Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Netflix + 360 + Xbox Live = Awesome
Microsoft announced today at E3 a partnership with Netflix which will allow Netflix subscribers who own a 360 with a hard drive and Xbox Live to download over 10,000 movies without any extra fees. Thats right, if you already subscribe to Netlfix and Xbox Live, you will no longer have to wait for the mailman to bring your red envelopes to enjoy your favorite movies.
Now its seems like a win-win situation until you consider a couple of things. For starters, even though 10,000 movies sounds like a lot, it really isnt compared to the total number of DVDs Netflix carries - 100,000. So you're only getting a fraction of the total catalogue available. Secondly, the DVD video playback performance of the Xbox 360 is positively putrid. Now, this is something friends of mine like ubercrunch who are film buffs have pointed out to me in the past but Ive never noticed a huge difference. Well, after I got my PS3 I did some comparisons playing the same DVD on both the 360 and the PS3 and now its quite clear - the Xbox 360 offers rock bottom DVD video playback performance.
This is NOT a hardware issue with the Xbox 360 - its very simply a firmware issue, meaning it can be fixed with a firmware update. The 360 has a very powerful graphics card that is quite capable of performing the most acrobatic DVD video playback functions like deinterlacing and anti-aliasing. The problem is the Microsoft doesnt really care about DVD playback because it doesnt make any money selling DVDs. Now that the big MS has a deal with Netflix however, both Microsoft and Netflix have a vested interest in improving the quality of the Xbox 360's DVD playback if they want the service to succeed.