How useful are video game consoles for streaming music and video, too? Both Rhapsody and Netflix are newly touting the tech-connection.
Waxing Rhapsodic: The subscription music service Rhapsody has just introduced an Xbox 360 app with a user interface customized for the platform. Tile-styled graphics mimic the now abiding Microsoft home screen look. And cooler still - if your set up includes the Xbox Kinect peripheral, you can use voice commands and gestures to ease the process of finding favorite music on Rhapsody, with shout outs (literally) for commercial-free radio channels, new releases, popular albums and personal playlists.
While other streaming music services (Spotify, Pandora and current/future iTunes) get more media attention, the Rhapsody service is Gizmo Guy's primary go-to source. That's because it's a great deal (starting at just $5 a month), has the biggest song and album catalogue and is the most ubiquitous. Rhapsody is available and well integrated on most mobile phones and tablets (iPhone/iPad, Android, RIM Blackberry and Windows, Verizon Wireless and Metro PCS), plus computers and devices from Sonos, Philips, Vizio, SanDisk and HP.
Of late, I've been using Rhapsody to get in the holiday spirit. There isn't an old or new Christmas or Hanukkah album/track out there - even the 58-song strong Sufjan Stevens collection "Silver and Gold" - that's not available.
PS3's In the Picture: What's the most popular device for delivering and viewing streamed movies and TV shows on a TV? Globally speaking that would be the Sony PlayStation 3, revealed the subscription music service and Sony Computer Entertainment America yesterday. While the PC is the "overall top viewing device" for Netflix content, "this year, at times" the PS3 "even surpassed the PC in hours of Netflix" viewing, said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
More intriguing, the high powered and upgradeable PS3 media console has become "the primary development platform" for Netflix, shared the interested parties. PS3 was the first computer entertainment system to deliver Netflix in full 1080p video resolution with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital Plus surround, as well as alternative audio options including subtitles. Now a new voice user interface dubbed "Max" is being tested on the PS3. And earlier this year, the Netflix/Sony CEA partnership produced the first screen-shifting option – allowing users to start watching a Netflix streamed movie on PS3, then move the show over to a PlayStation Vita portable wih the mere wiggle of a finger. That same stunt is also being touted by Nintendo as a hot feature of its new, dual screen-oriented Wii U game system.