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New Xbox 360 Dashboard  (Source: Engadget)

  (Source: Engadget)
Netflix service will begin this fall on Xbox 360

The second year of the pared down E3 Business and Media Summit in L.A. kicked off this week with Microsoft making some big announcements for the Xbox 360. Microsoft announced a new partnership with Netflix that allows the Xbox 360 to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix directly to your TV.

The new service is designed to complement the existing Xbox Live Video Marketplace says Kotaku, not replace it. One of the best features of the Netflix streaming service is that Xbox 360 owners who already subscribe to Netflix and have an Xbox LIVE Gold account will pay nothing more for the service.

Currently, the library of movies and TV shows that can be streamed numbers over 10,000. The streaming service is set to launch later this fall. To use the service, Microsoft say Netflix users will simply add TV shows or movies to their instant queues and the media will automatically show up on the Xbox 360. The media can be controlled via the Xbox 360 controller or Media Remote.

The Netflix service is a big component of what Microsoft calls the New Xbox Experience. However, there is more to the New Xbox Experience than the Netflix service. The Xbox 360 dashboard was redesigned to be navigable by those unfamiliar with the current blades interface the Xbox uses.

Kotaku says that the interface has reflections like those found in the iTunes Cover Flow album art. The navigation promises to give gamers a quick look at their games and content. The Guide will still be accessible in the same way from the Xbox 360 controller and promises to load faster even when there are lots of games in the library.

The Xbox 360 will get the ability to play games from the hard drive. That means players can rip disc-based games to the hard drive, the catch is that the original game disc has to be in the drive to play them. That means the only benefit is that the games are said to load faster.

Netflix subscribers considering buying the Netflix streaming box will want to give the Xbox 360 with its recently reduced price a serious look.

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By HeavyB on 7/15/2008 11:48:00 AM , Rating: 4
This is pretty sweet. I never took advantage of the downloadable movies from Netflix because I prefer to watch movies on my home theater system rather than my computer. A somewhat clever move on the part of Microsoft, WOW!

RE: Wow!
By retrospooty on 7/15/2008 11:50:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yup - it is nice... The drawback is limited content. Most of the Netflix library is not available for download. At least not on regular Netfix, maybe they will open more of it up now.

RE: Wow!
By crimson117 on 7/15/2008 11:57:16 AM , Rating: 4
And the other drawback is that you have to pay $50 a year for an Xbox live gold account to use it.

RE: Wow!
By FITCamaro on 7/15/2008 12:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
Bandwidth costs money.

RE: Wow!
By crimson117 on 7/15/2008 12:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
Which I already pay for via my Netflix subscription. I doubt the movies are streamed through Microsoft servers.

RE: Wow!
By deeznuts on 7/15/2008 12:55:10 PM , Rating: 2
Your ISP won't be happy though. Tiered and capped bandwith sucks.

This is a good option. I have only used the streaming once. Because I don't like the low quality. Good dvd is about as low as I want on movies. One site yesterday said they tested the feature, and the quality was good but less than DVD.

I can see myself using this on stuff I don't care about Picture Quality, such as stand up comedy and stuff like that. But not for movies.

RE: Wow!
By MrBlastman on 7/15/2008 12:12:33 PM , Rating: 4
I'd still say it is a good deal seeing how I pay over 17 bucks a month for my Netflix subscription.

Pretty darned good deal if you ask me - if you like movies. The content on watch now is so so, but it is getting better.

RE: Wow!
By MrBlastman on 7/15/2008 12:22:07 PM , Rating: 2

I read the article again and mis-read it the first time.

I understood it to be free for Gold users - but, in fact...

It costs you 50.00 for Gold PLUS a Netflix Subscription.

That is kinda lame.

RE: Wow!
By callmeroy on 7/15/2008 1:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
Disclaimer: I don't own a 360 at all and I don't subscribe to Netflix so I could honestly care less what the costs are it doesn't affect me.

I do think its a bit lame that MS charges $50 to use the their internet feature only because I'm a PC gamer at heart -- and the PC gaming model has largely been "buy a game with multiplayer and as long as you have Internet there is no charge to play". I understand that the 360 live portal is much upgraded now from the standard XBOX days so maybe that justifies $50 a year - I dunno.

