Aging Consoles Find New Life as Video Streaming Devices

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News Posted: Fri, Dec 16 2011 1:19 PM
Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is six years old. The Nintendo Wii is five years old, and so is the Sony PlayStation 3. All three are due for an overhaul (can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?), and while they're still popular gaming platforms, consoles are really starting to shine as streaming media centers.

According to market research firm Nielsen, streaming video on game consoles is up over last year. Xbox 360 owners now use their consoles to stream video 14 percent of the time, which is almost as much as PS3 users (15 percent). But it's the Wii that sees the most time as a streaming device, with Wii owners using their consoles to stream video a third of the time.

"This growth is fueled by the availability of services like Netflix, Hulu, MLB Network and ESPN3," Nielsen said. "Time spent on game consoles in general is also on the rise. Metered console usage data from the first half of 2011 shows that the three platforms combined are up 7 percent in user time versus the year prior. Taken together, these findings suggest that streaming is incrementally adding to the time users are spending with consoles."

This isn't by accident. Microsoft, for example, just rolled out a major Dashboard update that adds voice-controlled navigation and a bunch of apps related to media content. It's part of a big push to make the 360 a centerpiece in the living room.

Do you own a console, and if so, do you use it to stream video?
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No I do not own a console but my friend has the 360 and I was just mentioning how I wish this technology was around when I had the Nintendo.

Online content has taken it to a new level.

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LLeCompte replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 1:29 PM

My room mate and I use his ps3 to steam Netflix and stuff from my works really well and is pretty easy to use. My other friend actually bought a ps3 just to stream and watch bluray. Plus if you shop around, you can find gaming systems at the same price as "Nefflux boxes" such as the roku box.

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AKnudson replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 1:33 PM

These numbers make sense. they are fairly indicative of what i have noticed happening in the gaming circles around me. Xbox Playstation and Wii have started to fade as video game consoles, the most usage in my town is for netflix and halo or modern warfare.

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LBowen replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 2:07 PM

I use my consoles strictly for gaming. I tried streaming once but since then I purchased a Logitech Revue and have been using that for streaming.

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KWalsh replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 2:10 PM

yep xbox, my 3yr old watches stuff of it all the time. It would have been great growing up with this ability, always had to drive 6 miles to the next town to rent (VHS) movies.

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I use My PS3 occasionally to watch netflix, But to be honest there are very few good movies on netflix I want to watch. Mostly I use my PS3 to play offline by myself of with a friend next to me. 

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Manduh replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 2:34 PM

We have all three consoles but only stream on the PS3 oo my laptop - hooked up to a 52" HDTV. I still haven't gotten the component cables for the Wii to get any decent video quality for NetFlix. The XBOX360 is in the bf's 'batcave' and it's just for his gaming.

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Inspector replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 2:47 PM

I can't imagine gaming on a computer that hasn't been updated (at least one major upgrade) once a year or two. I needa get mines fixed if i want to stream anything :D, or just use my computer :P

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I don't know why but I think of consoles as being greared toward children. I had several of a child. All my gaming is now done on a pc. I could never go back to a console for gaming. The streaming feature does make them more attractive and unlike pc's you don't have to upgrade a console.

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OmniDeus replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 3:34 PM

oh dear god, it's so hard to think of gaming on a pc thats half a decade old! i take high offense to that, most Americans are so spoiled by the fast release of electronics and gadgetry its pathetic. I game on a pc that's almost 15 years old, guess what, i can still play some of the top games that just came out last week. It's called upgrading your system, it's something console gamers don't have the option of doing. "ohh nooo my pc is almost 5 years old--wat it doo!?" Grow up, stop wasting money on buying a new system every 5 years and put that money in a safe place for your retirement. The only person who should be worried about buying a new system every 5 years is a system admin, not joe schmoe who likes to play skyrim on on a 402inch plasma oled holographic screen with a tower that boasts 1tb of ram and 60thz cpu. Stop being the redneck of the computer nerd community "You know you're forever alone when you spend more money on computers a year than your early retirement."

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BBlue replied on Fri, Dec 16 2011 4:10 PM

I think you've missed what they were inferring -- you've upgraded your pc... that, to me, means it's not actually almost 15 years old. You've had to upgrade it in order to play newer games. That is what I believe they were referring too. Sure, though, I do agree that most Americans are spoiled etc. Excess is everywhere.

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Offline game? I can't handle those lol

I'm a multiplayers kinda guy :)

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"(can you imagine gaming on a PC that's half a decade old, or more?)" yep most definitely I have one :P plus the PS3 is exactly like it. Yep I use my PS3 for streaming more than for games... they are just far too expensive when I can wait a couple of months and get the same title for 30 dollars for my PC and enjoy it much more.

@Manduh for cables its the way to go.

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My sister rarely plays games on her Wii. She mainly uses it to stream movies from Netflix. It works great, and to her, a better use of her spare time. She'd rather watch comedies than game.

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