One of the big changes about how modern-day video game consoles function is that they do a lot more than play games. The trend started with the first Playstation, which embraced the CD format and let owners play music through their TVs. Sony’s been at the forefront multimedia multifunction consoles ever since, with the PS2 helping popularize DVDs and PS3s serving as the first Blu-ray player many people owned. As things shift to streaming media, each manufacturer’s jockeyed to get partnerships in place to make their console seem more attractive. Microsoft grabbed the first big get with Netflix compatibility a few years back and since then it’s been all about exclusivity.
Sony scored the coup when they entered into an agreement that secured Hulu Plus for them, letting PS3 owners watch every episode from every season of every show they offer from the networks ABC, NBC, and FOX. Members can view older seasons of many television shows, aswell. Hulu Plus costs an additional $8 but it’s still attractive for those wanting to view missed episodes on something other than a computer. The exclusive’s up, though, and now Xbox 360 owners can access the service through their machines, too. Here’s what Microsoft has to say:
“We’re proud to deliver the best in entertainment content like no other device in the living room,” said Pete Thompson, General Manager, Xbox LIVE. “Hulu Plus is an important addition to support our continued effort to expand entertainment on Xbox LIVE. And by adding the magic of Kinect, we’re truly transforming the way people enjoy their favorite entertainment.”
So, yes, you can use Microsoft’s ultra-successful motion-sensing camera to control the Hulu experience. How does it work? The motion controls are too fiddly and imprecise to be of much use; you’re not going to be browsing through your queue “Minority Report”-style by just waving your hands. Still, the voice recognition makes it so that you can launch programs just by saying “play.” Right now, the selection leaves a lot to be desired, too, but content libraries on streaming services have a way of changing very rapidly. Final verdict: Hulu Plus won’t make your Xbox 360 a replacement for your cable box but it’s a convenient option for stuff you may miss when life gets in the way.