Xbox Live Gets Tuned up with On-Demand HD, Twitter, Facebook

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While developers have been busy cracking away at plenty of new titles for the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s in-house team has apparently been hard at work wrenching away on Xbox Live. At Monday morning’s press conference, the company announced a slew of new features it will tack on to the service.

First of note for movie lovers: Netflix support has been beefed up to no longer require a computer for selecting movies from the catalog – it can now be done directly on the Xbox with a built-in menu system. The video section of Live will now be known as Zune Video, and Microsoft has promised on-demand, instant streaming of full 1080p video. It will also be available in 18 countries, rather than the current 8 – though Microsoft didn’t reveal which ones yet. And as previously announced, the UK’s Sky TV will be available as a live stream.

For music fans, Live will also add support for the ultra-popular music hub Last.fm.

In a completely different vein, Microsoft has also added support for two of the most popular social networking sites: Facebook and Twitter. Both have been completely customized with Xbox-centric interfaces. Facebook, for instance, will allow you to upload screenshots of your favorite gaming accomplishments directly from the 360.

The company did not outline for rolling out the planned service upgrades.