However my feelings on paying $50 a year for Xbox live, I don't think its lame that you have to pay for a Netflix subscription to use this feature as well. I mean WTF -- Netflix is a business too and the service isn't new just bringing it to a console is. Microsoft is just saying ok now the xbox has the ABILITY to use this Netflix product if you want to take advantage of it.

Netflix ain't gonna give away its product for nothing, you want it for free through this service MS would have to pay some kind of royalty like fee per LIVE account that actives teh service for that to happen. Which in turn would likely raise prices of LIVE service -- after all first rule of business....pass on the costs to the consumer.

RE: Wow!
By JustTom on 7/15/2008 1:33:43 PM , Rating: 3
I'd pay 4 bucks a month to have a standard portal and interface to play computer games.

RE: Wow!
By Circle T on 7/15/2008 1:54:30 PM , Rating: 5
[Sally Struthers]

For less than $1 a week, you too can help give a needy child have one more person to yell racial and homophobic slurs at. Won't you help?

[/Sally Struthers]

All joking aside, I think the price for Live is fine. I will, and do, gladly pay that price to get the full, cohesive package that it allows. I can see why some would not like it, if they are used to free. But, I'm OK with it.

RE: Wow!
By MrBlastman on 7/15/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wow!
By vapore0n on 7/15/2008 6:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
and its quite true

People that use Microsoft Media Center can have all of the Netflix streaming goodness in their box and can even use the same plugin to stream to an xbox without having to pay for xbox live. A pluging may already be available to use xbox alone without MCE.

So in essence, xbox people that dont pay for xbox live are getting screwed.

RE: Wow!
By crazyblackman on 7/15/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wow!
By jvillaro on 7/15/2008 2:54:47 PM , Rating: 1
I do think its a bit lame that MS charges $50 to use the their internet feature only because I'm a PC gamer at heart -- and the PC gaming model has largely been "buy a game with multiplayer and as long as you have Internet there is no charge to play".

So you have never played WOW, Everquest or something like that?

RE: Wow!
By Mojo the Monkey on 7/15/2008 6:26:57 PM , Rating: 3
I haven't, and the monthly charge is PRECISELY the reason why I have stayed away from those games. I might be missing out, but I honestly like the one-time-purchase model more than the constant flow of cash out of my wallet.

RE: Wow!
By afkrotch on 7/15/2008 11:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
MMOs require a monthly fee, cause they need to pay for their servers, GMs, and software development team. Unlike an FPS, RTS, etc, they fix bugs on a weekly basis. While a normal "pay once" game gets what? 3 or 4 updates in 1+ years? It'd be lucky to receive an update after the 1st year.

Me, I play FPS, RTS, MMOs, and whatever else. My MMO of choice if RF Online. No fees, don't even have to buy the game. They have an in-game cash shop, which requires real money to purchase items. But these items aren't required for the game. Just makes things easier. Like you're lvl 45, you can rent boost jades to use lvl 50 items. That or spend the like 2 weeks to go from 45 to 50.

RE: Wow!
By Hiawa23 on 7/16/2008 10:10:23 AM , Rating: 2
Kind of lame? Come on, I already have the LIVE Gold membership for playing online, I also have Netflix, & rarely watch the instant movies, but this is a nice service. Like I said I already have LIVE & Netflix so it seems pretty good to me. No one is buying Xbox LIVE to watch Netflix movies, it's just a nice perk if you are already a member of both services.

RE: Wow!
By kkwst2 on 7/15/2008 12:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
I would think this is geared toward people who already own have a gold account. Personally, I don't understand why you'd own a 360 without the gold account, but I guess some people only play offline games or use it mainly for a media streamer. I use it with Tversity with pretty good results, though not perfect.

It certainly adds value to people that already have Live gold and Netflix. Not sure it's going to make me get a Netflix account. I was going to get Netflix before the whole HD-DVD bail-out happened. Now I'm waiting to make the Blu-ray plunge before I subscribe.

RE: Wow!
By Moishe on 7/15/2008 12:55:02 PM , Rating: 5
I'll never understand people who pay hundreds of dollars for entertainment... and balk at $50/year or < $5/month.

This Netflix partnership is just another good reason to have the gold account.

RE: Wow!
By deeznuts on 7/15/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wow!
By afkrotch on 7/15/2008 11:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'll never understand people who pay hundreds of dollars for entertainment... and balk at $50/year or < $5/month.

