So the new Xbox dashsboard is available and with it came some updated video streaming apps for Hulu Plus and Netflix. The updates fixed a lot of things that I had talked about as being problems like getting so deep into a menu that you had to pick up a controller to continue. However, there are some more interesting updates as well.

Hulu Plus Updated Xbox App

From the Hulu blog:

Earlier this year, we brought you Hulu Plus on Xbox LIVE with support for Kinect, a revolutionary way to watch our premium content by turning your body into the controller. Today, we are releasing an updated Hulu Plus app for Xbox LIVE Gold members. This app has been rewritten from the ground up to offer an experience that fits seamlessly with the new Xbox 360 dashboard. And thanks to the power of Kinect, you can now use your voice to discover Hulu Plus TV shows and movies using the Bing search built into the new dashboard.

It’s true, you can finally control the videos with gestures or your voice. However, I noticed that the sound from the program, if the speakers are near the Xbox Kinect unit, will drown out your commands and so often you have to practically yell for it to hear you and react. The other option is to wait until it hits a quieter part and then say “Xbox Pause” or Stop or whatever.

Netflix Updated Xbox App

The far cooler update comes with the Netflix app which offers improved quality along with:

– A better browse experience with significantly more titles available for browsing and up to 3 times more titles available on screen to choose from at any given time.
– A richer play experience that includes access to audio and subtitle settings, ratings capability, episode selection, and related title suggestions while you play for a more integrated experience
– Deep support for voice and gesture control using Xbox Kinect for browsing and play functions
– Adaptive streaming that constantly optimizes your picture quality while you watch based on your current bandwidth
– Support for 720p HD (bandwidth allowing) and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound so movies and TV shows streaming from Netflix look and sound great!


EPIX was launched finally on the Xbox 360 but of course requires a subscription via your cable or satellite which makes it sort of redundant. The only real difference between your subscription and the Xbox 360 app is the fact that you can get the content on the console.

EPIX will provide authenticated subscribers streaming access on Xbox 360 to over 3,000 titles including a high definition lineup of new releases like Rango, Iron Man 2 and True Grit, big movie franchises Star Trek, Saw and James Bond, along with high profile original music, comedy and sports events. The ability to stream full movies and concerts on the Xbox LIVE service is included as part of the premium subscription service available through cable, satellite and telco distributors, which includes EPIX and its multiplex channels, EPIX SVOD and

It too is fully compatible with Xbox Kinect voice and gesture control.


Again the app, like all of the new apps, is fully Kinect compatible for voice and gesture. The content that is available is on the limited side as full episodes of shows aren’t available, only webisodes are available along with clips from some of their major shows. Extremely disappointing to say the least.


The ESPN app has no Kinect compatibility and as far as all the apps go it it less evolved. But it does allow for things like sprint screen viewing, live scoreboards and some video highlights by sport.


DailyMotion is pretty cool, there are curated content channels like News, Hot Right Now, Film & TV, etc. However, there are some weird quirks with the interface where some menus disappear when you are trying to navigate them.


NBC is obviously the big launch partner for the new look as both SyFy and Today are their properties.

Oddly, you only get clips of the shows and not full episodes. I suppose they cut out a lot of the idle chatter and, of course, the commercial breaks and just give you the clips of the actual segments on the show.


Zune is dead, long live Zune. I wish they would make up their minds on it all. They stated that the Zune was dead but they’re keeping the name of the marketplace? Why not just call it LIVE Video Marketplace. Sure, some might be easily fooled into thinking that it is just live video, but enough of us are clever enough to know what they mean, right?

Anyway, I had some problems getting this installed properly. First, it shows up in like ten different spots. So I went into my video apps and it was there, would say it was downloading but not install or run. So I went to the video and chose video marketplace, same thing. Then I went into my apps and it wouldn’t launch. Then I tried to go to Zune video and it said the app was being installed and was searching, did not find it and then tried to download and install again. I went into storage and deleted it from the drive to force it to download it again. Seems there might have been a problem. So it downloaded the whole app all over again and when it was downloaded, it hardlocked the console. Not very good for what is supposed to be Microsoft’s flagship product this week is it?

Finally, cycling the hardware managed to get me into the Zune video marketplace (in case someone else has these problems). It is fully Kinect compatible as well and offers rentals and purchasing, for example, X-Men: First Class can be rented in standard def for 320 Microsoft Points ($4) or HD for 480MSP ($6). It can also be purchased in SD for 1360MSP ($17) or HD for 1600MSP ($20). Seems fairly steep since it would then be locked to, presumably, your PC and Xbox 360.

Overall impressions

Aside from having to speak rather loudly and the fact that my Kinect seems to have lost its tuning and needed to be recalibrated, I quite like the new interface. Now I can truly lie back on the couch and totally veg out. I might even drop some of my cable service in lieu of what I’ve got here since I’m a Hulu subscriber. Then again, maybe not just yet.