Netflix on your Xbox 360: New ways to watch

This morning at Microsoft’s E3 Press Event they announced a new partnership with Netflix to bring their streaming movies and TV shows to your TV via an Xbox 360. Essentially, if you have a Xbox Live Gold Membership and a Netflix membership you can access Netflix’s Watch Instantly library through your 360, with no extra charges. In addition, Microsoft announced Mii-like Avatars which will be used on Live. With an Avatar and a Netflix account, you can invite other Live members to watch a movie with you.

Social technology is usually a mixed bag, opening up new ways of interacting with people while generally encouraging us to have less meaningful interactions, and Microsoft’s latest announcement is no different. The experience of watching a film or TV show with someone and discussing it afterward is very enriching. And as Christians, a post-viewing discussion is often necessary. Taking the time to verbalize, interpret, and digest a film with someone else gives us a chance to sort out the worldviews, ideas, and quality presented. One of the most practical ways to truly be in the world but not of the world is to identify with other believers what is “the world” and why (this kind of discussion is one of the main goals of CAPC). If we use this new XBox Live feature to regularly watch movies and shows with our friends instead of having them over, I fear that we might be passing up an extremely encouraging time of dialogue and sharpening each other.

On the other hand, there are some great possibilities this partnership opens up. Personally, this announcement is exciting because my wife and I are about to move out of state, away from all our family and friends. Since we both have many friends who play on Xbox Live, it will be neat to be able to watch movies “together” via Netflix, even if the only conversations we have afterward are through our headsets. In addition, this gives us just one more good reason not to have cable in our house. While there are ads on Live, it is relatively marketing free compared to cable TV.

Considering the great opportunities (if used properly) this new partnership offers Live users, the only frustrating aspect of the announcement for me was that no release date was given.

About Alan Noble

(Co-Founder/Editor/Columnist) is a part-time lecturer at Baylor University. He received his PhD in Contemporary American Literature from Baylor, writing on manifestations of transcendence in 20th Century American Lit. He and his family attend Redeemer Waco, a PCA church. Alan's passion is studying how believers can be a faithful presence in culture to the glory of God and the edification of others. In addition to editing, Alan writes his column, Citizenship Confusion for CaPC.

---Follow Alan on Twitter @TheAlanNoble and on Facebook.

---For questions, comments, or interest in speaking engagements please email me at noble.noneuclidean [at] gmail [dot] com.

  • http://www.aaronhall.com/ Minnesota Attorney

    Agreed. While I can’t see watching movies with friends miles away, I can see the benefit of quick access to watch a movie without driving to Blockbuster. Also, for those of us who don’t have cable, this service is another reason we don’t need cable.

    Minnesota Attorneys last blog post..Blog Law 101: Keeping Your Blog Legal

  • Alan Noble

    Well, the New Xbox Experience won’t launch with the Netflix party system, although it might be added later. The big news last week was that when NXE launches on the 19th, there will be 300 Netflix HD titles.

  • will

    so can you watch movies with friends over xbox live or no.

  • Alan Noble

    Will,

    At the time Microsoft announced NXE, they planed to include the ability for users to watch Netflix with other Live users who had a Netflix account; however, they cut this feature before the release. I think I’ve heard that they might add this feature, along with other “cut” features, later.

  • Alex

    It is really upsetting not being able to watch movies with other people. Why can’t they just release the entire feature?

  • Alan Noble

    Well, that feature was probably something they intended on implementing but couldn’t finish in time for release. It’s also a relatively unimportant feature, since in order for others to watch movies with you they also need to have a Gold account and a Netflix account. The novelty of the feature is that you’re watching simultaneously, which is only moderately interesting. They were probably focusing on features that would be more entertaining for Live users. We’ll probably see this feature someday.

  • Michealangelo

    Man, real bummer about not being able to watch Netflix in a party…do you know if you can invite people to watch a video that’s on your HDD?

  • Alan Noble

    Well, as I said, I think it will probably be a feature that they will add in the near future. The NXE has made it easier for Microsoft to update the software on your 360 (from what I’ve heard), so we might see that chance soon.

    As for inviting people to watch a video on your HDD, not that I’m aware of.


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