this movie" button, and in about 5-10 seconds it starts playing.

That feature alone makes it better than PSN's method.

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By JackBurton on 8/11/09, Rating: 0
RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By Mojo the Monkey on 8/11/2009 2:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
Netflix has live HD streaming as well. My buffer time is 15-20 seconds on the 360 and the picture looks about as good as HD TV (though not the same as HD-DVD or Blu-Ray).

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By Akrovah on 8/12/2009 1:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
Do the Netflix HD streaming also stream full surround sound? That is the one dissapointment I have had with the PSN rentals. THey seem to stream stereo only, or Pro-Logic at best.

By Mojo the Monkey on 8/12/2009 6:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
I dont know. I am currently running a L/R HiFi system. I believe I see the input registering as surround incoming. I'll check later. I used to have surround, but I simplified. I'm waiting for a reasonable wireless-rear-speaker solution to go back to surround. I think I'm finally starting to see hints of these kinds of products come to the market.

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By Parhel on 8/11/2009 11:11:50 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure it doesn't even come close to matching the size of Netflix.

Only a small portion of Netflix content is available for streaming. The rest you still have to rent on DVD. I'm not complaining, mind you . . . I have the service, I use it all the time and I really enjoy it.

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By Scott66 on 8/11/2009 12:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
A lot of Movie distributors do not like making their movies available for download. Still scared of Pirating.

As usual honest tech consumers are getting shafted.

RE: I'm sure Sony doesn't care.
By smackababy on 8/11/2009 1:44:59 PM , Rating: 2
Which makes sense, because movies are ripped from DVD and put online the day of their release, right?

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