Microsoft today has made good on some of the wishes from its Zune faithful, bringing the underdog multimedia device to Europe for the first time and integrating the Zune Marketplace with the Xbox 360. The device will also be getting a facelift this fall, eliminating the familiar click wheel in favor of a OLED touch screen and adding HD radio capabilities, HD video output, and a web browser.
Microsoft will show off the new integration at next week’s E3 where attendees will be able to see just how the addition will make a “game-changing entertainment experience,” bringing the Zune catalog of television and film to the Xbox Live audience.
“The Zune experience is growing beyond a music player in the U.S.” says Chris Stephenson, General Manager of Consumer Marketing for the TV, Video and Music Business, talking on their first foray into the European market. He continues by explaining the goal of their connected experience across TV, PC, and mobile screens, “Zune’s international expansion starts with video on Xbox LIVE; eventually we’ll offer the full digital entertainment experience spanning screens, devices, platforms and geographies.”
Zune’s addition to Xbox Live will also give us the option to instantly stream videos, just like the NetFlix service, but with content past the late 1980’s. The service will offer the ability to download videos too, for rental or to own, and take them with us on the go.
No word on whether the Zune Pass will come into play with these video offerings or if the service’s massive music catalog will be available via the Xbox Live service.