Microsoft just took several big steps toward its goal of making the Xbox 360 into your living-room entertainment hub.
In time for the holidays, Xbox Live will begin featuring content from about 40 leading TV and entertainment providers–including Bravo, Comcast, HBO, Verizon FiOS, Syfy, BBC, and Telefonica–all available in the form of Kinect and Bing searchable apps.
All of this content will be pooled with the current Xbox Live content, like games and Netflix.
If you want to find a movie with Brad Pitt in it, simply type his name into Bing on your Xbox 360. Even better, tell Kinect to search for you. It will use Bing to bring up all the movies and programs that he stars in. If you want to watch X Men, say “Xbox Bing, X-Men” and it will find all X-men movies and shows for you. Searches powered by Bing will work across all the content available through Xbox Live.
Kinect voice-powered search also makes you the remote control. You can tell it to fast forward, rewind, pause, play, etc. and it will hop to it.
Unfortunately, however, the television services do not come with your $60 per year Xbox Live Gold, which is required to turn the console into the streaming hub. You’ll have to pay the subscription cost of each individual service. Just like it currently works with Netflix.
But you will get free content in the form of the following services: YouTube, AlloCine, Dailymotion, iHeartRadio, MSN with MSNBC.com, The Today Show, TMZ and VEVO.
No Spotify? No Facebook? That’s right. They weren’t mentioned in the announcement. But I bet a deal’s will be forthcoming.
And finally, Microsoft announced that it would be integrating the Windows Phone 7 with all this goodness. By downloading the Xbox Live app, you can turn your WP7 into your remote control. Check out all this entails at the WP7 Blog announcement here.
Also, here’s a video that shows all you’ll be able to do when this rolls out.