November 18, 2008 by John R. Quain
NXE vs Apple TV
Compared to Apple TV, the Xbox 360 movie experience is superior for several reasons. HD videos on the game console can top out at 1080i, versus Apple’s current 720p limitation. Furthermore, the Apple TV has been viewed—and rightly so—as merely an iTunes extender. Its walled garden approach means the machine will not stream common video formats such as DivX, AVI, and WMV over a network connection, for example. And a non-game playing 40 GB Apple TV is $230 versus $299 for the 60 GB Xbox 360 (with its ability to play all those glorious shooter titles).
Of course, there are other major contenders in the race to become the ultimate entertainment hub, namely Sony. The PlayStation 3 plays Blu-ray discs for the full HD movie experience, and the company is assiduously working on its own virtual social and gaming environment called PlayStation Home. Home acts a lot like Second Life, with more realistic avatars and environs to wander around in, but it remains in beta at this time with no official launch date announced. Furthermore, Home doesn’t represent a major interface upgrade; it’s strictly for online social climbers.
Sony has yet to join the Netflix-ready parade. But with Blu-ray players from Samsung and LG already offering the service, and TiVo poised to include Netflix downloads next month, one wonders how long the company can hold out.
Naturally, it remains to be seen how the Netflix service will hold up when millions of Xbox 360 owners get the NXE software upgrade later this week. Nevertheless, it presents another major point for those who argue that DVDs and eventually Blu-ray discs will go the way of the compact disc.
Click here to view features of the NXE.
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