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Summary:

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has never been solely about games — it’s been a way for Microsoft to move beyond the PC and into the living room to become a digital entertainment hub. During its E3 press conference today, Microsoft got a whole lot closer to that […]

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has never been solely about games — it’s been a way for Microsoft to move beyond the PC and into the living room to become a digital entertainment hub. During its E3 press conference today, Microsoft got a whole lot closer to that goal with the addition of a host of new features for Xbox Live including Twitter and Facebook integration, social viewing and instantly watchable 1080p HD movies. We watched the conference’s live-stream and grabbed these choice nuggets:

Xbox Live users will soon be able to connect to their Twitter accounts to post updates and check in on their Tweet stream through their televisions. The Facebook integration goes a bit further: You can find Facebook friends who are also Xbox Live members, share photos and status updates, and post screenshots of games to your Facebook accounts.

The social activity won’t end there — the Xbox Live Party lets you watch content with your friends online. From the brief demo, it looks like you and your friends’ avatars will meet up in a virtual theater to watch videos on a simulated screen.

And watching videos will get a whole lot better through the service. Microsoft is beefing up its Netflix integration, allowing users to browse the Watch Instantly queue directly from the TV, as well as play movies instantly without adding them to the queue at all. As we reported the other day, BSkyB is also integrating its programming to allow U.K. and Ireland members to watch live television from the network through the Xbox. And we knew the Zune Marketplace was coming to Xbox, but today Microsoft announced that HD video will be offered at full 1080p through it and users can watch instantly, with no downloads and no delays.

Don’t want to watch a video? Then you can listen to music, as Xbox Live will add millions of songs from Last.fm direct to your TV.

All of these features are due to hit Xbox Live this fall.

Xbox also showed off its “Project Natal,” which is a future hardware add-on that abandons the controller entirely and instead uses body gestures to control games and navigate through menus. There was no release date for that tech, though.

Today’s moves touch on many of the trends we follow here at NTV: social TV, on-demand video, and gesture controls, and with Xbox Live’s 20 million users, it pushes all of them more into the mainstream.

  1. How about Project Natal Microsofts New Gesturing interface for the Xbox 360 this has huge implications for NewteeVee and Johnny lee the guy who did the head tracking demos with the Wii has been helping Microsoft out .

    http://procrastineering.blogspot.com/2009/06/project-natal.html

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  2. [...] second was Microsoft’s announcement at E3 (Massive videogame convention here in L.A.) that XBox Live would soon contain social networking capability, e.g. the ability to use Twitter and Facebook directly from the XBox itself. You can sign in with [...]

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  3. [...] press conference was certainly lighter on video-related news than Microsoft’s was yesterday, where the Redmond giant unveiled tighter integration with Netflix along with streaming 1080p [...]

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  4. [...] which added Netflix streaming to its console last year, is throwing in social features that let you watch video with friends online (on your TV) as well as 1080p streaming, and Sony added 16 content partners and mobile [...]

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  5. [...] pass it by, Microsoft is also getting into motion control in a big way. The company unveiled its “Project Natal” for its Xbox 360 console at E3 this year. The technology is still in the development stage, but [...]

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  6. [...] Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are ahead in terms of video delivery. Microsoft in particular announced a slew of new video features for its game console at E3 this year. The Xbox 360 will be getting 1080p movie streaming, social [...]

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  7. [...] the HD Theater Player, too, though it would be nice to see support for more online photo sources, like Facebook, for one. My photos — both from Kodak Gallery and Flickr — looked great on my [...]

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  8. [...] meanwhile, has been active on the video front, and recently announced 1080p instant-playing videos along with social features and better Netflix integration at [...]

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  9. [...] meanwhile, has been active on the video front, and recently announced 1080p instant-playing videos along with social features and better Netflix integration at E3. [...]

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