Microsoft laid out a grand plan to turn your Xbox 360 into an even stronger hub for everything from television shows and movies to music at E3 this year. That dashboard update launches tomorrow, bringing with it the ability to use your Kinect to search for content across every service you have connected to your system, as well as Microsoft's digital storefronts on Xbox Live and live television.
Unfortunately, not all of Microsoft's content partners will be ready for the service's launch tomorrow. HBO Go won't be available until early 2012, nor will Comcast's Xfinity on-demand library. Here are the services that will be available tomorrow, along with which market they will be active:
EPIX. United States
ESPN on Xbox LIVE (ESPN). United States
Hulu Plus. United States
LOVEFiLM. United Kingdom
Netflix. Canada, United States
Premium Play by (MediaSet). Italy
Sky Go (SkyDE). Austria, Germany
Telefónica España - Movistar Imagenio. Spain
TODAY (MSNBC). United States
The search functionality that allows you to look for content across a variety of outlets and apps is fascinating, as is the ability to control the service by waving your arms if you own a Microsoft Kinect, but the real power of these deals is the emphasis they place on Microsoft's hardware. By bundling all our digital subscriptions and content through the Xbox 360, Microsoft wants to make sure your gaming console is at the heart of your entertainment center. Xbox Live subscribers and subscribers of these digital services won't have access to much in the way of new content, but it will all be centralized in one location.
This is different than the Apple TV's strategy of offering content such as television shows and movies as discrete items and selling or renting them directly to consumers as well as streaming your existing content. Microsoft wants to be the box you turn on when you want to watch anything, whether it's live or streaming, no matter what content delivery service you're going to be enjoying.