Hands-on: ESPN on Xbox Live
Your Xbox is about to get a strong dose of sports programming. Scheduled to launch on November 4, a new ESPN channel in the XBL video marketplace will include access to more than 3,500 On Demand sporting events and hundreds of daily clips from ESPN.com including highlights, show clips, interviews and more. All video plays in HD (720p) and features full DVR functionality, including the ability to restart a live event from the beginning. During live games you'll also be able to predict the winner of a matchup and create a party chat with up to seven of your friends.
Overall, the channel features very intuitive navigation, allowing users to view upcoming programming and jump directly from one live game to another via an on-screen scoreboard. When Kinect launches in early November, users will also be able to use voice and gesture commands to navigate the service. (Voice commands are initiated by saying "XBOX," then issuing contextual commands from options that appear on the screen.)
Other options within the ESPN service will allow users to filter content by sport and set favorite sports to customize their experience. The ESPN channel will be available for free to Xbox Live Gold members, but your ISP must be affiliated or you'll only get the daily clips. Without a doubt, pairing the ESPN channel with updates to Netflix and Zune Music really ups the entertainment heft of Xbox Live.