Xbox 360

Dec 11 2012

News - Xbox 360 Gains 10 New Apps, 40 More by Spring 2013

Microsoft has announced the arrival of 10 new entertainment and content apps for the Xbox 360 as part of their plan to take over the living room via the game console. The new SkyDrive app, which serves up photos and videos stored on a user's SkyDrive account, is the only app that will be available across all regions. The other nine apps, which include access to content providers such as Maxim, VEVO, CinemaNow, and CNET, are either launching in or expanding into specific territories. Today's new apps are just beginning, as Microsoft has also announced that they have another 40 apps on tap for early 2013 that will add content from providers such as PBS, Flixster, CW, and Slacker Radio. To date, no media streamer has offered the breadth of providers and feeds that Roku has been able to put together, but it would seem that Microsoft has plans to change things.

The Xbox 360 is being overrun by apps, following the model established by Windows 8and Windows Phone. Today, Microsoft announced 10 new apps. And over 40 more are coming in early 2013.

Supersite for Windows

Nov 22 2012

News - Xbox TV coming from Microsoft Holidays 2013

Running a compressed version of Windows 8, Microsoft has a few different sku's coming in 2013 based on the news release. One of them will be called Xbox TV and it is going to be a set-top box. It will be an always on box. Based off the news it may be around the same as we are seeing Ceton working on with the Echo. It will be an interesting story to follow, maybe some more will be reviled during CES.

 

Microsoft's Xbox set-top box work is said to be part of a broader effort to ensure its core architecture for the next-generation Xbox is scalable enough to be put together to run on a number of devices

The Verge

Sep 19 2012

News - Microsoft Releases Kinect Nat Geo TV and Kinect Sesame Street, Hires Former CBS President for Original Xbox Video Content

 
Kinect Sesame Street and Nancy Tellem

Microsoft has been busy over the last year revamping the Xbox 360 interface to make way for the Xbox Live TV initiative that has seen dozens of new streaming media services added to the Xbox dashboard. Even as Microsoft was looking to use a Metro-flavored UI to turn the Xbox into the center of living room entertainment, Microsoft was starting to look forward to the future of television on the Xbox. Today, two aspects of that future vision took big steps forward.

First up, we have the move toward interactive television. Back in October, Micorosft held a press conference to take the wraps off a project intended to change the nature of watching television on the Xbox 360 by showing off versions of Sesame Street and National Geographic that children could not only watch, but interact with through the use of Kinect. It took 11 months, but Kinect Sesame Street and Kinect Nat Geo TV finally launched today for $29.99 each. In addition to the episodes and clips that come on the disc, you receive a one year Season Pass for new episodes and clips.

I have to say though, the best part about the game was living as an animal. Each video has a set of mini-games (which can be selected and all played from the main menu) where you become the animal and have to perform general survival tasks. Kinect does a good job here not going nuts when someone walks behind you (as in many other Kinect games) and keeping your animal facade on. Whether it be bears, owls, wolves, rams, panthers or wolverines, your head and arms become that of the animal. 

Wired

The other aspect of Microsoft plans that moved forward today was the company's ambition to begin producing original video content for Xbox Live. The last we had heard of the project, Microsoft was supposedly talking up some former NBC executives, but Microsoft must have realized that anyone who helped steer that ship aground was probably not a good bet, so instead the company has hired Nancy Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group. As the newly christened Entertainment and Digital Media president, Tellem has been charged with overseeing the launch of a production studio in Los Angeles to focus on creating content for the Xbox.

"I look forward to building a studio team that embraces the challenges of creating true interactive content that the Xbox platform supports and to work with talent to create content that will change the way entertainment content is experienced and delivered," Tellem said in the press release.

"We are embarking on a new chapter with the creation of a studio dedicated to making original interactive and linear content, and I'm excited to have Nancy leading this effort," Microsoft corporate VP Phil Spencer also added.

Shacknews

Aug 26 2012

News - Netflix Adds People Search to Xbox 360 App

Netflix LogoOne of the most interesting aspects of watching a streaming service provider like Netflix roll its apps out across the various Smart TV platforms and OTT boxes on the market is watching how different devices and platforms receive access to different features at different times. In fact, sometimes a feature rolls out to a new platform that I wasn't even aware existed. Such was the case when Netflix announced that People Search had been added to the Netflix app on the Xbox 360. People Search allows a user to search by an actor or director and view related films and TV shows. According to the post on the Netflix blog, the feature was already available on the PS3 and the Netflix website where I had probably used it at one point or another without really noticing that it was anything special.

Search is an important part of the Netflix experience and we are working hard to make it better. People Search is an example of that. When entering text in the search box using the controller or Kinect, Netflix on Xbox now not only presents relevant TV shows and movies, but also actors and directors.

Netflix Blog

Jul 18 2012

News - Microsoft Updates My Xbox Live for iPad, Control Xbox 360 from Any iOS device

Microsoft has updated their My Xbox Live app for iOS, bringing it up version 1.6 and adding Quickplay support for controlling an Xbox 360 remotely to the iPad. The previous update to the iOS app had enabled Quickplay for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but with this update it is now possible to control an Xbox from any iOS device. The Quickplay tab offers a button for connecting to the Xbox and your six most recent games or apps as starting options. In the lower right hand corner is touch-point for bringing up a couple of quick select options, including a controller icon that switches over to an on-screen remote control interface. There is also a new Discover tab that provides a space for Microsoft to highlight new and featured content. At least for Apple device owners, the My Xbox Live app provides a basic example of the kinds of control options that Xbox SmartGlass should offer when it becomes available later this year. Hopefully SmartGlass will also bring along the one bit of functionality that I think My Xbox Live needs to be useful: the ability to power on the Xbox 360 remotely.

