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All posts tagged "xbox 360"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Streaming Prime Instant Video to Xbox 360

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 01:49 PM

"You can already stream Prime Instant Videos on your Kindle Fire, your PlayStation 3, your Roku, and hundreds of other TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes. Today, we're excited to announce that the Xbox 360 joins the fold."

About time! And you can also set up a "wait list" much like the que you set up in Netflix. Too bad they don't have it set up for iPad or for Apple TV but at least you can watch it on your Mac. Personally, the more they add to Xbox 360 the happier I get since it means I'm that much closer to getting rid of Dish Network. I'm almost there actually, between this and Hulu + and Apple TV, along with the iPad apps I use I pretty much can get all I want except for sports. And for that I can always go to a bar or a friends house, sports are more fun to watch in groups anyway right?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Aging Consoles Finding New Life as Video Streaming Devices

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM

"Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is six years old. The Nintendo Wii is five years old, and so is the Sony PlayStation 3. All three are due for an overhaul (can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?), and while they're still popular gaming platforms, consoles are really starting to shine as streaming media centers."

Makes sense to me - I have an Xbox 360 and I'm using it for more video streaming that I ever could have guessed a few years ago. Of course, part of that is me living in the USA now, but if I were back in Canada I'd be streaming Netflix off it for sure. Now I also have the option to stream Hulu Plus, among others. If there were only a way to get my Xbox 360 to play ISO or MKV files...then I'd really be a happy guy! Until then, my Boxee Box performs those tasks quite well.

Do you game on your console more than use it for other reasons? Or vice-versa?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zune Music Pass Launches In Australia

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 05:40 PM

Oh, yes, fellow Aussies. You'd better believe it. The Zune Music Pass has finally launched in Australia, which means 13 million songs and unlimited music video streaming are now at your fingertips on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PC, and web. You can get started now with a free 14-day trial; then, if it's to your liking, continue your subscription for $11.99 AUD per month, or go all out with an annual pass that nets you twelve months for the price of ten. Happy listening!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hulu Plus May Be Coming To Xbox 360 On April 29

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:50 PM

"According to a legit-looking scan of the June issue of OXM, Hulu Plus will launch on Xbox 360 on April 29 -- this very Friday."

Hulu Plus is rumored to launch on the Xbox 360 on April 29. OXM also reports that Microsoft will be holding a contest to promote the launch.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Engadgets Kinect Review

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM

"And just like that, all three of the major game consoles now have some semblance of motion controls. Unlike the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Move, however, Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 opts to get rid of buttons altogether, relying on body gestures and voice commands. As the (estimated to be $500 million) ad campaign says, "you are the controller" -- for better and for worse. Read on for our full review!"

Kinect is the future of gaming according to Microsoft and I have to say it looks like it could be fun, it just needs a few more games to take advantage of it. For those of you who don't know what the Kinect is, it's controller for the Xbox 360 that can detect movement and then use that movement to control a game. Imagine playing a baseball game without a bat, or a Wii style controller, you simply line up and the Kinect camera's detect you making the swing and move your on screen avatar in the exact same way. It's been out a week now and Engadget have their full review up with video's of it in action. Is this the very early beginnings of the legendary holodeck from Star Trek, or the computer in Minority Report?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kinect Promotional Videos: Nicely Done!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

I'm getting quite excited about the Kinect - I've had one on pre-order with Best Buy since it was first announced. I'm personally more excited about being able to use it to navigate the Xbox interface than jumping up and down, but I think this time next year we'll see some impressive second-generation Kinect games. Are you going get a Kinect?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Would You Pay $20-$30 to Watch a New Movie at Home?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 11:52 AM

"Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. are in talks with the largest cable TV systems to offer films for as much as $30 per showing soon after they run in theaters. The studios are talking with In Demand, a partnership of Cox Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., Bob Benya, chief executive officer of In Demand, said in an interview. Disney is also discussing streaming films on Web- linked devices such as Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox console and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3, people with knowledge of the talks said."

So would you pay $20 or $30 to watch a brand-new, just released to a theatre movie in the comfort of your own home? I'd might pay $20, because that's about the price of two movie tickets, but $30 would be a bit too much in my opinion. I have a nice Toshiba 72" TV coupled with a set of Orb Audio 5.1 speakers, so my at home theatre experience is quite fulfilling. And, certainly, it's valuable for me to have the flexibility of watching a movie at home; no one talking behind me, no one kicking my seat, and (presumably) a pause button for bath room breaks. On the other hand, a 72" TV pales in comparison to the truly BIG SCREEN experience of a newer theatre rocking a digital projector.

