In recent years, the Xbox has become much more than a gaming console. With links to cable providers and additional apps, it has become more of a unified set top box. There are many applications that are available on the console at this time which allow the user to access content such as from Netflix, Amazon, Crunchyroll, to name a few. It’s quite astounding how many things that aren’t video games that a consumer can now do on an Xb0x 360. Just this week, Twitch.tv announced that after a good long while in development, they were releasing an app for the Xbox 360 which will now allow viewers that own an Xbox 360 to be able to watch their favorite streams on their television.
Twitch.tv is the premier site for streaming and watching streams of your favorite games be it a console title or a PC title, and it’s where a lot of people go to watch the streams of major tournaments such as the Starcraft 2 WCS and League of Legends among other titles. People have been watching tournament coverage and streams of professional players on their television in their living room for quite a while now, although with some difficulty and some loops to jump through. In the past, people would either have media PCs in their living room, or they would run a long video cable from their PC elsewhere in their house. For those whose computers are in rooms elsewhere in their houses, this may prove to be difficult. Alternatively, a person who wished to watch Twitch.tv on their television could do so with an Apple TV and an iOS device, but again, not every household has these items.
Overall, the application works as advertised. It allows you to watch streams on Twitch.tv on your television with ease. Video quality is great, and for those with slower internet connections, quality can be toggled from high to low, and the application is smart enough to determine the appropriate quality of service on its own. The layout of the application is clean and upon startup, the view is presented a selection of popular channels and events to watch in a format that is very reminiscent of the Xbox home interface. At this point, the viewer can opt to filter down and look at who’s streaming by game. The interesting thing about the app is how much it aligns with the iOS app that was most recently updated by Twitch. Right now, only the top 300 streams are available, and it is not searchable. This is something that fans complained about in the iOS app, but Twitch has assured viewers that this is necessary to ensure that quality of their streams doesn’t suffer for viewers, and that this is the first step in getting all streams available across all of their apps and have it be completely searchable.
There is little to complain about the app. Owners of some televisions may have the top and side of their video cut off, but this is something rectified by turning off overscan, or in the case of my own Samsung television, setting the aspect ratio to automatic as opposed to 16:9. The experience of watching eSports tournaments on a larger screen television is fantastic, and a must have for any eSports fan that owns an Xbox. The application is also Kinect enabled, so it can be controlled with gestures and voice commands. Like with any other motion control functionality on the Xbox, this is a feature that will see very little use, but voice controls work and work well. Lying on the couch and ordering your Xbox to show a League of Legends or Starcraft 2 stream is really pretty awesome, and it’s almost as if we were living in the future or something. The only problem is that sometimes the audio on the stream can trigger the application to pause the video. Regardless of niggling issues, this is the preferred way to watch Twitch streams on television.