updated 10:30 am EDT, Tue August 11, 2009
X360 only Netflix Console
Microsoft as part of its just-launched summer Xbox 360 update revealed that it will be the only game console maker to get Netflix movie support. The company explains the deal as an "exclusive partnership" and as such locks out PlayStation 3 and Wii owners from streaming movies and TV shows. Both companies decline to say how long the exclusivity will last.
Other devices, like Roku's Internet Player or Blu-ray movie players from LG and Samsung, aren't subject to the same rule.
The summer update gives Netflix a "party watch" mode for videos that allow it, a better means of looking through new titles and genres based on recommendations and an improved ability to adapt the movie quality to the current connection speed. Both this and Netflix access before the update require a monthly Netflix subscription as well as an Xbox Live Gold membership.
In addition to the video features, the Xbox 360 upgrade also brings the option of buying full Xbox 360 titles through Games On Demand, which goes live on Thursday, as well as avatar props and paid avatar add-ons. A larger update with promised Facebook and Twitter integration as well as 1080p instant-start movies isn't slated to arrive until the fall.