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MS counters Apple: Xbox 360 Elite, HD films

updated 01:40 am EDT, Wed March 28, 2007

MS offers HD films on LIVE

Microsoft on Wednesday launched its own counter to Apple's new set-top device and iTunes with its new HDMI-enabled Xbox 360 Elite game console and new HD content offerings on Xbox LIVE--the Redmond-based company's internet-based gaming and media marketplace. Microsoft's announcement of HD movies from Paramount and Warner brothers upstages Apple's own iTunes offerings, which are currently only available in standard definition, despite the recent release of its HD-enabled Apple TV set-top box. The new, improved Xbox 360 Elite--a direct competitor to Apple TV--now offers a black wireless controller a matching black headset, HDMI output for resolution up to 1080i, and DVD playback with upscaling capability. The new Xbox LIVE internet marketplace will also add TV series and movies from A&E Network, ADV Films, National Geographic and TotalVid.com, augmenting the 1,500 hours of downloadable entertainment content already available in the US on Xbox LIVE.

According to the announcement, Paramount will offer, on Xbox LIVE, its high definition feature films, including "Braveheart," "Team America: World Police," "World Trade Center" and "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut." In addition, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will be releasing its direct-to-video movies exclusively in high definition on Xbox LIVE simultaneous with their availability on DVD, starting with "Sublime" and later "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales."

"With more than 300 games expected by year's end, an Xbox LIVE community of more than 6 million people and a growing catalogue of premium content from some of the biggest names in entertainment today, Xbox 360 is an incredible value," said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. "Adding partners and content like this helps reinforce the console's position as the center of connected entertainment in the living room."

Challenging Apple's growing iTunes popularity, company said that downloads on Xbox LIVE have grown in double-digits, month-over-month, with a 400 percent increase since the service began offering TV shows and movies late last year.

Xbox LIVE, Microsoft said, offered the first-ever high definition episode of the No. 1 show on Comedy Central's network: "South Park: Good Times With Weapons" was downloaded more than 380,000 in a limited time release on Xbox LIVE. In addition, it said that Warner's promotional clips from "300" have been downloaded more than 477,000 times.

Xbox LIVE will offer A&E Network television shows, such as "Dog the Bounty Hunter," "King of Cars," "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," "Driving Force" and "Criss Angel Mindfreak." In addition, users will have access to the top offerings from ADV Films, No. 1 producer-distributor of Japanese animation ("anime") outside Japan.

National Geographic will offer the television series "Is It Real?" and "Taboo" as well as programs such as "21 Days to Baghdad" and "Air Force One," while TotalVid.com will deliver broad action-sports offering including extreme skiing and snowboarding, skateboarding, motocross, surfing and mountain biking.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    0

    Ya, sure!

    Who in their right mind would buy that shitbox. Get real people; this is still Microshit we're talking about!

  1. Commodus

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Feb 2002

    0

    Er...

    Jarod:

    Hey, you're clever. Have you even used an Xbox 360, or are you just making assumptions?

    It's not perfect, but the X360 shows that Microsoft's non-Windows teams know what they're doing. More so than Sony is right now, at any rate. Leave it to Sony to ship a system with an HDMI port built-in but pack in an RCA cable.

  1. Gepard

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000

    0

    Missing point

    The missing point is that Xbox is still a gaming device with some extra features. That's all!

    Many many people will never buy it even if they want to watch those HD movies. On the other side it will be never compatible with your Mac to do stuff like Apple TV does.

  1. wings_rfs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2002

    0

    Leaf-Blower

    Oh Goody! Now I can watch SouthPark with a leaf-blower sitting next to my TV.

    And no mention of a hard drive so does this thing also require that I have it hooked up to my PC?

    And the price? Near $500 with a hard drive?

  1. PBG4 User

    Senior User

    Joined: Feb 2001

    0

    Re: leaf-blower

    Supposedly the leaf-blower issue has been remedied in these boxes and the Spring update (which should happen soon since XBL was down yesterday) should fix this problem in earlier models *crosses fingers*.

    You don't need a disc in the drive to watch video and the drive spins down once you go into the dashboard so the leaf-blower issue shouldn't be a problem anyway.

    This model comes with a 120GB HDD as well, compared to the 20GB HDD which was the only one available to this point. I've read MS is setting a $150 price point to buy the 120GB separately, which is a much better deal than the 20GB for $99.

    My problems are, no offloading of downloaded content, incredibly long download times (a friend said it took 10 hours to download one HD movie) and the *death of a thousand pinpricks* method of continually trying to extract payments from 360 owners through micropayments for any kind of content update other than game patches. Epic is fighting with MS to get an update to Gears Of War released for free and MS wants to charge for it since GOW has sold so many million copies and they know at least half the game owners will buy the new content so they can continue to play the game online.

  1. MacnTX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004

    0

    No HD DVD??

    If they're going to price it this high (in PS3 territory) they needed the HD DVD drive in it. At least the PS3 includes a Blu-ray drive for the $499-599 that you're paying for it.

  1. GORDYmac

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Dec 1999

    0

    Geesh!

    An entire article, and I had to see the price of this 'competitor' in the reader comments. MacNN just gets lamer and lamer.

    By the way, at that price, I think it's going after that PS3 money, not Apple's.

  1. exca1ibur

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 2000

    0

    Not an Apple competitor

    Since when did the XBox360 compete with Apple? The Xbox360 competition in this space is Sony and Nintendo. Apple isn't even in the gaming market, and doubt they ever will be.

  1. sammaffei

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2004

    0

    yes, an Apple competitor

    If you used a Xbox 360, you know that they offer HD (and SD) movies and TV shows for download. And, it doesn't require a computer in the chain to use it.

    The Xbox Live Marketplace is second in movie / tv downloads behind Apple.

  1. exca1ibur

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 2000

    0

    No

    Sorry, its not. I have used an XBox many times. Its primary market is games. Not music and movies. XBox Live is a competitor to iTunes perhaps, not the XBox itself. Sorry. There is no comparison between and iPod and an Xbox. Grey area at most, but I dont buy that. Sony is their competition here. The PS3 is a direct comparison with this device AND their market.

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