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Microsoft announces Xbox streaming media deals

Microsoft has reaffirmed plans to turn its Xbox 360 games console into the heart of living-room entertainment, detailing new streaming media services that are due to launch on the system in December.

"A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place - your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports," enthused Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, during the announcement. "With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever."

While the Kinect integration, which allows users to search for web content using voice commands, is a major part of Microsoft's vision for its Xbox console, there's also plenty for those without the sensor-based control peripheral to get their teeth into come the update.

The company has confirmed that a range of streaming services will launch with the regular 'Fall Update' dashboard software release on 6th December, although only one - Lovefilm, which is already available on rival Sony's PlayStation 3 platform - will be available to UK users.

Thankfully, that rather poor showing will improve later on in December: 4OD, Screenrush, Blinkbox, Crackle, Dailymotion, Demand 5, MSN, Muzu.tv, VEVO and YouTube will all slowly come on-line as Microsoft enables their respective client applications. Later, in 'early 2012,' Microsoft claims that the BBC, MLB.TV and Telenovelas/Sports will also join the list.

Finally, Microsoft has confirmed that the free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone will be launched with the ability to find and control streaming content via Xbox Live.

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