Report: Microsoft removing Xbox Gold requirement for Netflix and Hulu

Microsoft is reportedly planning to remove the Xbox Live Gold requirement to access services like Netflix and Hulu, but may put other services (like its own original programming) behind a paywall to make up for it.

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One of the starkest differences between Microsoft and Sony's online offerings has been the Xbox Gold requirement to access video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Users can watch Netflix movies on PlayStation systems without being members of PlayStation Plus. Microsoft is reportedly planning to rectify that situation soon.

Ars Technica reports that multiple sources have been briefed on the upcoming change, in light of preparations for the company's upcoming E3 presentation. We might see the announcement during its media briefing, but the decision isn't final and the company could still change its mind.

Now for the bad news. Though Microsoft may remove the Gold requirement for streaming services like Netflix, other services could be put behind Gold to make up for it. The report is unclear on whether that would mean existing services becoming Gold-exclusive, or if it refers to the original content coming from Xbox Entertainment Studios. The latter would make sense, given that it would put it on par with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon that have begun to produce their own original programming.

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From The Chatty

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    May 13, 2014 7:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Report: Microsoft removing Xbox Gold requirement for Netflix and Hulu.

    Microsoft is reportedly planning to remove the Xbox Live Gold requirement to access services like Netflix and Hulu, but may put other services (like its own original programming) behind a paywall to make up for it.

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      May 13, 2014 7:13 AM

      nice, here comes a phone call to cancel my subscription

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      May 13, 2014 7:18 AM

      That would add a lot of value.

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      May 13, 2014 7:25 AM

      Hey, welcome to 2006, Microsoft! -_-

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      May 13, 2014 7:31 AM

      As a guy who recently purchased a Roku after using Xbox and then PS3 for years, everyone should get one of these little bastards. Or AppleTV or whatever. The convenience of "always on" alone has been worth it. It's so nice to just change inputs at get right back to streaming stuff. The reduced power consumption, the better experience (like HBO Go having 5.1 audio), the speedy interface... I love this thing.

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        May 13, 2014 7:36 AM

        Yea, I just got one as well, along with a Chromecast. Both are pretty great. Shame I can't use HBOGo on the Roku because we have Comcast, but that's where the Chromecast comes in handy.

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          May 13, 2014 7:38 AM

          I would've gone with a Chromecast, but I wanted wired. I live in a very dense area so WiFi suffers a lot. And the Roku 3 was $85 on Amazon last week so it seemed like a good time to grab one.

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            May 13, 2014 8:12 AM

            Yea, I put the Roku in the basement with me, but the Chromecast was more for my wife who generally spends most of her time in the living room or her craft room. She doesn't binge as much as I do so it was a simple solution so she could still watch Netflix/Amazon without having to move the roku all around or spend another $100 on a 2nd one.

            So far it has been working GREAT. We have been streaming Brooklyn Nine-Nine off Hulu+ from her phone to the TV (about 5 feet away) and she uses her phone while streaming with no lag or interruption. Quality is great as well.

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            May 13, 2014 8:28 AM

            Would help if the Chromecast wasn't problematic with n, so mine runs on g only. :(

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            May 13, 2014 9:36 AM

            Chromecast is kinda shit anyway

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              May 13, 2014 9:38 AM

              Totally agree. I never use mine.

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              May 13, 2014 9:40 AM

              For $30 is does the job fine for what we need it to do so I can't complain.

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              May 13, 2014 10:16 AM

              Good to know.

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              May 13, 2014 10:37 AM

              What? No. I've never had any issues with it. Why is it shit?

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                May 13, 2014 10:48 AM

                I can watch YouTube on it pretty good, although the iPhone app is kinda crappy. Netflix doesn't work in Canada.

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                  May 13, 2014 10:49 AM

                  That has nothing to do with the device at all.

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                    May 13, 2014 10:50 AM

                    The experience of using the device has nothing to do with the device?

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                      May 13, 2014 10:52 AM

                      Netflix not being available in your country? How is that related to the Google device?

                      The iPhone YouTube app itself is also not related. Chrome cast support is just adding a button to choose your output.

                      It's fantastic at what it offers.

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                        May 13, 2014 10:53 AM

                        OK I'll just use the controls on the device itself. Oh there are none!

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                          May 13, 2014 10:55 AM

                          So did you literally buy it for YouTube only?

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              May 13, 2014 10:47 AM

              Not really. It's worth it just to be able to watch flash videos in full screen. Flash streaming of TV/Sports content is pretty common, so it's super handy for that alone.

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                May 13, 2014 10:50 AM

                You don't find it super laggy?

