A Christmas present from Xbox

Merry Christmas, to all who celebrate it (and season’s greetings to those who don’t).

I’m typing this with one hand, the other cradling my newborn, having spent a few minutes earlier playing with the new update to Xbox Live. For a few weeks the new features have had a tantalising “coming soon” disclaimer, but today when I looked I could finally install the apps for digital catchup channels 4 On Demand and Demand 5, plus Youtube and last.fm.

It was pretty cool to be blasting Cop Shoot Cop through my television, courtesy of last.fm, and I can now stream films via LoveFilm, which is an improvement on the previous pay-per-view offering which had a lousy selection. BBC’s iPlayer will follow in 2012.

The new features include Twitter and Facebook, and Dailymotion as well as the aforementioned Youtube. There’s also a Sky app but I think you have to have a Sky TV subscription to use that. There’s additional functional support for Kinect, but since I don’t have Kinect I didn’t explore that area, plus cloud saves for your games. Finally, there’s a built in Bing search engine to make hunting down games and videos on Xbox Live that bit easier.

The downside of all this is that you have to be a Gold subscriber, but luckily there was a special offer to get three months for £6, which didn’t seem completely unreasonable. The usual fee is unreasonable, so I’ll have to decide what to do when my three months is up.

In the meantime, it should provide me with plenty to keep me occupied over the long winter months – but not too much this evening, as we have to be tucked up in bed before Santa gets here.

Merry Christmas!

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