That Xbox 360 was a smart purchase after all. Not only does it play some killer games, but it now has even more entertainment options than before. Microsoft just announced plans to roll out a slew of TV entertainment on Xbox LIVE.
Of course, being able to access other services through a gaming console is really nothing new. It’s not even new to Xbox users. That said, the Xbox 360 will get to stake claim on a few firsts, including the BBC and LOVEFiLM in the UK, as well as Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand service, Verizon FiOS and HBO GO in the U.S., and much more.
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If you have the Kinect accessory, you can use it to flip through all of the new features, without an actual remote. If waving your hands is too much of a chore, the option will also offer voice search with Bing on Xbox.
Microsoft also promises enhanced social features, allowing users to share recommendations, as well as show the Xbox LIVE community what games you’re playing, what movies you’re watching, and what music you’re listening to. It can even invite them to join in. There’s also integration with Facebook, meaning you can post from Xbox LIVE directly to your Facebook wall.
Other content options will include live and on-demand sports from ESPN in the U.S., UFC in the U.S. and Canada, GolTV in Spain, and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports in Canada. ESPN will offer thousands of live events and video highlights, with enhanced personalization features, split-screen viewing and an updated interface content guide. That UFC option has a few highlights as well, including live pre-event videos, a catalog of on-demand video, an Interactive Fight Card, and pay-per-view events in HD.
Besides TV and sports, the Xbox will also offer a variety of Web video, news and music options, including AlloCiné, Dailymotion, iHeartRadio, MSN with MSNBC.com, The Today Show, TMZ, VEVO and YouTube.
By the time the holiday shopping season rolls around, Xbox LIVE will have total of 50 partners, in more than 20 countries. A few of the console’s current partners include AT&T, Netflix and Hulu Plus, in the U.S.
“Today’s announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.”
Of course, such services may require an Xbox LIVE Gold membership and/or other subscriptions/fees. That Kinect functionality also varies by feature, provider and region. For a peek at how the Xbox TV experience, check out the images in our slideshow.