New Xbox Experience tomorrow

By Koushik Saha on 20.11.08

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Microsoft Xbox 360 console owners will be able to try out the New Xbox Experience (NXE) in a few hours, as the new software update will become available Nov. 19.

Owners will not be forced to do anything special to receive the update, as it will download automatically in a similar fashion to previous dashboard updates. The exact size of NXE is unknown, but it's much larger than any dashboard updates previously released, so Microsoft warns users to be ready for it to take a while.

One of the most notable announcements of NXE is the ability for Xbox 360 owners to stream Netflix content on demand, with more than 300 HD titles available.

To access the Netflix catalog, you must be an Xbox Live Gold member and subscribe to the Netflix service. Xbox Live Gold membership costs $50 per year, and the cheapest Netflix membership to receive streaming support is $8.99 per month.Video quality is impressive, but users who are on slower Internet connections may be rather disappointed. I found it to be somewhere between DVD and upscaled DVD quality, and it initially seemed better than Roku's service.

Microsoft is trying to make the Xbox 360 the one-stop shop technology for people when they want to sit on their couch and watch TV. Aside from playing video games, some owners are able to watch the now dead HD DVD format using an external drive, or will be able to watch Netflix content.

Furthermore, Internet browsing and access to the Xbox Live Marketplace add to Microsoft's arsenal as it continues to promte the Xbox 360 as a living room center piece. The console also has full support for Windows Media Center, and can stream DivX movies from a PC or laptop, along with play music files from an MP3 player.

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