Netflix unifies its browsing experience in its newest update

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdzV5bkFTaM&w=853&h=480]  

If you've used Netflix before, you know it's an amazing entertainment service for your favorite TV shows and movies. Its only downside is when you're using it on multiple devices. The user interface differs from Xbox 360 to PS3 to Apple TV and so on. But today Netflix decided to change that. Today they announced they're getting rid of its well-known grid view and bringing you a whole new setup that feels more like normal TV.

This is what you will see when you choose an item from your Queue.
This is what you will see when you choose an item from your Queue.

The main screen has gotten rid of the poster setup and replaced it with widescreen thumbnails for each show. Once you pick an item, the top half of the screen will display images from the show or movie you are currently looking at. The lower half will give you a small synopsis and what Netflix is calling its "evidence". Adding in a social aspect, if one of your Facebook friends likes an item in your queue, the evidence will tell you. Also, if a show is being recommended because of another item already in your Netflix Queue the evidence will show the connection. Making the experience even better, searching has been updated. So not only can you search an item's name but also people in the show. So if you can't remember the name of that one TV show from the 90's but know the main actors name (even the writers or directors) you can still find the show.

Want to find that one episode of the show you love but can't remember the episode number? Netflix solves that with short write ups of each episode!
Want to find that one episode of the show you love but can't remember the episode number? Netflix solves that with short write ups of each episode!
The new search feature should make finding the most obscure shows a breeze.
The new search feature should make finding the most obscure shows a breeze.

The roll-out begins today, starting with updates for PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PS3, Roku 3, and a couple of TVs and Blu-Ray players in the next two weeks. Apple TV won't get the update so it can stay uniform with the rest of the apps. The same with Xbox One, keeping its Windows 8 "metro" feel. And, of course, no update is expected for the Wii and Wii U. Old devices will be upgraded over time but Netflix says that after the first two weeks 50% of the users will be on the new Netflix UI. After the upgrade is complete, any device with the new UI will roll-out new features everywhere at once.

Microsoft Drops A 12 Minute All-In-One Demo For The Xbox One

With the Xbox One only being two weeks away from launch Microsoft has given us an all inclusive demo of what the Xbox One can do. Here's some of the more noticeable features Yusuf Mehdi and Marc Whitten showed off.  

  • If the console isn't signed in if the Kinect is uncovered as soon as it sees you, you'll sign in.
  • If multiple people are in the room, the first person who it recognizes has their personal dashboard up on Xbox one.
  • To switch to another dashboard, the other user just has to say "Xbox show my stuff" and it will go to their personal dashboard.
  • When you get a party invite or a Skype call you can hold down the Xbox button on the controller for details (this feature will probably be used for more alerts on the Xbox One like achievements also)
  • When editing clips for the "Game DVR" in the "Upload Studio" app you can do a picture in picture video recording of yourself with the game giving you the ability to live narrate what's happening.
  • You can also add "skins" to the video which are basically different filters to make your video unique.
  • Once you upload the video after 50% of the video is rendered it will playback showing what you just created.
  • All your friends and followers will see your videos in the "Activity Feed"
  • When watching television the "One Guide" can be searched with voice, finally eliminating any need to find your remote to change the channel.
  • You will have a favorites  section in the One Guide that can be TV channels or actual apps on the Xbox One, for example you can have ESPN, ABC, Vudu, FXX, Hulu Plus, and Comedy Central all together in the channel favorites.
  • If another person who is signed in says "Xbox show guide" it'll switch over to their personal guide.

Check out everything the Xbox One has to offer in the full video here

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhe6jV-APwM&w=853&h=480]

 

The Xbox One Tour Stops In DC

The Xbox One Truck
The Xbox One Truck

The Xbox One Tour has been traveling throughout the country since late October and today, November 6, 2013, the van stopped in the Adams Morgan area in Washington, D.C. to give fans a taste of what they can look forward to when the console is launched. The van brought three games to show off: Killer Instinct: Forza 5, and Fifa 14. All of them looked very impressive.

