Xbox 360 experience is a great improvement, Sony fumbles

  • November 20th, 2008

Microsoft deserves a pat on the back for pushing out an excellent update to the XBox experience last night. The svelte update was surprisingly quick – taking no more than a few minutes to complete. Watching the opening welcome screen reaffirmed my belief that Xbox team should really give more input concerning the OS side of Microsoft.

Netflix streaming sans PC

Not too long ago, Netflix streaming was limited to PC’s. I shrugged that feature of Netflix off considering a) the movie selection was mediocre at best, and b) I didn’t feel it was worth firing up VMware Fusion or Boot Camp. A few weeks ago, the clouds opened and instant streaming was made available to Mac users (Silverlight required). Finally. Shortly thereafter, the Xbox update rolls through and you no longer need a computer to stream, all you need is your game console.

The integration comes by way of a Netflix "game" download. Once installed, you associate your Xbox with your Netflix account using a unique code submitted to Netflix activation. Once completed, any movies in your Watch Instantly queue are displayed on your television. I was surprised at how quickly movies loaded and began playing. I can’t wait for HD content.

Clouds overhead

Those clouds that cleared when Netflix provided streaming support for both PC & Mac users started rolling back in after the Xbox update. Sony had to rain on the parade. Chalk it up to the rivalry between the PS3 and Xbox, politics, or simple playground bitterness. Sony knew Netflix streaming support for the Xbox was on the way, why wait until after the rollout to request Sony / Columbia Pictures be unavailable on the Xbox? Sony, until you fix your slow as molasses content delivery network, support third party services directly on the console, and fix your sad browser, your living room supremacy will struggle to see the light of day.

Noted

Microsoft, please include a disk properties info panel so we know how much HDD space we’re going to sacrifice installing a game to disk. Kevin found out Call of Duty, World at War required roughly 5 GB. Calculating disk usage now means checking your HDD stats before and immediately after a install.

If you are an existing Xbox user – yay or nay to the current update? If you are not an existing Xbox owner, are you getting the itch to drop some coin a new system? If you are an existing Netflix customer, are you looking at an Xbox if you don’t already have one?