CNet reports Microsoft announced a host of forthcoming media upgrades for the Xbox 360 at its E3 press conference yesterday. The chief highlights: an updated video store, now using the Zune branding, that will allow instant-on 1080p video purchases of movies and TV shows; improved Netflix integration; access to CBS Interactive’s Last.fm’s streaming audio service; and expanded access to online video content in more countries around the world.
“…the Xbox Video Marketplace will be rebranded as the Zune Marketplace. The pay-per-view movies and TV shows will be upgraded to 1080p (from their current 720p incarnations), and will be available as instant-on streams rather than “queue and view” downloads. Availability of the service will also be expanded from its current 8 countries to 18,” said the report.
The Zune branding was hinted at last week when Microsoft announced the updated Zune HD portable media player.
“On the audio front, Xbox Live users will be getting access to Last.fm’s streaming audio service,” said CNet. “All of these updates were said to be coming to the 360 in the fall of 2009. The Last.fm and Netflix functions will be accessible only to Xbox Live Gold subscribers (Last.fm requires no additional charge, Netflix streaming is currently available to Netflix subscribers on the one-disc-at-a-time or higher plans.).”