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                  May 13, 2014 10:53 AM

                  Screen mirroring can lag depending on your wireless scenario. None of the native streaming options have lagged for me and I use mine constantly since they were released.

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                  May 13, 2014 11:06 AM

                  Nope.

                  It occasionally breaks up and takes a few seconds to get going again, but I can live with that. I also think that is down to the source most of the time too.

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                    May 13, 2014 11:13 AM

                    I'm sure it's mostly the source, but I've definitely noticed a quality difference between my PS3 and my Roku, so the hardware/app seems relevant. I've been watching Archer on Netflix, and since it's animated it's easy to tell when the quality dips below HD, which it did frequently on my PS3. On the Roku it starts in SD for a few seconds but goes to HD and stays there.

                    It could be other factors, but all in all the Roku experience has been great.

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                  May 13, 2014 11:35 AM

                  Like I said to Nat above, we have been streaming from the phone, while still using it with no issues at all. In full HD too.

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                    May 13, 2014 11:49 AM

                    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the phone never actually streams anything to the Chromecast. The phone just tells it what to get from the internet.

                    It's good to hear you don't have issues though. At $30 I could see myself picking one up just to have a travel with (despite the lack of hotel support, which is a bummer).

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                      May 13, 2014 12:07 PM

                      Yeah I think if there's a dedicated app (like YouTube) then the Chromecast itself gets the content directly, the phone just controls it

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              May 13, 2014 11:19 AM

              Not being able to work in hotels completely unsold me on the device. I was only going to use it for travel.

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                May 13, 2014 11:34 AM

                Get a travel router. I never connect directly to hotel wifi/ethernet. It also makes it easier for the laptop/ipad/etc to connect to wifi since you're travelling with the same Wifi network name.

                I bought this TP link one a year ago and it's awesome. It's about 2"x2" and can be powered off a USB port.

                http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WR702N-Wireless-Repeater-150Mpbs/dp/B007PTCFFW/

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                  May 13, 2014 11:46 AM

                  Doesn't this require you to have an ethernetport in the room? How do you "signin" with one of these? Do you just do it once in a broswer and then your whole router is "unlocked"?

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                    May 13, 2014 12:28 PM

                    It works best with an ethernet port. I've tried to connect to wifi with it and create a new wifi network but sometimes it works and other times it doesn't.

                    And anything connected to the router is basically "unlocked" for hotel internet if you connect the router first, and then connect with your laptop/tablet to your router and proceed to the hotel wifi sign in page.

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        May 13, 2014 10:17 AM

        Yeah I have 3 now, one from every generation, and they all work great. The Gen 1 is starting to show it's age but I always choose those over xbox/ps3 and the built in tv apps.

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        May 13, 2014 10:33 AM

        Could you plug in an external bluray drive on one of these and play discs? My HTPC's getting old and I'm starting to weight my optionsé

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          May 13, 2014 10:41 AM

          I don't think so. There's probably a better option for that, like a Boxee or something.

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      May 13, 2014 7:55 AM

      I wonder if other entertainment apps are included in that like Amazon Video.

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      May 13, 2014 8:04 AM

      I'm surprised that it took this long for Netflix and Hulu to make Microsoft do this. Microsoft was the only people charging a "pay wall" to use services that Netflix and Hulu were already being paid for. Those services had no business being behind a pay wall.

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        May 13, 2014 8:07 AM

        Why do we think they "made" Microsoft do this? If anything Microsoft had no reason to remove them from behind the paywall until they started seeing a slip in subscriptions and could attribute that to things like this.

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      May 13, 2014 9:30 AM

      So stupid. Buy a 80$ machine that doors this stuff or a 500$ machine that requires a subscription. What the hell were they thinking?

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        May 13, 2014 9:34 AM

        well, i don't know of anyone who buys a console just for the apps. they are a bonus and if you're buying an xbox one you pretty much are going to have a live subscription.

        i welcome the change but it's not like roku is competing with xbox or playstation.

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        May 13, 2014 9:35 AM

        Why door that stuff when you can Windows it?

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        May 13, 2014 10:05 AM

        Number of people that bought an Xbox One for Netflix = Zero.

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      May 13, 2014 11:04 AM

      heh, what about Amazon Prime? I literally just ordered the Amazon TV box Sunday because my Gold membership on my 360 expired Sunday, and I was in the midst of watching 24 and Vikings and what not and had no clue you had to have Gold to watch Prime. Did I just waste my money on Amazon TV?

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      May 13, 2014 2:01 PM

      If they would have done this launch I probably would have bought one.

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        May 13, 2014 3:25 PM

        Ayup. This was my last big objection to the XBO. I still don't like the Metro interface, but I can at least work with that.

        Of course now I don't have the money to get one, but maybe sometime down the line.