Where do you weigh in on this? Would you pay $20 to watch a brand new movie at home?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Say Hello to the New Xbox 360 Slim

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 04:38 PM

"At first we were doubtful that a edgy box appearing in a little Flash ad from Italy last night could be legit, but Microsoft just got real with the new Xbox 360 Elite. It'll launch today priced for $299, while the old Elite will stick around for $249 and the Arcade will drop to $149."

While we don't cover gaming here on Digital Home Thoughts, the Xbox 360 has many digital home features, so this is worth taking notice of. I'll be ordering one as soon as they're available. Why? Noise - or, more accurately, the lack thereof. The new Xbox 360 is described as "whisper quiet" by Microsoft, and assuming that independent reviewers back up that claim, I'll snap one up. I find it extremely irritating how loud my Xbox 360 Elite is - and one of the reasons I bought it was that I'd heard the newer HDMI models were quieter than the first-generation Xbox 360's...which was absolutely not the case. Other perks on the new 360 include a 250 GB hard drive, 802.11n WiFi, and a smaller physical size - which, surprisingly, they were still able to achieve with an integrated power supply a power brick that's smaller than the current version.

Would I liked to have seen a version with Blu-ray? Yes, absolutely - but I can understand Microsoft's reluctance to add to the cost - they've been able to add all this new functionality into the product while keeping the $299 price point the same. That's impressive, and adding a Blu-ray drive would drive up the cost - and put money into the pocket of Sony, their main rival in the console wars. I'm particularly excited about Kinect, the product formerly known as Natal - though I find it curious Microsoft didn't mention the price point of it.

Engadget also has their unboxing and first thoughts on the new console. A few snaps from the video after the break; Engadget also has a close-up of the back. Read more...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Has J Allard Left Microsoft?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 10:30 AM

"Over the past month or so, I've been asking around about Allard's whereabouts. One of my sources who has been a pretty reliable tipster in the past told me that Allard is on sabbatical and is unlikely to return to Microsoft. His name is still in the Global Address Book inside Microsoft, I hear, and his bio page is still unaltered on the Microsoft Corporate Web site, where he still is listed as Chief Experience Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Entertainment and Devices Division."

The rumour mill is saying that J Allard has left Microsoft - and possibly over the fate of the now-dead Courier project. If it's true that he left Microsoft, it bodes ill for the company. Products are rarely truly created by one person, but teams and divisions of people can certainly be inspired by one person. Microsoft isn't typically known for having very creative, boundary-pushing people working for them, but J Allard was both of those. If he's really gone, I truly wonder what the devices and entertainment division - which includes Windows Phone, Xbox, and Zune - is going to do.

[Silly side note: my one and only J Allard moment was when I walked past him going into a bathroom at the Microsoft campus, inside the old Zune team building...and he happened to have a broken arm in a cast at the time. Memories, meeeemories...]

Friday, March 19, 2010

Xbox 360 To Allow USB Storage In Spring Update

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:00 AM

"Are we gazing onto the cusp of a new horizon, one where our Xbox 360 storage needs aren't shackled to overpriced proprietary hard drives? Probably not quite. Our best friends at Joystiq have managed to obtain documents (corroborated with multiple sources) showing that the folks in Redmond are mulling over an option to enable USB mass storage support for its game machine."

It appears that the next update for the Xbox 360 will enable you use USB Storage with your Xbox 360. Do I hear cries of joy from the gaming community at the thought of being able to plug in a 500Gb USB drive for storing their games and downloads? Well this is where you will be disappointed. Microsoft in their infinite wisdom have set a max limit of 16Gb on the USB device you use. From what I can see, this is intended to replace the memory cards rather than allow you to use your own disk drives. Hopefully Microsoft will get wise and change this at some point, but for now it looks like we still have to pay for the usual overpriced proprietary ones instead.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rob Enderle Says Microsoft Should Never Have Built the Xbox

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 04:00 PM

"There is no argument that the Xbox 360 is a sound game system, and it isn't uncommon for a company struggling with its primary product to broaden their product portfolio and look to other areas for growth. The problem is that the opportunity cost is generally greater than the benefit, and that is the case here. As PRJ points out, PC gaming isn't what it should be, but that was a cost of doing the Xbox 360, so Microsoft effectively sacrificed a product that generates billions to assure the success of a product that makes millions."

