Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 video game console will be able to stream thousands of movies over the Internet, thanks to a deal announced Monday with Netflix Inc. that highlights the way gaming devices are expanding into all-purpose home-entertainment hubs.
The arrangement, revealed at the E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles, will let Netflix subscribers stream 10,000 movies and TV shows to Xbox consoles for viewing on television sets, beginning this fall. Xbox had movies and shows available for download before, but only half as many.
"This generation of consoles will change the face of home entertainment more than any other generation before," said John Schappert, corporate vice president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment division.
As Microsoft vies for a stronger foothold in the living room, so is rival Sony Corp., which has tried to make its PlayStation 3 into a broader entertainment device by including Blu-ray high-definition DVD players in the consoles.
The deal with Microsoft also marks an important expansion for Netflix, whose 18-month-old streaming service — which supplements its DVD-by-mail program — has been available on computers instead of TVs, unless consumers had bought a small streaming device from a Netflix-backed startup called Roku Inc.
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