Posts Tagged ‘Xbox 360’


SkyPlayer in Windows Media Center – Now Active!

November 23, 2009

skyplayer1 In Windows Media Center, on Windows 7, there has been a Sky Player icon which lead to a page saying that the service would be coming soon. Since then, SkyPlayer has been released on the Xbox 360 and can be accessed at no extra cost for those who have a Sky Multiroom subscription and for non-Sky customers who are willing to pay a large subscription cost to access a limited range of channels when compared to a dedicated Sky subscription (which requires a satellite dish and box).

Having checked this magical icon in Windows Media Player, the functionality of SkyPlayer has been enabled and provides the same experience as on the Xbox 360 but without the party features.

Sky limit the number of computers that can access SkyPlayer to four systems and one Xbox 360. At present, my main device is my Xbox 360 and this lets me watch the movie channels and Sky1 from the console, but not from Sky Player on Windows Media Center. Customers are allowed one change of their devices a month so this has to be thought out. A hindrance to this is that trying to watch Sky1 or a Sky Screen/movie channel on a device that isn’t currently the main device, in a month when you haven’t used up your changes, may cause that device to become the main one, leaving you wondering why you can access the premium channels on the previous device. I have yet to fully test this and may be saved by being restricted to changing the main device via the account pages.

If you don’t have a main device specified, ie a PC, Xbox 360 or Windows Media Center, the device you first use to access the channels, will be registered as your main system and that will be it for that month. You will have to wait until the next calendar month to be able to change this.

Check out the screenshots below which show the same features as available to the Xbox 360 version:


Sky Player Installation Sky Player Installation

Sky Player in Windows Media Centre Sky Player in Windows Media Centre

Sky Player in Windows Media Centre Sky Player in Windows Media Centre

Sky Player in Windows Media Centre Sky Player in Windows Media Centre

Sky Player in Windows Media Centre Sky Player in Windows Media Centre

Sky Player in Windows Media Centre Sky Player in Windows Media Centre

Sky Player in Windows Media Centre


New Xbox 360 in 2010

June 18, 2009

Natal Xbox 360 2010 mockup - of course this isn't real, I bodged it together! According to Steve Ballmer, there will be a new Xbox 360 coming in 2010.  Rumours have been going around of a new model of Xbox 360 and not a complete replacement for the current Xbox 360. 1up have speculated that the new model of Xbox 360 will be a bit more powerful than the current models of Xbox 360 and will include the hardware for Natal, which will be available for existing 360 owners to purchase separately.

Now the rumours and speculation have been confirmed by none other than Steve Ballmer himself. According to TGDaily [via PCPer], he didn’t go into specifics:

”The new device will be equipped with technology that is “really, really, close” to an actuality. The console, which was described as having a “natural interface,” will have a built in camera with the ability to recognize movement and voice.”

So, keep those eyes peeled for a release date, ready to eBay your console before the price drops, or just buy the Natal camera as an accessory! 🙂

[UPDATE] Major Nelson has written a short post titled “To clarify what Steve said earlier today…” (bold text is my emphasis):

A few people have emailed me regarding something Steve Ballmer said earlier today about a new Xbox coming in 2010. As the Xbox team stated at E3 two weeks ago, we are not even halfway through the current console generation lifecycle and believe Xbox 360 will be the entertainment center in the home for long into the next decadeProject Natal will be an important part of this platform, but we have not confirmed a launch date at this time.

While the post leans towards saying there will be no new Xbox 2010, which to me reads that there won’t be a next generation for the Xbox 360 ie a n Xbox 720(?), in 2010, but there is nothing in the posts denying another iteration of the current Xbox 360 in 2010. Word has been out for a while that the Xbox 360 has a 10 year lifecycle, taking it well into 2015 before a replacement would be due. The final sentence is key, “…we have not confirmed a launch date at this time.” OK, no confirmed launch date,  but no denial about a new version of the 360 either.


What’s Expected from the Big 3 at E3?

May 28, 2009

Rumours - Fleetwood Mac Taking place next week is E3, a yearly even where games, consoles, services and related paraphernalia are revealed. In the run up to every E3 is a huge amount of speculation as to what may be announced, this year is no different.

So what announcements are expected from the big three: Microsoft and Nintendo and Sony? Here’s a rumour roundup.


Microsoft – Motion Camera
There has been a lot by way of rumour flying around regarding Microsoft’s recent purchase of 3DV Systems, an Israeli company, who had their motion sensing technology on show at CES last year. The rumour being that full body motion sensing technology purchased by Microsoft could come to the Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360 already has a USB camera available for it. The 3DV System camera would be a duplication of the standard Microsoft camera and could be a potential replacement, with the phasing out of the original camera altogether.

Sources: CNET, ARS Technica


Microsoft – ZuneHD/Zune Video
A few days ago, information about the existence of a new model of the Zune portable audio and video player had surfaced, the ZuneHD. Not long after the web lit up with the story, a Microsoft blog confirmed the device. Being so close to E3 and also Microsoft’s saying that Zune isn’t just a single device but an eco-system, leads to a potential connection between the ZuneHD and the Xbox 360. The Microsoft console already has a Netflix movie arrangement  in the US, and a marketplace where films and TV shows can be rented, and purchased for the latter. It is only natural for this to extend onto a device such as the Zune and that is what has also been speculated. No word on the Zune coming to the UK, or anywhere else for that matter, although the Guardian reports that Zune Video will be coming to the Xbox 360 in Europe, confirming the Zune eco-system within the home.