I have to think that this is one of those articles that Rob Enderle writes to be controversial and get page hits - because it boggles the mind that he believes someone buying an Xbox 360 would have instead happily bought a computer running Windows instead. Enderle's basic point is that the Xbox 360 captured profits that should have gone to Windows, which he pegs at $200 million to $600 million per month. The stunning lack of logic in this line of thinking is almost hard to describe.

When the first Xbox came out (2001), a capable gaming PC was probably in the $1500 range (at the low end), easily 3x more than what the Xbox would have cost back then. So if you had $500 to spend and you wanted to play games on your TV, what were you going to buy? An Xbox or a gaming PC? Enderle talks about things Microsoft could have done to improve gaming on a Windows PC - virtual machines, etc. - but ignores the single most important factor in playing games: graphics processing. There's absolutely, positively nothing that Microsoft could do with software to magically enable fast hardware 3D acceleration. What do you think of Enderle's arguments?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Engadget Sees Microsoft's MediaRoom 2.0 In Action

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:00 PM

"Hearing about using an Xbox 360 as set top box for IPTV providers like AT&T's U-Verse is one thing, but seeing it in action is another. As you can see from the video after the jump, the experience is very fluid and isn't what we'd describe as laggy even in the slightest bit."

One of the announcements made at CES 2010 was that AT&T's IPTV product, U-Verse, would be available on the Xbox 360 allowing you to use the Xbox 360 as a set-top box instead. At the time there was no demo of the Xbox playing U-Verse content, just an announcement that it would be available later in the year. Engadget have managed to get a demonstration of U-Verse on the Xbox 360 via Mediaroom, and have published a short video of it in action. It looks quite smooth and there doesn't seem to be any lag, but I would expect that of a demonstration. For those that don't know about Microsoft Mediaroom, it is a software platform that Microsoft licences to TV and video service providers so they can deliver TV and video services along with other content to TVs, PCs and mobile devices anywhere. With other providers such as the BBC and Sky in the UK pushing their content via the Xbox and the Wii, then wecan expect to see consoles becoming more of an all-round entertainment device than just a gaming console.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Zune Video Marketplace and Other New Features Coming to Xbox 360's Everywhere on November 17th

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 05:00 PM

"The topic du jour was all about TV, but this morning at NewTeeVee Live - an industry conference that explores the future of television - Xbox LIVE general manager Marc Whitten confirmed the next wave of social entertainment is coming to Xbox LIVE on November 17. Starting next week, Facebook, Twitter, and instant on HD video from Zune will be available on Xbox 360 consoles, transforming Xbox LIVE into the largest social network connected to the TV with exclusive features custom-designed for the living room."

November 17th is the big day when Zune comes to the Xbox 360! Engadget has some great videos that they've disabled embedding on, so you'll have to go over to their site to see them. One of the interesting features is the ability to watch a movie in a shared virtual environment - meaning you can have a "movie party" and have several online friends watch the same movie at the same time, and you can emote certain things - and talk - while the movie is going on. I don't know how often I'd want to do that - probably never - but it's a neat use of technology to bridge distances between friends. The videos in the Zune video marketplace are 1080p, and support "instant on" streaming. Myself, I'm most curious to see what will happen to the selection of movies - it's always been pretty poor in Canada, and we've never had TV shows for download. If you want to get great online video in Canada, iTunes is pretty much the only game. I hope this Xbox update changes that!

Turtle Beach Ear Force X4 Wireless Xbox 360 Gaming Headset

Posted by Matthew Shanks in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

Product Category: Wireless Headsets / Headphones
Manufacturer: Turtle Beach
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $149 USD
System Requirements: Compatible with the Xbox 360 and home theater systems.
Specifications: 50mm diameter speakers, 270g, >20 hours battery life with 2 AAA batteries.


  • Very lightweight and comfortable for long periods of use;
  • High build quality, good industrial design to match the Xbox 360;
  • Microphone works seamlessly with the headphones;
  • Excellent recreation of Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.


  • Fairly expensive;
  • Chat connector still wired to controller;
  • Muddy bass during loud scenes with deep bass;
  • Line of sight required for IR transmitter;
  • No low battery indicator, microphone volume suffers with low battery before speaker sound loses definition.