PC = free
PS3 = free
Xbox Live Silver = free
Xbox Live Gold = $50 a year to just be able to play a game online. Only thing special about it.

I have an Xbox Live Gold acct. So far, doesn't seem worth $50. TV show and Movie downloads? Worthless, as I don't have a US ip address. US military members serving their country on foreign soil just get screwed. We use to be able to download them, until 2006's Spring Update (think it was 2006, don't remember).

I really don't play 360 game or PS3 games online much. I do that on my PC, as I'm not tied into some crap matchmaking service. If I want to connect to someone halfway around the world, I'll do it. I don't care if I get a 300 ms ping.

RE: Wow!
By G2cool on 7/15/2008 12:58:54 PM , Rating: 5
You could look at it as the glass being half full as well. Those people who currently have gold accounts and subscribe to netflix will get increased functionality from their hardware at no additional cost.

RE: Wow!
By jvillaro on 7/15/2008 2:51:10 PM , Rating: 3
Can you please get over this? First you can get pay less than $50 bucks for it, second $50 in a year near to nothing.

Don't get me started saying that you can play for free in the PS net or whatever...

RE: Wow!
By Aloonatic on 7/15/2008 11:52:33 AM , Rating: 2
Extra functionality is always nice. I wonder whether something similar will come to territories outside the US?

I guess that's got more to do with distribution companies than MS.

I think the words "Jet engine" will feature in the comments to this article 27.5 times (.5 = "jet" or "engine" on their own but in the same context) anyone else want to have a punt?

RE: Wow!
By elpresidente2075 on 7/15/2008 1:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
I believe Mr. Snuffleupagus will make an appearance with Batman and The Incredible Hulk somewhere in these comments, at least 4 times each.

RE: Wow!
By MrBlastman on 7/15/2008 12:01:10 PM , Rating: 1
It is a nice bonus for owning a 360, however, I think Netflix is limiting their horizons by making what seems to be an "exclusive" deal for 360 owners only.

What about all the Wii owners out there?

I've been using Netflix for 5 years and streaming movies since they came out. I see no reason why they couldn't make this available via Opera on the Wii as it is a very capable interface (not to mention the ease of use with the Wii Controller). I can understand one reason why - the DRM that Netflix uses. Currently you can only stream Netflix content on Windows boxes. Macs or any other operating system for that matter are not supported.

In addition, Netflix only supports Media Player 11. For us video snobs out there who use things such as Media Player Classic (awesome open-source app - it is NOT Microsoft Media Player) or Virtual Dub, we are out of luck. It all revolves around what I feel is the DRM (but there could be other reasons).

To me, I think this is Netflix failing to fully realize their customer base. There are plenty of other subscribers out there on other platforms. Thankfully, there really is no need to get a 360 to stream to the TV as currently I do it for free via S-Video cable from my PC + an Optical audio cable straight into my home theater.

We also have the option of purchasing Netflix's set-top box which is really nice for 100 bucks. No cables required.

I'm just dissapointed they went the exclusive route and aren't trying to fill the gap where they are weak - supporting their streaming content on non-Microsoft platforms. I'll still use them either way though.

RE: Wow!
By FITCamaro on 7/15/2008 12:14:42 PM , Rating: 3
The movie studios are more likely the source of all the DRM. They want to make sure their content is being protected.

All I know is that when I heard about this yesterday, I was ecstatic. Its a great offering.

RE: Wow!
By deeznuts on 7/15/2008 12:58:40 PM , Rating: 3
You can't even play DVD's on the wii yet. Did you ever think that Nintendo doesn't even want this feature? They're notorious for not partnering up with outside interests.

RE: Wow!
By MrBlastman on 7/15/2008 1:55:40 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really care about playing DVD's on it. :)

I have a HDMI compliant DVD changer for that.

I don't have another box hooked up to my TV that can let me access the internet though - except for my Wii.

Nintendo might not want this - good point, another way to look at it.

RE: Wow!
By deeznuts on 7/15/2008 2:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
That was kinda my point. Not that YOU want DVD to play on the Wii. But that Ninty doesn't even have the feature, which may mean, that's not an avenue they're too interested in right now.

