Sorry. I don’t get the drama around having an ‘always online’ console. Every device now is ‘always on’. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit
Archives For Xbox
EchoStar’s Sling Media is out with a survey today testing the waters for console-based placeshifting. While the SlingCatcher is dead and buried, SlingPlayer for Connected Devices has been slowly bringing Slingbox feeds to various set-top devices including Google TV, WDTV Live, and Boxee. Next up, your Xbox, Wii, or PS3? From the emailed survey (pictured below):
In this section, we’re trying to gauge your interest in using SlingPlayer on your game console. Imagine if you could watch your Slingbox in full HD on your big screen TV using your game console. Essentially, you could enjoy everything on your main TV but you would use your gaming device. In other words, you could:
- Watch all your live TV, DVR recordings & On-demand content
- Control everything using your game console controller
- With a picture quality comparable to your normal TV experience
A big advantage is that you would NOT PAY for another cable or satellite set top box. A couple of situations where you can enjoy this are:
- A vacation home
- A 2nd bedroom, recreation room, or basement
- College student’s apt or dorm
- Replace any set top box
While the proposition is appealing, I’m not sure a game console is the most efficient platform for delivery… for Sling or for us. Assuming our Slingboxes will never stream content to Apple TV, Roku is an ideal platform if Sling can work out the technical challenges — it’s small and cheap, with an open SDK and much greater penetration than say the WDTV Live Sling currently supports. How much would an app like that be worth to you? Continue Reading…
Ahead of the annual E3 gaming convention, Engadget’s gotten their hands on what appears to a legit Microsoft presentation documenting Xbox Smart Glass. And it looks to be both a feature and series of apps that’ll offer remote Xbox control and enable the beaming of content from smartphone or computer to the big screen via the Xbox 360. As we mentioned yesterday, Microsoft has some work to do if they intend to grow their Xbox audience beyond gamers and offering a remote control app is a good start… as the 360 doesn’t ship with anything more than a gaming controller. Additionally, the ability to pipe video and audio from one device to another could be quite compelling. But is it enough to morph the Xbox 360 into an all purpose media streamer for non-gamers given their hardware cost and ongoing service fees compared to say an Apple TV? Further, unlike Apple Airplay, Smart Glass won’t feature deep OS level integration on iPhone or iPads. Whereas Apple is expanding their halo from their highly regarded mobile products and into the living room, Microsoft will be leveraging their console strength to pitch their new mobile Windows Phone OS which will surely feature enhanced Xbox integration.
Microsoft’s offering a free weekend of Xbox Live Gold service to entice new subscribers. While an Xbox 360 ($200 and up) nets you a solid gaming platform, to enable the most compelling online features, such as collaborative gameplay and Netflix streaming, one must subscribe to “Gold” — which retails for $60/year. As regular reader James (jcm) says, the Xbox 360 currently offers arguably the most complete video streaming experience in terms of quantity/quality of apps, polished interface, and integrated search. Yet, the annual subscription irks me and I’ve allowed my service to lapse. Heck, for the same money, one could buy a fee-free Roku LT streamer ($50).
But I went ahead and dug my Xbox 360 out of the closet to partake in the Free Gold Weekend (6/1 – 6/3) to check out the new Amazon Instant video streaming app. As an Amazon Prime member ($80/year), I’m entitled to all sorts of “free” content. Although, I have to say my primary motivation was to check out Amazon’s new Watchlist – overcoming their most significant technical shortcoming compared to say Netflix or Hulu Plus, as recently pointed out by Engadget HD’s Richard Lawler: No queue is a bizarre way to live. Continue Reading…
In a page out of the mobile industry’s playbook, Microsoft is testing a subsidized Xbox bundle via their branded storefronts. Instead of paying $300 up front for a 4GB Xbox 360 console with Kinect, and potential $60 annual service fee covering online services, this dealio requires only a $99 investment… followed by $15/month for the duration of a two year contract. And, like a cell carrier, Microsoft will run a credit check if you choose to partake and imposes an early termination fee (ETF):
Mathematically, the “promotion” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless you’re strapped for cash, as it ends up running $40 more at MSRP over a two year period ($460 vs. $420). More importantly, both Xbox 360 hardware and Xbox Live Gold are frequently offered below MSRP.
MS should be applauded for attempting to lower the barrier to entry. But this isn’t the correct solution. A better approach would be adding a Roku-esque Xbox Live streamer to the mix. However, we’ll continue to recommend the competing PS3 over the Xbox while service fees and Microsoft “Points” remain in effect.