The Netflix (s NFLX) hits just keep on comin’. We’ve known for a while that the movie rental company was going to make its streaming service available to Xbox 360 users. But what we didn’t know is that it was going to offer movies in HD. Hot diggety, the battle for your TV just got wayyyy more exciting.
Gadget sites Gizmodo and Engadget got a preview of the can’t-come-soon-enough (it’s being released on Nov. 19) update of the Xbox Live service, the “New Xbox Experience.” Part of the upgrade includes the Netflix capability, which appears to work similarly to the Roku’s Netflix player in terms of design and functionality.
But as Engadget discovered, the NetfliXbox has the Roku beat (and the other Netflix streaming partners, LG and Samsung Blu-Ray players) by offering high definition streaming. Unfortunately there aren’t any further details at this time (does it incorporate Microsoft’s Silverlight like Netflix on the Mac?). We’ll just have to wait until Nov. 19, when its released.
This could be a game-changer in a couple of ways. It helps accelerate Netflix into a leadership position among those offering digital movie and TV delivery as the combination of HD plus an all-you-can eat movie subscription is an offer that’s hard to refuse. And having a streaming video solution could finally give Microsoft something it’s been salivating over forever — getting a stronger foothold in your living room beyond just gamers.
Despite all this coolness, the Netflix service still has one huge hurdle to overcome, and that’s content. Even though it’s signing new deals, the library of content still has a long way to go before it becomes compelling.