RE: Wow!
By javiergf on 7/15/2008 12:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with you... there are plenty of things on Xbox live already to see and download but this deal will bring it to a whole new level

RE: Wow!
By Denigrate on 7/15/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wow!
By Lakku on 7/15/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wow!
By crazyblackman on 7/15/08, Rating: -1
Video and Sound Quality
By enlil242 on 7/15/2008 11:51:35 AM , Rating: 2
I'm mildly excited about this news but I haven't tried the on demand service, so, I don't really know what to expect out of this.

Does anyone know if the service will have HD content available when it's launched? Or at least have content upscaled to 720p?

And what about sound. 5.1 Dolby Digital? DTS? Or just PCM Stereo?

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By kattanna on 7/15/2008 12:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
first off you will need a good cable connection for the best quality. they recommend a 3-4Mb connection for full 480p dvd quality with 5.1 surround sound.

now with my 10Mb cable connection and displaying on my samsung 56" DLP set using the roku set top box, i have to say the picture quality isnt all that bad. some look like utter crap, but im inclined to believe its the media they used to record the show originally.

the single biggest issue i have with the service is the lack of selection for instant viewing, with even OLD TV shows that are aviable for instant viewing not all the episodes are with other via disk only, which kinda defeats the purpose IMO.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By MrBlastman on 7/15/2008 12:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't HD - only DVD quality and sorry, no 5.1 Dolby or DTS support yet. :(

PCM Stereo for now as far as I can tell. I still run it through the home theater regardless.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By homerdog on 7/15/2008 12:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
480p is fine, but I would much rather have compressed 5.1 than stereo PCM.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By omnicronx on 7/15/2008 1:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
Ya it does not really make sense how it could have stereo PCM but not dolby or DTS unless the PCM stream itself is of lower quality, as stereo PCM should have a higher bitrate than Dolby Digital 5.1, and by a large margin.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By steven975 on 7/15/2008 3:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
They are probably using Dolby Digital 2.0, MP3, or AAC as the audio codec. I can almost guarantee it is not PCM.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By enlil242 on 7/15/2008 12:22:26 PM , Rating: 2
Cool, thanks guys. I have a 5mb DSL line. I'm sure I'll be ok on that front. DVD quality is cool, just used to having DVDs upconvert thanks to my PS3. Hopefully the technology will get better as compression gets better. I feel this is the start of something huge! :)

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By intokkabire on 7/15/2008 12:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
The Xbox 360 upconverts as well. It is unknown what will occur in the Netflix case, but I wouldn't be surprised if the streams are also upconverted.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By kattanna on 7/16/2008 12:39:59 PM , Rating: 2
a gaming guildie works for netflix and stated this

Also, they way that the bitrate selector works, is that we will determine your video quality, and then stream at the maximum download speed we can (up to 2.2MB/s) to get you true 480p content. We are currently doing tests of 3600 MB/s in preparation for our HD content. So if your ISP gets you in excess of 6 MB/s down, you shouldn't notice too much.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By d29 on 7/15/2008 2:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
Our internet infrastructure is not capable of streaming HD content, well not at an affordable price at least. So not the movies are not streamed in HD or 5.1.

The only alternative would be to rent them through Xbx Live, then you can get HD and 5.1., you would have to wait a few hrs before being able to play it. Depending on your interent connection.

RE: Video and Sound Quality
By omnicronx on 7/16/2008 11:57:10 AM , Rating: 2
Our internet infrastructure is not capable of streaming HD content, well not at an affordable price at least. So not the movies are not streamed in HD or 5.1.
Now that really does not make sense does it, theres a difference between many people not having a sufficient bandwidth (i.e they are paying for the cheap plan) and Microsoft or Netflix not having the bandwidth (or the internet for that matter).

First off, a dvd quality movie with a dolby digital stream can be easily streamed, as a DD 5.1 stream can take as little as 56K per second.

Second, just by simply using an xvid HD calculator, I can see that it is possible to stream a 720p feed for around 500-800K /second including the 5.1 audio.

Third, MS already allows for downloading HD content with speeds that far surpass what is needed to stream HD content, the only difference being you are downloading the entire movie before watching it.

Moral of the story, just because there is not a big market for it yet, does not mean it is not possible. Expect for streaming HD content in the near future, because as far as I can tell, this is Microsoft business plan going forward. In fact it would not surprise me to see MS buy out netflix outright.

By homerdog on 7/15/2008 12:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
Will Netflix be giving us any 720p love?

By deeznuts on 7/15/2008 12:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
It's not even 480p love at good bitrates. What do you want 720p for?

