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Australian XBox Live users with access to an HD-TV will soon be able to view instant-on 1080p movies with 5.1 surround sound, delivered via the Xbox.

Australian XBox Live users with access to an HD-TV will soon be able to view instant-on 1080p movies with 5.1 surround sound, delivered via the Xbox.

Microsoft has included Australia among 10 countries it has added to the list of markets for Xbox-delivered HD movies, bringing the total to 18. Other newbies are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Titles able to be received by Australian viewers have not been announced, but Microsoft says a “broad selection” will be available. They will start streaming instantly, in the highest video quality and at the push of a button, the company boasted at the E3 Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

But wait, there’s more for XBox users. Microsoft also announced plans for a new add-on device which will enable gamers to control Xbox 360 machines with body motions instead of hand-held controllers ­ an idea swiped from Nintendo’s highly popular Wii consoles.

Microsoft reckons its device, actually a 3D camera codenamed Natal ­ pictured ­ will outdo the Wii’s controller. Natal will be able to recognise voice commands and facial movements as well as track gestures, said Shane Kim, an Xbox vice president.

Kim declined to say when Natal would be released ­ except to say it won’t be this year.

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