Advanced Television

Xbox 360 update brings VoD, voice control, social apps

December 5, 2011

Microsoft has announced a major update for Xbox 360 consoles. It has signed up 40 media firms to provide both live and on-demand movie and TV services for the console.

The update also lets people control their TVs by talking into the Kinect motion-control.

The most noticeable change made by the update will be to swap the Xbox’s familiar tabbed interface for the so-called Metro look that is based around “tiles”. This uses square and oblong tiles that sit under different menu headings which lump together media and content relevant to that category. For instance, tiles under the “social” menu give access to Twitter, Facebook and Kinect video calls.

As well as live TV programmes, other on-demand services will be made available via tiles under the “Apps” menu. Only Gold members of Xbox Live will be able to access them.

About 35 million of the 57 million Xbox consoles around the world are connected to Xbox Live.

From December 6th in the UK, Amazon’s movie streaming service Lovefilm will be available through the Xbox. Later in the month it will be joined by other on-demand services including 4OD, Blinkbox and Sony’s Crackle. The iPlayer will be available via an Xbox Live app from early 2012.

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