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Xbox Gets More Content

5 Dec, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Xbox 360 owners will have access to more content and an updated user interface thanks to a series of updates starting Dec. 6, Microsoft announced.

The updates will allow owners of the Kinect motion- and voice-controller for Xbox to search for games, movies, TV shows and music using voice commands. The updates will also bring ESPN to Xbox Live in the United States and Netflix to Canadian users (the service was previously available in the United States), with Hulu Plus, MSNBC’s Today, Crackle, TMZ, Verizon FiOS TV, Vevo, iHeartRadio, Vudu, CinemaNow, HBO Go and Dailymotion applications for U.S. users to follow.

“A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place — your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever.”

Pay-TV platform Epix also is coming to Xbox Dec. 6, offering access to more than 3,000 movies, including Rango, Iron Man 2 and True Grit, among others.

Epix, which offers subscription video-on-demand content online and cable via myriad consumer electronics devices, is co-owned by Lionsgate, Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

“By bringing Epix to the Xbox Live service and adding the magic of Kinect, we are transforming the way consumers experience entertainment,” Pete Thompson, GM of Xbox Live, said in a statement.

The updates will also give MLB.TV subscribers access to live, regular season major League Baseball games, and Vudu’s library will include titles featuring Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound.

James McQuivey of Forrester Research wrote in a research note that Xbox competitors — Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii — need to take notice of what Microsoft is doing with the updates.

“This is now the benchmark against which all other living room initiatives should be compared,” McQuivey wrote. “… With more than 57 million people worldwide already sitting on a box that’s about to be upgraded for free, Microsoft has not only built the right experience, it has ensured that it will spread quickly and with devastating effect.”

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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