To get started, you’ll first need to enable the Xbox Companion feature on your console. Head to Settings -> System -> Console Settings -> Xbox Companion to do so. Next, you will need to snag the app from App Store and once installed, simply sign in with the same Windows Live account that is linked to your Xbox and you’re set. 

TechSpot

Apr 07 2012

News - Comcast Subscribers to Gain Access to HBO Go on Xbox 360

Comcast Likes HBO Go

Last week, Microsoft unveiled three new video apps for the Xbox 360, including the highly anticipated Comcast XFINITY and HBO Go apps. Unfortunately, it turned out that these two particular apps would end up being mutually exclusive installations as the XFINITY app would only work for Comcast subscribers and the HBO Go app would not work for Time Warner and, you guessed it, Comcast subscribers. Some HBO content was available through the XFINITY app, but not nearly as much as HBO makes available directly. Xbox 360-toting Comcast subscribers need not fret however. Comcast and HBO have reached an agreement and Comcast is now stating that it expects to be able to flip the switch for HBO Go on the Xbox 360 early next week. Unfortunately, there is still no word on a similar agreement for Time Warner subscribers. 

Now, according to a post on Comcast's official blog, that's about to change. Starting "early next week," subscribers will be able to access HBO content directly through its app, rather than being limited to what's available through the current Xfinity On Demand service. 

The Verge

Jan 21 2012

News - Microsoft Working on Fix for Xbox 360 Video Colorspace Issues

Major Nelson

The Xbox 360's fall update brought a whole slew of new video playback options, but as it turns out the update also brought with it a nasty bug affecting the system's RGB colorspace output during video playback. The result was a washed-out image and more visible compression artifacts. It took awhile, but Microsoft is finally acknowledging the issue and has reported via Major Nelson that they are working on a fix. There is no ETA on the fix beyond "soon", though the fact they are at least admitting there is an issue is a move in a right direction. I guess we can count ourselves lucky that Major Nelson is listening.

Xbox's Major Nelson tweeted yesterday that he's heard the public outcry -- or maybe he saw Eurogamer's in-depth demonstration of the new dash's short-range RGB levels -- and he says the team is working on a solution.

Joystiq

Jan 14 2012

News - Rumor: Microsoft Planning Kinect-based Settop Box

Join me, friends, as we take a little stroll down rumor lane. Paul Thurrott of the Supersite for Windows and Windows Weekly fame has related a rumor that Microsoft may be working on a Kinect-based settop box. It would essentially be an Xbox minus the pesky video games, retooled specifically for media streaming. The inclusion of Kinect would allow for voice and gesture control, and presumably leave the door open for living room Skype applications. Thurrott had dropped a similar rumor about an Xbox-based media streamer a few months ago on an episode of Windows Weekly that proved fruitless and readily admits that this current rumor comes from unreliable sources, which means that our stroll down rumor lane is going a bit farther afield than I usually feel comfortable with, but I thought I would pass it along simply because it makes sense and fits with a tidbit I recently received from a completely untested source. Kinect and Xbox have been Microsoft's most popular consumer brands in years and stripping the Xbox of its video game processing capabilities would still leave a very capable media streamer, assuming Microsoft can reduce costs enough to get the price down to a palatable range. Whether or not the product ever comes to fruition, it seems almost certain that Microsoft has at least considered the possibility.

Kinect TV

Speaking of rumors concerning Microsoft's entertainment plans, a number of less reliable sources are claiming that the software giant will introduce a Kinect-based set-top box in late 2012 that will stream Internet-based multimedia, offer motion and voice control, and cost less than $200. It's like an Xbox + Kinect minus the video game stuff, I guess, and is variously called the "Kinect HD," "Live Xbox," or "Kinect Box," depending on who you ask.

Supersite for Windows

Jan 13 2012

News - Microsoft Reportedly Backing Away from Xbox 360 Subscription TV Service

Rumors started floating before E3 last year that Microsoft was looking into offering a subscription TV service that would mix some Netflix-style content streaming with more traditional live and network TV content. Since then, Microsoft has gone on to establish the Xbox as a streaming media apps platform, and unfortunately that is also as far as Microsoft is going to get with the Xbox 360 right now. Microsoft has reportedly given up trying to offer its own TV/streaming service because the licensing costs would have been too high. We will continue to see new content via provider apps and services, but not through an app with Microsoft's name on it. 

After talking to programming partners over the last year, Microsoft recently caught a glimpse of what it would cost to roll out its service and it turns out the addition of current shows and live networks put costs over the top.

Cable companies and program makers are likely offering their content for sky-high prices to either get a huge cut of the pie, or thwart potential Web partners all together in an effort to stay relevant.

Dailytech

Jan 05 2012

News - Microsoft Secures Patent for Game Console DVRs

The inclusion of the Media Center Extender technology in the Xbox 360 has certainly been a boon for WMC fans and was an early indication that Microsoft had bigger plans for the Xbox 360 than just gaming. Unfortunately, the whole "your computer must be on, be running Windows Media Center, be properly configured to talk to your Xbox, and contain a TV tuner card (right in the middle of the transition from NTCS to ATSC)" bit was probably asking too much of most consumers. The rest of us just built a new HTPC. With the Xbox 360 becoming ever more media-focused, it seems almost impossible that Microsoft won't eventually offer DVR functionality, if not for the 360 than its successor. When that time comes, Microsoft will have a patent to cover the functionality, and hopefully some bigger hard drives. Would you be okay with the Xbox kicking your TiVo to the curb?

Xbox Rabbit Ears

The patent identifies it as an application, similar to the apps that have added pre-selected TV content already. However, it seems more likely that this feature would be included in the next iteration of the hardware. 

Shacknews

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