The Microsoft XBox 360 Gets Smarter With Windows Smartphone Apps – And More …

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Of course, all our loyal readers knew it was only a matter of time until apps moved on to the Microsoft XBox 360. Of course, that’s not all – those Windows smartphones you’ve been admiring for a while now are about to get a whole load new lease of life. There’s a new app coming called XBox Companion, this will allow access to the XBox Live Marketplace and will also act as a remote so you can navigate your console directly or control video playback directly from your smartphone.

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That’s not all of course, from tomorrow, a brand new entertainment experience will debut on Xbox 360 through a significant Xbox LIVE service update, free to all console owners. The update will bring a newly designed user interface (dashboard), expanded voice control with Kinect, and the first group of new entertainment custom applications.

Console owners around the world will feel like they have a new Xbox. The new dashboard is built from the ground up to take full advantage of voice control. Users will be able to effortlessly navigate through their favorite entertainment on Xbox 360 using voice or gestures with Kinect for Xbox 360 – that is of course if you’ve already purchased a Kinect.

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“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 in “Engaged TV: Xbox 360 Leads The Way To A New Video Product Experience,”* Sunday, Dec. 4. “…with more than 57 million people worldwide already sitting on a box that’s about to be upgraded for free, Microsoft has not only built the right experience, it has ensured that it will spread quickly and with devastating effect.”

You Say It, Xbox Finds It

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How long does it take you to search and find your favorite movie or TV show? Do you find yourself searching hundreds of channels and multiple services and TV inputs? What if the entertainment you craved was simple, discoverable and exactly what you wanted at that particular moment?

Now, finding your favorite entertainment is easier than ever. Last year, Kinect for Xbox 360 revolutionized controller-free entertainment by letting you use your body and voice to play your favorite games and entertainment, turning you into the controller. The power of Kinect combined with the intelligence of Bing search is turning your voice into the ultimate remote control. With Bing on Xbox, you can use your voice to effortlessly find the games, movies, TV shows and music you want and discover the best offerings on Xbox LIVE, by simply saying what you’re searching for. You say it, Xbox finds it. Beginning tomorrow and over the coming weeks, Bing on Xbox voice search will initially be available in English in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. for Zune video, Xbox LIVE Marketplace and select content partners. For those who do not have a Kinect for Xbox 360, text search will be available in Xbox LIVE markets.

All Your Entertainment, All in One Box

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This holiday, in addition to offering the best blockbuster and Kinect games, Xbox 360 consoles are set to deliver live and on-demand TV shows, movies, videos, sports, music and news, becoming the best device to experience all your entertainment. TV and movie fans can instantly stream their favorite episodes of current television shows all season long, as well as past favorites and new-release movies.

Xbox 360 is building on its expansive catalog of movies, sports, television and music available through Hulu Plus, Last.fm, Netflix, Zune music and video and ESPN®, as well as on its existing lineup of great TV providers, such as AT&T U-verse® TV in the U.S., TELUS in Canada, BSkyB in the U.K., CANAL+ in France, Vodafone Portugal, VimpelCom in Russia and FOXTEL in Australia, by also now rolling out the following new entertainment partners and apps.

Dec. 6:

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EPIX. United StatesESPN on Xbox LIVE (ESPN). United StatesHulu. JapanHulu Plus. United StatesLOVEFiLM. United KingdomNetflix. Canada, United StatesPremium Play by (MediaSet). ItalySky Go (SkyDE). GermanyTelefónica España – Movistar Imagenio. SpainTODAY (MSNBC). United States

Later in December:

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4 on Demand (C4). United KingdomABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Corp.). AustraliaAlloCiné. France (AlloCiné), Germany (Filmstarts), Spain (Sensacine), United Kingdom (Screenrush)Astral Media’s Disney XD (Astral Media). Canadablinkbox (Blinkbox). United KingdomCrackle (Sony Pictures). Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United StatesDailymotion. Available in 32 countries globallyDemand 5 (Five). United KingdomDIGI+ (CANAL+). SpainGolTV (Mediapro). SpainiHeartRadio (Clear Channel). United StatesMediathek/ZDF (ZDF). GermanyMSN. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United KingdomMSNBC.com. United StatesMUZU.TV. Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdomninemsn. AustraliaReal Sports (Maple Leaf Sports). CanadaRogers On Demand Online (Rogers Media). CanadaSBS ON DEMAND.AustraliaSky Go (SkyDE). AustriaTMZ (Warner Bros.). Canada, United StatesTVE (RTVE.es). SpainUFC on Xbox LIVE (UFC). Canada, United StatesVerizon FiOS TV. United StatesVEVO. Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, United StatesVudu (Wal-Mart). United StatesYouTube. Available in 24 countries globally

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