The Xbox 360 is set to get a home entertainment revamp next week that will help it compete with Sony's PlayStation 3. Along with Twitter and Facebook integration, the games console is set to get access to a 1080p Full HD video-on-demand service, with more than 100 movie titles available at launch.
Australian Xbox 360 owners have long been disadvantaged compared to US owners, who have access to NetFlix and Amazon Video on Demand through their Internet-connected consoles. The Australian service, which is set to be launched on 17 November, allows access to over 100 movie titles with more to be added in the future.
The streaming video service can deliver movies both in standard-definition, requiring around 1GB of data per movie, and in high definition — with significantly increased bandwidth and data requirements. Users are required to sign up for a $99 Xbox Live Gold account to access the service.
In addition, the 17 November updates will bring Twitter and Facebook access to Xbox Live. Using the console's gamepad and an on-screen keyboard users will be able to post updates and view tweets and information from friends — bringing the Xbox 360 into line with the PlayStation 3, which has offered a functional Web browser since launch.
These added features come as Microsoft attempts to increase consumer interest in the console in the Christmas lead-up period, alongside wide-sweeping Xbox Live bans for hacked games consoles. The Xbox 360 console is almost four years old — it was launched on 22 November, 2005, in the US and came to Australia on 23 March, 2006.