Microsoft's Xbox 360 isn't just a game console--it's Microsoft's living room media streamer. It's one of the best on the market, too; it's got most of the major video apps (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, YouTube), it can stream from your computer, it can play DVDs, it has universal search, and you can control it with your voice by using the Kinect. It's a sneaky ploy, making a game system into Microsoft's all-purpose media machine, but it's worked out really well.
Except for one thing: to use any of those apps, you have to have an Xbox Live Gold account, which currently costs $40 for a 12-month subscription. Xbox Live Gold gives you access to the multiplayer gaming side of Xbox Live, which is fine. But you also have to buy it if you want to use any of the video apps. That's in addition to the apps you're already paying for, just to get access to them. Roku doesn't do this, Apple TV doesn't do this, Boxee doesn't do this--only Microsoft has the gall to charge an additional subscription fee just to get what you've already paid for.
This weekend, Microsoft is "unlocking" Netflix so all Xbox users can use the app. It's a promotion for Netflix's first original series, House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and produced by David Fincher. But here's the thing: it's only unlocked for the weekend, and you still have to have a Netflix subscription to use it. Everything else still requires Xbox Live Gold, and Netflix will go back to requiring it on Monday.
This is a major problem for Microsoft; if they want the Xbox to really be taken seriously as a multimedia platform and not just as a gaming console, they have to make it easy for non-gamers to use it as a multimedia platform. And it's a very good platform! The apps are some of the best out there, and the Xbox has way more muscle for flashy animations and cool search options than a Roku or Apple TV. So, Microsoft, if you want to be a real competitor here, if you want to stomp out the Rokus and Apple TVs of the world, unlock the video apps. For good.
No offense to the writer of this article but i think you need to check your facts. The new show House Of Card is not Netflix first original show, that would be a show called Lillyhammer.
I have an Xbox, but I do all my streaming on Roku.
If Microsoft wants me to use their next Xbox Durango/720 as anything other than a gaming machine, then they need to make these services free or at the very least include Xbox Music or something.
Multiplayer is one thing, but when there is Roku or a hookup to my PC, I'll stick with those. Roku also uses far less electricity.
Get over it -- don't buy an Xbox if it bothers you. It's called market driven free enterprise.
MS feels that they have an advantage and they're trying to pump some bucks out of it. Big surprise.
Apple does this every chance that they get and you guys can't stop worshipping them. Pretty much every company does it as much as they can.
Vote with your pocketbook and quit whining
And that's why I have a ps3 and not an xpox [sic]
I say that this is more a message to other manufacturers to include functionality that is on the level of XBOX 360, rather than a message to Microsoft to begin their foray into consumer charity. The 360 is an incredible multi-dimensional platform....and it seems totally reasonable that it comes at a premium. Other products are not as good. Period. I've played around with the PS3 and while it's nice that it's free for the online gaming, the level of integration with so much functionality and total multi media experience on the 360 is in a different realm.
Its no wonder the author demands it to be free - something special for nothing...were entitled to it according to him I guess.
One of the things that could actually benefit the perception of this is to include a video subscription as part of the $40 a year. If I was getting a netflix subscription as part of the $40 a year, I would more than happily pay this a year or even if I was given the option of a $60 subscription with the Video App add-on + Subscriptions.
It makes the multimedia experience worth so much more than $40 for multiplayer stuff.
Dead simple solution. Buy a PS3.
Our family owns a Wii and an XBox 360. We just recently decided to subscribe to Hulu Plus so we can watch Hulu shows on our TV (and maybe cut our cable subscription). We can use Hulu Plus on the Wii at no extra charge. XBox 360? Have to shell out for XBox Live. Guess which system we use to watch Hulu? ;-)