Xbox 360 owners with paid Xbox Live Gold accounts and existing subscriptions to Comcast's Xfinity, HBO GO and MLB.tv can now access the trio's programming directly through their consoles.
Microsoft's Larry Hryb announced the partnership with the three TV giants at his Major Nelson blog. Hryb also confirmed that Kinect owners could use the peripheral's voice and motion-sensing abilities to browse and play content.
Unfortunately, the latest effort by Microsoft to turn its six-year-old HD gaming system into a true multimedia machine was marred by some major technical hiccups. Namely, two of the three apps didn't actually work.
ZDNet's Ed Bott described failed attempts at watching both Xfinity and HBO GO on his 360 shortly after both apps debuted on Tuesday. Despite press releases hitting inboxes and Xbox owners eying both options on their Xbox dashboards, Bott discovered that Comcast, Time Warner and Microsoft weren't exactly on the same page. Customer service reps told the reporter that the companies were working to fix the problems.
Microsoft's Xbox support page currently lists the two troubled apps as "up and running," suggesting the early troubles have been sorted.
One bit of good news is that Comcast won't count any content watched over the Xbox 360 toward its controversial 250GB monthly data cap, with one major caveat: viewers must be hooked up to the Internet through the company itself. No word on whether the telecom will stick to those guns when it eventually opens up Xfinity on Demand over Xbox Live to non-Comcast Internet customers.
Microsoft continued its push to place TV content on the Xbox 360 last December. Along with a new Metro-inspired dashboard, access to Epix and MSNBC's TODAY was added, complimenting previously launched Netflix, Hulu Plus and Vudu apps. A new (and conveniently timed) internal report this week found Xbox 360 owners are actually watching videos and listening to music more than playing games.
"What we're seeing is that people are turning on the Xbox to play games and then keeping it on afterwards to get other types of entertainment," said Yusuf Mehdi, head of marketing for Xbox.
Microsoft has dismissed rumors that it would unveil new Xbox hardware at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). With its current console still garnering impressive support and sales, that decision isn't surprising.
Which other multimedia apps would you like to see pop up on the Xbox 360 dashboard? Let us know in the comment section.