Today saw the launch of the long-awaited New Xbox Experience on the Xbox 360. The Xbox Live service now includes the ability to stream content from Netflix.
The New Xbox Experience is an overhaul of the existing Xbox Live online service available to all Xbox 360 owners with an Internet connection. And Web video is now part of the deal.
Xbox 360 owners can now stream any of 12,000 movies and television episodes through their console direct to their TV. And it’s all free for existing Netflix subscribers and Xbox Live Gold members.
Netflix On Xbox 360
The deal between Microsoft and Netflix was announced back in July at the E3 Media and Business Summit. But the service was delayed until the New Xbox Experience was launched on Nov. 19.
This deal is just one of a number made by Netflix in recent months which is seeing its library of streaming content becoming available on a huge range of products.
Netflix Growing In Stature
Netflix is rapidly becoming one of the most important player in the streaming video business, and has existing deals already in place with Roku and LG. The Xbox 360 is now the third TV-connected living room device with the ability to stream Netflix content.
High Definition Video
Netflix is also now offering high-definition movies as part of its online service, following in the footsteps of VUDU. There are initially only 300 HD choices available but the range will increase massively over time.
Sony Show Bitterness
There is one omission to content available on Xbox 360 however, with Sony decided to make any movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment unplayable on the Playstation 3’s rival console.
The Sony movies will still be watchable on PCs, Macs, and other Netfix enabled set-top boxes but Sony seems to have taken a rather obvious and snide decision to prevent the competition from benefiting from its intellectual property.
There also seems to be some problems with getting the Netflix ‘Watch Now’ feature to work on the Xbox 360, but that’s probably just teething problems that will be fixed sooner rather than later.
One issue that is here to stay is the ever-present one of territorial rights control. With DVDs and TV shows region locked, so is Netflix, so any Xbox 360 owner outside of the U.S. is out of luck. So for me in the U.K., the New Xbox Experience just means new reasons to be disappointed.