The Microsoft Xbox 360 will enter the 2010 holiday shopping year with a wide variety of streaming options for consumers, as cash-strapped shoppers think carefully about what they want to spend money on.
The Xbox 360 offers game playback, movies and TV streaming, high-definition content, music, and aims to become even more involved in the living room. Microsoft still refuses to embrace Blu-ray, but wants to help Xbox 360 owners adopt streaming services.
Microsoft and AT&T will team up and finally launch the U-verse streaming service through the Xbox 360, after more than four years of delays.
In order to use an Xbox 360 as an AT&T U-verse device, it must have a hard drive and the customer must already have a separate U-verse box in the home elsewhere.
The service is scheduled to launch on Nov. 7, but will be officially introduced later this week. AT&T subscribers will be able to chat and interact with Xbox Live friends even when watching TV. Subscribers will need to pay $99 for an Xbox kit and $55 for software installation on the Xbox 360.
Microsoft has rightfully paid attention and made sure the Xbox 360 can function as more than just a gaming console.
However, both the rival Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii game consoles also include streaming features. Netflix, Hulu, and other services have embraced streaming services and are now competing for attention from consumers.
I remember visiting the Microsoft Silicon Valley headquarters on several occasions over the past few years, with streaming content always an interest. During the Halo 3 launch in 2007, the company had several live home entertainment demonstrations for visitors in the Mountain View, Calif. office. Since then, the company has worked to introduce a wider variety of streaming solutions for visitors.
It’s good to see Microsoft and other companies embrace streaming, especially after the launch of Google TV and other companies that have come to the market.