Sources: CNET, Engadget, Joystiq


Microsoft – Sky Player on Xbox 360
For those in the UK and possibly anywhere else BSkyB operate their online TV access service, Sky Player, this will be a long awaited feature that adds to the Xbox 360’s abilities where Netflix and similar services are unavailable. According to the Telegraph, an announcement may be made tomorrow so there might not be any mention of this at E3.

The UK has had BTVision which can be accessed via the Xbox 360 but my understanding of that is that the stream comes from the BTVision box, much like connecting your PC to the console. Another limitation is that the BT implementation was available those who have a BTVision box and are subscribers to BT’s broadband service. Granted, users will now have to be subscribers to Sky to receive the service but hopefully the implementation will be through the web to the Xbox dashboard, instead of using the Xbox as a media extender for the Sky box.

Sources: Telegraph


Nintendo – Not Much Leaked

Shop and distributor inventories are often a good source of releases due in the near future and in this case, it has come up trumps again. This time Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus, a sequel to the already popular Wii Fit will be coming to the Wii. Another confirmation is that Wii Fit Plus has been trademarked by Nintendo, along with a trademark for Art Academy.

David Gibson, analyst at Macquarie Research has the above plus the expectation of a new Mario or Zelda title for the Wii.

Sources: Kotaku, Kotaku, Joystiq


Sony – PSP Go

If the pictures are anything to go by, the PSP as we know it will be similar but will have taken on a slide out keyboard form factor. If the speculation is anything to go by, the poorly performing UMD format will be given the boot with the slot removed from the PSP Go. Also a preference for a new or smaller flash memory has been heard of. The previous PSP-3000 will still be available to buy and isn’t being replaced by the Go.

Sources: Ars Technica, Joystiq


Sony – PS3 Slim

Believe it or not, a hardware change is rumoured for the PS3. Labelled the PS3 Slim, it is expected to be thinner (duh) and the pictures that are on Engaget of the supposed console show that the panels are reduced in height and if put together will significantly reduce the height of the device. No word on feature changes as of yet.

Sources: Engadget, Ars Technica


Sony –  PSP Download-Rental Service

Having received a survey from TNS, it was quite obvious from the first sentence what might be coming to the PSP, “You are now going to see a series of different possible rental download services which could be developed by PlayStation.”

Further down on the survey briefing a glossary is given for the questions in the survey which explicitly mention the PSP e.g. “Games per month – the number of PSP games you would have access to (ie be able to download and play) each month.”

For a rough idea for the sort of plans they are seeking views on please see one of the questions below:

PSP Game Rental Survey Question


Sources: Joystiq, Joystiq

Of course there are many more things expected but these are some of the biggies. Also, Joystiq has a Microsoft and Sony bingo cards for their E3 conferences…I’ll be playing along!


Xbox 360 Autumn (Fall) Update – November 19!

October 10, 2008

At the Tokyo Game Show, it was announced by John Shappert that the Dashboard update for the Xbox 360 will be released on November 19, 2008. I look forward to this update primarily due to the party feature announced at E3 earlier in the year.

Gaming on the Xbox with a few friends and family sometimes requires co-ordination skills, especially when connecting to games throws up problems you might expect on the PC. At present, users can only chat from the dashboard with one person and to speak to others they must initiate a chat session and switch to the next person whilst the former sits twiddling their thumbs. Imagine this scenario if one or more of your group cannot get into a game and are all sending chat invites for your attention. You might as well keep your phone nearby or sign-in to a messenger app. Now a number of people can form a party from the dashboard to view photos and chat together. The party can also go into a game from the dashboard as a group, providing all members have the game. This leads to a more connected and seamless experience, which should have been a feature from the start. Once released we just have to see how seamless it is, if NAT problems will cause party connection problems as in multiplayer lobbies where some users cannot connect to others.

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Want a cheaper PS3? You’re in luck…slightly

October 9, 2007

Looks like something has changed at Sony. Last week they announced a new addition to their line-up of SKUs to provide cheaper access to the PlayStation 3 in Euurope, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

The latest iteration becomes cheaper not just as a result of cheaper manufacturing, but due to cutting down of some features that not all users may need.

The changes include a 40GB hard drive, 2 USB ports instead of 4, has no built in memory card reader and backward compatibility hardware has been removed. The unit goes on sale October 10th at £299.

The newer model doesn’t massively threaten Microsoft’s Xbox 360, whose prices have dropped without the need for a cut back, with newer high capacity and limited editions taking the place of the original Premium price-point. If however, you are looking for a cheap HD movie player the

On the other-hand, the 60GB PlayStation will see an actual price drop from £425 to £349 and will be more than a match for the equivalent Xbox 360 Elite when purchased with the external HD-DVD drive which comes out more expensive than the PS3.

According to a quote on the BBC News article, Ray Maguire, head of PlayStation UK said the release of the 40GB PS3 was a “strategic decision”. Yes, strategic…to get some sales in for Christmas and gain ground on the other consoles.

Links: BBC News: Sony offer cut-price PlayStation