It’s been about a year since Microsoft first unveiled an updated user interface to its Xbox Live media center, with lots of new content from video providers like HBO, Comcast, and Verizon, as well as a universal search interface. Since then, the Xbox team has been working on getting more and more content on the game console, as it positions Xbox as the media center hub in the living room.
So far, much of that effort has been focused around long-form movies and TV content, including apps for ESPN and other TV networks. But it’s finally getting around to adding short-form, Web-original content: That began a few weeks ago with the addition of Blip.tv, among other new content providers. And today Xbox live is adding content from AOL and Vimeo in the latest update to the service.
The AOL On Network has been added to Xbox Live, bringing a wide range of content from its ever-growing video library. The ad-supported video network includes more that 420,000 short-form videos from AOL properties such as Huffington Post, Engadget, and TechCrunch, as well as content partners that include Reuters, the AP, BBC, E!, ET Online, Sugar, Splash News, CNET, and Martha Stewart.
AOL has been working to get its video library on a number of connected devices, from the likes of Samsung, Roku, and Sony. But the new app takes advantage of some distinctively Xbox features, like Kinect controls that enable users to navigate through content with gestures and voice commands, according to Rob DelaCruz, GM of Connected TV and Mobile Video for the AOL On Network. Users can also instantly share videos with social channels like Facebook.
Vimeo also is coming to Xbox as part of this latest release, adding its user-submitted videos to the platform. The new app is designed to carry the same feel as Vimeo’s web site and its mobile apps, while also leveraging Kinect gestures and other features. Vimeo members who connect their accounts will be able to stay logged in, enabling them to access their own videos or those saved to their queue for later.
Users will also be able to create albums of Vimeo videos that can be saved for continuous playback for watching on their TVs. And Vimeo is adding instant share capabilities to the videos on Xbox, so that users can send them out to Facebook as well.
While they will add lots of new content to the Xbox platform, the new channels from AOL and Vimeo won’t be a part of Xbox’s universal search feature. That’s reserved mostly for movies and TV shows that are available through services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Microsoft’s own video store.