Xbox will add streaming HD, social apps, audio, and news

xbox live logoIn a couple days Microsoft will expand the capabilities of its Xbox LIVE service, adding the ability to stream high-definition movies from Zune in full 1080p HD. Social networking apps Facebook and Twitter will also be added, as well as audio from Last.Fm and a news section with MSNBC content.

You can currently stream movies to your Xbox 360 via Netflix, but the quality is limited to 480p or 720p. Adding Zune video will deliver full 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound. In addition, you can get social by chatting with up to seven friends while the movie runs.

Facebook and Twitter integration will allow you to access your accounts and update them via the Xbox interface. Using the Facebook app, you be able to update your status, view photos and see who is live. If you tweet, you’ll be able to post and reply directly from the Xbox.

Audio from UK-based Last.fm will give you streaming content from all genres of music, including new “Gamer Stations” with music picked specifically for gamers.

A “News and More” section of the Xbox will also be launched as part of the “Inside Xbox” channel, with dynamic content from MSNBC, The New Yorker and Dilbert (Dilbert? Hey why not?).

Xbox LIVE Gold memberships cost $49.99 a year. Microsoft is offering a free trial period from Nov. 20 – 23 for Silver members (free subscription).

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Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot writes about technology, broadcasting, and digital entertainment. You can also find him on Gameverse, Gadget Review, and Google+.

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