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More than just a gaming console

By TheTechDad

Last week marked the end of Microsoft’s exclusive deal with Netflix to stream their vast library of TV episodes and movies directly through the Xbox 360. The deal worked out well for both sides, giving Netflix another distribution outlet and allowing Microsoft to position the Xbox 360 as something more than a gaming console.

Now that the arrangement has come to an end, both the Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3 will feature Netflix software as a free download from their respective stores. The biggest beneficiary will undoubtedly be Sony, which can claim that it has the far and away the best deal in entertainment centers as we head for the busiest part of the holiday buying season.

Consider what you now get with the PlayStation 3:

  • A built-in Blu-ray player for watching TV and movies in full 1080p HD;
  • Built-in Wi-Fi;
  • Access to thousands of TV shows and movies and hundreds of games from the PlayStation Store;
  • Access to thousands of movies from Netflix;
  • 120GB of storage;
  • Fee membership of the PlayStation Network, with over 29 million members.

All this for just $299.99. Throw in another $100 and you can get a massive 320GB of storage and PlayStation’s new Move motion controller system.

And Microsoft’s not standing still with the Xbox 360. Its own motion controller system, Kinect, will be available on November 4. Although it will certainly add to the family gaming experience, the voice and motion-activated movie experience will be just as impressive.

When we talk about revolutionizing the living room, most of the recent chatter has been about Apple and Google’s set-top boxes and their so-far unsuccessful attempts to woo the networks. But if you’re an Xbox 360 or PS3 owner, you may want to forego the chance to buy yet another piece of equipment and take a fresh look at what you already have.

You may have thought you were buying a gaming console, but these days they are much, much more.

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Comment by Christy, posted 10/26/2010, 6:39 PM:

I'm confused. They've had streaming on the PS3 and Wii for awhile now. It has just required a free disc. And it's on the TiVo, too, of course.
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