The New Xbox Experience with Netflix

Dave Zatz —  October 31, 2008 — 13 Comments

Netflix Week continues (and we may not even done)…

This morning, the New Xbox Experience (NXE) was delivered to my console. After quickly creating a non-representative (i.e. slender) avatar, I jumped right into Netflix. Unlike the previous 360 interface, the new one appears to be extensible – adding functionality without requiring a massive software update. What I’m trying to say is that Netflix isn’t pre-loaded and, by clicking on the tile for the first time, I was prompted to download it.

The Xbox Netflix interface is much richer, both in appearance and functionality, than what currently exists on the Roku Netflix box. A conceptual hurdle for some, at least initially, may still be fast forward and rewind via thumnail rather than traditional video scrubbing – a Netflix streaming limitation design decision. Like Engadget, I can put to bed the HDCP requirement rumors… Netflix, Xbox, and my HDTV are all reporting high definition streaming. I suppose it’s possible that Netflix is reducing the resolution over my component connection, but wouldn’t the UI indicate that? It also may be possible that HDCP is required only when using HDMI – meaning, some early HD sets may not support the handshake.

In the video above, you can see the opening Xbox video and a brief Netflix Watch Instantly walk-thru. Keep in mind that due to my network capture technique and YouTube encoding, you’ll probably notice dropped frames and longer buffering – this is not entirely representative. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps a recording is worth 10,000. At least until that take-down notice arrives… ;)

The NXE is currently available as a preview to a limited subset of customers and official launch is scheduled for November 19th.

13 responses to The New Xbox Experience with Netflix

  1. I didn’t get accepted for the preview and you’re making me jealous!

  2. “…it’s possible that Netflix is reducing the resolution over my component connection, but wouldn’t the UI indicate that? It also may be possible that HDCP is required only when using HDMI – meaning…”

    HDCP is such a bag of hurt not even the combined resources of NetFlix, TiVo and Microsoft ( all those people are really smart ) can figure it out?

    Good grief, what hope is there if lowly me being able to just watch what I want, in the resolution I paid for?

  3. Todd, most modern televisions within the last few years support HDCP over HDMI and the average consumer won’t have to know or think about this. Vudu is an example of a device that made the decision to NOT send any HD resolutions over component, and that’s a different ball of wax. Their higher end model NOW has enabled it, but the standard one doesn’t. At least, not without a phone call. Probably hasn’t helped their reviews or return rates, either.

  4. Dave,
    When you say “Netflix Week continues (and we’re not even done yet)…”

    Do you mean not done yet with the week or you’re expecting more Netflix-related news ;)

    I’m getting spoiled by all of this buzz over Netflix stuff…

  5. Brent, no more news (as far as I know!). BUT my Netflix Watch Instantly account has been activated for Mac Silverlight playback. So that probably deserves a post. Then we’re done. Hopefully.

  6. i am hoping HDCP doesnt become an issue when netflix lands on my tivo. i have it connected to a 3 y/o samsung dlp via hdmi. hopefully it can handle the handshake, because it sure sounds like netflix is pushing this.

  7. From reading Gizmodo, it appears that HD streaming requires 8 meg pipe (for the highest tier, I presume). And it seems that for reasons shrouded in mystery, Netflix still refuses to allow longer buffering so more people could get top tier of quality. Why???

  8. Thanks for the video – you make us Canadians jealous. We’ll likely never see this – or at least not for 5 years or so. Grrr!!!!

  9. Of course HDCP is only required when using HDMI, this isn’t a Vudu box afterall ;)

  10. Excellent video.

  11. are the movies free or u have to pay with Microsoft points

  12. dalfry, anyone with an unlimited Netflix DVD rental subscription is entitled to unlimited online streaming. For the Xbox version, you’ll also need Xbox Liv ewhich is maybe $50 a year. The Roku player, Blu-ray players, and web are free. I think my Netflix plan is about $12/mo.

  13. So Dave, you had a few days to play with the NXE. Anything of interest that’s not on the list?

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