The biggest shock of them all to me was how smooth Killer Instinct played. No frame-rate hiccups, really deep and vibrant colors, and it made me realize that Killer Instinct is one of those games that you actually have to play to get a feel for whether you’ll like it or not. I have seen plenty of YouTube videos of the game where they do the same moves over and over again, and it makes the game look sort of dull. Almost like if you were watching two people who’d never played a fighting game before and were happy with what they were accomplishing. But when I got the controller in my hand, it was more than what I was expecting. I haven’t played a Killer Instinct game since Killer Instinct Gold on the Nintendo 64. I forgot the type of combos you can do in that game. I’m not sure if they took the No Mercy moves, which was their version of the Fatality, out of the game since there wasn’t any prompt or something notifying us to perform it, but the Ultra Combo was there for sure. The demonstrator who was running the event told me that he has seen a one thousand hit combo during one of his stops. It had a lot to do with performing the Ultra, canceling, and performing it again.

The Xbox One
The Xbox One

When it came to exploring the console itself, we weren’t allowed to exit out of the games in fear that “it may shut down the whole setup”. I was told that they were running on dev kits with “demos” of the games installed on them. Could this mean the same demos that were on these consoles will be there at launch? Hope so, because these are good use cases for people who are walking into a Gamestop or a Wal-Mart and have to chose between the two consoles that are arriving in a few weeks.

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The one thing that I really got out of this stop was the controller. They showed off a re-design during the announcement of the console that left a few wondering what it felt like and if they were going to keep some familiarity with the 360 controllers from this generation. Let’s face facts here, the 360 wasn’t the only one who benefited from that controller. PC users, especially ones that use Steam, love the 360 controllers and it let gamers who weren’t down with PC gaming gain entry by letting them use something that was familiar. With that being said, the Xbox One controller feels like an old friend that you haven’t seen in a while. It looks different and acts different, but the feeling you get when you’re around it is the same. In fact, the only difference that I felt with the controller is the plastic matte finish they put on it and the flatness in the middle of the controller. The flat middle comes from the battery pack that is now also flat and the movement of the home button that is more towards the top of the controller, rather than in between the start and back buttons. The finish on the controller gives it a different feel. It almost feels kind of rugged, giving it sort of a grip in your hand, making it feel like you would never drop this thing unless you threw it for some reason. They have improved the D-Pad in a major way. The pad still has the same design as the 360 controller but the D-Pad itself is recessed into the controller with a circle going around and touching each part of the pad directions. While it is improved, I found myself jumping straight in the air when I was trying to move up and forward in Killer Instinct. Could it have been me not paying attention to what I am doing? I’m not sure.

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Playing Forza 5 showed off how the rumble in the triggers felt and I have to say, it is impressive. The triggers aren’t overpowering and it’s just enough to make you feel that hard turn you take when you press the brake and the accelerator. I felt myself using the rumble to make myself turn better around corners in the game and the use of the rumble as a mechanic when you are turning is really smart no matter if it is on purpose or not. By the way, Forza is beautiful. The sun in your eyes, the landscape, the track, the cars, and the rearview mirror are all things in this game are well made. That was the showcase of this whole event in my opinion and it really showed me what this console could do. This has been pre-ordered.

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I left the event wanting more and with a bunch of questions that I need answered, none having to do with resolution, price, or any other thing that the Internet is upset about to this point. I want to try out some of the OS features they were showing off during the unveiling. I want to see how other games play and who else will take advantage of the triggers and in what way. I want to see how they improved the Kinect since that is the reason why the console costs $100 more than the PlayStation 4. Up to this point, I wondered if there was a real reason to upgrade to new hardware other than having a game like Watch Dogs, which got delayed, come out and be the game that you’re buying this for. After this event, I am really looking forward to the 22nd, more now than I was when I first pre-ordered the console in June. I’m pretty excited now. Let’s hope that there is more to be excited about.

-Everett Street

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