Microsoft will launch a major Xbox Live update this holiday season that lumps video games, TV shows, movies, music and sports all into a new group of applications that can be controlled by your voice.
Microsoft has reached agreements with over 40 media firms to bring live and on-demand movies and television content for the Xbox 360 console. Users must have an Xbox Live Gold membership in order to access this content.
The Xbox 360 update will switch from the Xbox's traditional interface to the new tile-based, Metro look that is very similar to that of Windows Phone 7. The tiles will represent different available applications.
Speaking of Windows Phone, those with the device can use the free Xbox Companion app to find this content on-the-go.
Microsoft will be using its Bing search engine to allow Xbox 360 users to search any content found within the applications. For those with Kinect, content can be searched using voice control.
"A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place — your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever."
“Microsoft has just built and delivered it: A single box that ties together all the content you want, made easily accessible through a universal, natural, voice-directed search. This is now the benchmark against which all other living room initiatives should be compared,” said James McQuivey of Forrester Research.