This morning, Microsoft hooked us up with an early preview of the next Xbox 360 Dashboard Update. We were able to get a look at the new Netflix features (which no longer require a PC,) the Avatar Marketplace, Game Ratings, Games on Demand, and more. While more coveted features like Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace won’t be landing until the fall, the update is still a solid one. Here are our thoughts on the next update, which lands on your Xbox 360 on August 11 (or sooner if you apply for early access!)
The HT-BD3252 not only features a bundle of speakers, but it has an integrated Blu-ray 2.0 profile player that supports BD-Live. It supports audio codecs like Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA, and includes streaming Internet services such as Pandora, Netflix, and Blockbuster with the included Wi-Fi dongle. All this plus an iPod dock for just $799.
Full press release after the jump.
Lucky us, we are getting early access to the Xbox 360 Fall 2009 Dashboard Update this coming Monday. We will bring you all our thoughts on everything we are able to try out. We have a list of stuff we will have access to on Monday, which you can see after the jump, but we were also able to put together a gallery of some of the things we will be playing with as well. You can find all those images over in our Xbox 360 Fall 2009 NXE Dashboard Update Preview Gallery.
Gallery: Xbox 360 Fall 2009 Update Preview
To the average Amazon consumer, this may be an odd pairing at first glance. However, as broadband penetration becomes more widespread throughout the US, digital movie download services will slowly drive a nail through physical disk media rental services. Both Amazon and Netflix offer movie streaming services right now. Many users of the Netflix service have complained about the lack of newer content being available. Amazon however, offers new movies for rent and download. Together, though, you have one hell of an offering.
A Netflix acquisition for Amazon would mean up airing of these two services, which in the eyes of many a digital downloader would be perfection.
Of course this is all rumor, and we won’t know for sure until something official comes out of either camp. However, looking at the stock surge, there certainly seems to be something up at Netflix. Do note, however, a similar rumor cropped up about two years ago, and nothing ever came of it.
Read More | Bloomberg
Netflix continues their push for dominance today with their integration into Windows Media Center on PCs running either Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate. If your Windows machine runs either of those operating systems, all you have to do is pull up Media Center, and in the TV + Movies section, you’ll now see a Netflix tile, powered by Silverlight. The cool thing here is that, unlike on some other devices, you can browse and search the entire Netflix library, manage both your Instant and DVD Queues, and even sort search results to just show titles available to watch instantly. I must say, we are loving how aggressive Netflix is being about getting their Watch Instantly service on more and more platforms. Wanna bet they soon appear on Apple TV?
Microsoft launched its new Xbox 360 Games of the Year pack. Included are the black 120B Elite with HDMI port and cable, a wireless controller and headset. Fable II and Halo 3 are also in the box with a full year of Xbox Live Gold, vouchers for game extras and a Netflix streaming trial. The price of $399.99 remains the same and the new pack won’t displace any earlier offered bundles.
Read More | Xbox
If you are a Nightline fan, then you probably caught the piece they did about Netflix. They announced that they have delivered their 2 billionth movie. All together they have over 46 million movies available. How do they get all that work done and on time? Workers begin a 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Netflix’s Ted Sarandos was asked if the company will eventually become all download. His response was not for a very long time. You can catch the entire piece via the link.
Read More | Nightline
If you own a TiVo, then you will soon be able to access Blockbuster’s OnDemand service. Compatible with broadband connected TiVo Series2, Series3, TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL DVRs, users will be allowed to rent and buy movies. Both companies will utilize cross-marketing and, as part of the deal, Blockbuster will sell TiVos on their site as well as in their stores. Plans to feature Netflix and Amazon will still continue, so it looks as though this is a win-win-win for TiVo. Expect the new service to begin in the second half of this year. Sign up with TiVo to be notified of the changeover.
Read More | Real Tech News
Recently launched, Facebook Connect allows users to share Netflix movie selections and ratings by clicking stars that will appear on their wall and friends’ News Feeds. Your friends can comment, add the movie to their queue or connect to Netflix to learn more about the movie. Of course you can configure the amount of titles and ratings shown by the privacy settings. To enroll, head over to Netflix via the link and click the button there.
Read More | Netflix Facebook Connect
Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos of Netflix says that subscribers added almost 2 million movies to their queues during the 3+ hour Academy Awards. The top movie placed was Slumdog Millionaire, but more than 56,000 different titles were also entered. We can see that happening if you were watching during the show and computing at the same time. Not only would you want those titles, but you would be tempted by every movie made by the actors in the front row.
Read More | Hacking Netflix