16:10 aspect ratio support
By subhajit on 7/15/2008 12:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
I've read somewhere that XBOX 360 will support 1680X1050 over VGA. If that is true I may get one to use with my PC monitor. Is this confirmed?

RE: 16:10 aspect ratio support
By intokkabire on 7/15/2008 12:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yes this is confirmed. 16:10 will be supported. If i could access game sites at work I would find you the feature list for the fall dashboard update. I imagine you can find it on though.

Gold account for 50 bucks a year
By Elementalism on 7/15/2008 12:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
Kind of sucks imo. But 5 bucks\month isnt the end of the world either.

By FITCamaro on 7/15/2008 2:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
$45 for 13 months if you shop online.

By gigahertz20 on 7/15/2008 12:00:16 PM , Rating: 3
It might just be worth buying an X-Box 360 now with the reduced prices and what you can do with it now.

XBOX 360 is the BEST!!!
By d29 on 7/15/2008 2:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
I already own and 360 and have been subscribed to netflix for almos two years. I was very close to canceling my netflix account since i don't get time to watch alot of movies. But After this announcment, there is no way i'm cancelling.

This is a plus plus if you were already subcribed to both Xbox Live and Netflix like i am. Another reason to love the Genius' of Microsoft and Netflix.

A couple years ago i was hoping this would happen one day, and who said dreams don't come true.

360 + 10
PS3 - 20

Ripping games to HDD?
By Locutus465 on 7/15/2008 5:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one that thinks this smacks of a 320GB SKU? 120GB would be workable, but idealy I'm thinking that in order for this to work well along side downloaded movies and TV show's you'd need something bigger...

Xbox Live is not that expensive!
By fuser197 on 7/15/2008 5:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
$43.99 for a 12 month + 1 month free card + free shipping = $3.38 per month

If you have trouble coming up with that every month, maybe you should reevaluate your priorities in life.

This isn't really new-
By elgoliath on 7/16/2008 3:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
If you have Windows Media Center (or Vista Ultimate) and a 360, you can already do this. Set up your xbox as an extender and install the vmcnetflix plug in and you are good to go. I have it set up on mine and pay nothing for xbox live (silver) as it's not used and only $8.99/month for the netflix unlimited instant viewing catalog.

so it gets more ps3 and wii like
By michal1980 on 7/15/08, Rating: -1
RE: so it gets more ps3 and wii like
By homerdog on 7/15/2008 1:57:08 PM , Rating: 3
I do believe the hard drive on the 360 was used to speed up load times in Oblivion well before the PS3 was released.

RE: so it gets more ps3 and wii like
By FITCamaro on 7/15/2008 2:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
And the original Xbox did it before the 360 and PS3 even existed.

By homerdog on 7/15/2008 3:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
Right. This sounds a little different though than what was has been done in the past. It looks like the disc image is going to be ripped to the HDD, functionally eliminating the need to have the DVD in the drive. Of course, you do have to have the DVD in the drive for obvious reasons, but at least it won't be spinning. That thing is LOUD!

RE: so it gets more ps3 and wii like
By ioKain on 7/15/2008 3:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
OMG, Sony announced movie rentals and trophies! They're stealing from MS! FANBOIS UNITE!

By Homerboy on 7/15/08, Rating: -1
RE: so...
By KaiserCSS on 7/15/2008 12:22:58 PM , Rating: 3
My thoughts exactly.

When I looked at the new Xbox 360 dashboard... my first impression was "what the f*ck, are you serious?"

Why the hell does Microsoft want to imitate the Wii? In the name if all holy things, what happened... when did the 360 become so childlike and casual?

RE: so...
By intokkabire on 7/15/2008 12:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
It became childlike and casual when MS realized that the hardcore don't really care about the dashboard (they care about the games), but the casual do. The same functionality is still there, just in a 'friendlier' format.

RE: so...
By crazyblackman on 7/16/08, Rating: 0
RE: so...
By Inkjammer on 7/15/2008 2:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
It looks more like a cross between the Vista window browser and the Zune interface with a hint of Apple -vs- a full rip.

RE: so...
By Icelight on 7/15/2008 1:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget Sony! Microsoft announced a "The Eye of Judg-" -I mean- "Viva Pinata" game with cards recognized by the camera. Innovation!

RE: so...
By crazyblackman on 7/16/08, Rating: -1
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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