Microsoft to Sony: anything you can do, we can do faster.
After we got over excited about the PlayStation 3’s forthcoming support for DivX video, Microsoft’s XBox 360 has beaten Sony to the punch. The console’s latest software update adds DivX (and Xvid) video playback, which, after extensive testing, Gizmodo happily reports that in terms of DivX-compatibility, the 360 can now “play back pretty much anything”. Technically speaking, however, only DivX 5.0 and above is supported, which luckily should cover all but the oldest of DivX files floating around the web.
According to Gizmodo, it’s also now possible to playback supported video formats straight from CD or DVD, which will come in handy for those without a fast enough home network or no network at all.
One downside to the 360’s DivX support is that it doesn’t work when using the console in Windows Media Extender mode to stream video from XP or Vista running Windows Media Center. Instead, Windows Media Player 11 must be configured to stream video to the 360’s Dashboard. Considering that Windows Media Center, for the most part, is at the heart of Microsoft’s digital media strategy, this does seem like a major oversight, and one that I expect to be addressed in a near-future update.
In more XBox-related news, European users will finally get access to the re-named “Xbox Live Marketplace Video Store”, Microsoft’s paid-for video download service for the XBox 360.