Summary: The Turtle Beach Ear Force X4 Wireless Xbox 360 Gaming Headset is a well thought out product that caters to Xbox 360 gamers, while still allowing home theater enthusiasts an outlet to listen to music or movies wirelessly and without disturbing others in their homes. It provides excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and its integrated microphone and chat features allow for complete immersion during online chatting or competitive multiplayer games. While it could use some improvements, it remains a piece of hardware that I continue to enjoy using in my home theater. Read more...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Xbox 360 System Update

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The team released a system update (aka Dash update) to all Xbox Live members. Over the next few hours - or the next time you sign into Xbox LIVE after that - you’ll receive a prompt to accept this mandatory update. If you participated in our Preview Program, you already have the update and will not be prompted. Hit for a list of what the update includes. A couple of things to point out: While you can browse and purchase Avatar items and full Xbox 360 games in the console with this update, the ability to add these items your Xbox 360 download queue from will be available this Thursday. Xbox LIVE integration with Twitter, Facebook and Last.FM will be available later this year. Zune Video Marketplace will also ship later this fall when it will replace the current Video Marketplace. This update will be rolled out to all Xbox LIVE members around the world over the space of a few hours, so you may not get prompted for the update immediately. Thanks for your patience and have fun."

I have not loaded this up yet, but I'm betting many of you have. So, share your thoughts on what you think in the comments.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Microsoft Shows Off Loads of Cool Stuff at E3

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:00 AM

"You knew something was up when Microsoft kicked off (as opposed to wrapping up) with two of the most celebrated musicians in rock history. The message? "Hey, it's The Beatles!" The subtext? "Hey Sony and Nintendo, we ain't messin' around." Classy, and not a little intimidating. Next? A battery of trailers and actual game demonstrations, including pretty tasty announcements for stuff like Epic's first Xbox Live Arcade game, Shadow Complex, Valve's zombie-blender sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, and a brand new standalone Halo game, Halo: Reach."

While we don't cover games here on Digital Home Thoughts, Microsoft's doing some interesting things in the home entertainment space with the Xbox 360 that are worth paying attention to - check out the PC World article for the scoop.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Zune Video Service Coming to Xbox 360 in 18 Countries

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 12:01 PM

There were some rumblings about this last week, but today at E3 Microsoft has confirmed the details: Xbox owners will be able to access all the video content on the Zune Marketplace. Playback is enhanced by what Microsoft is calling "Smooth Streaming" - video playback starts very quickly at a low bit-rate, then ramps up in bit-rate for maximum quality. This means that, assuming you have a decently fast Internet connection, there shouldn't be much in the way of "Please Wait: Buffering" messages. The video pushed down the pipe are glorious 1080p, and will have 5.1 surround sound. I haven't ordered many movies off the Xbox Marketplace, but aren't they all in 720p? If so, this is a big jump in quality - nice! There's also going to be enhanced search functionality to make finding things easier - that's a good thing, because the Xbox Marketplace was a very manual affair, and now that the Zune Marketplace is going to be offering scads more content, being able to find it easily is important. Read more...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Xbox 360 Sales Hit the 30 Million Mark

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 08:34 AM

"The number was reached after what MS is calling "the biggest year" in Xbox history - 2008 - which saw console growth swell up 28 percent. The Xbox Live community has grown to more than 20 million active members, it says, making it "the world's largest global entertainment network", putting the online service in more homes than "any satellite television provider". Before the end of the year, the number of Xbox Live members will surpass the number of subscribers to the largest cable provider, the company says."

There's no doubting that the Xbox 360 is one of Microsoft's most successful products in a market that was previously thought of as being "un-crackable" because the PS/2 had it all locked up. Then along came Microsoft, and Nintendo, and the market turned into a three-way death match. It's all good for consumers, giving us the choice of whichever technology suits us best. I'm still rocking my original Xbox 360 from November 2005 (man, that seems old!), with nary a red ring of death in sight. I sometimes wish it would die so I could get one of the newer, quieter, HDMI-based units - but it keeps on kicking.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Weekend Project: Streaming Netflix On Your Xbox 360

Posted by Tim Williamson in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 06:00 AM

"Netflix subscribers, if you've got an Xbox 360 and a Windows Vista PC, you don't have to shell out $99 for Roku's Netflix Player box to get your Watch Instantly library on your TV screen—you already have everything you need. Using the free Windows Media Center plug-in, vmcNetflix, you can turn your Xbox 360 into a Netflix Watch Instantly box. Here's how."

So a couple weeks ago we posted a link to a review of the $100 Roku Netflix Player, but this week we bring you a way to stream Netflix movies for free on your Xbox 360+Windows Vista PC! Lifehacker has posted detailed instructions for setting up the vmcNetFlix plugin on Vista and how to get going in a few minutes. Keep in mind this is beta software, so it may be a little buggy, plus there's a very good chance it violates the Netflix terms of use (since it downloads the video to your PC), but if you're feeling like a daredevil, willing to take a risk, try it out and let us know how it works!

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