Xbox Live offering free entertainment this weekend

Microsoft is kicking off an extra long weekend of freebies for non-Xbox Live Gold members, including access to YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Xbox 360 owners who don't have Live Gold accounts can join in on some of the usual festivities this weekend.

From April 19 through April 23, Microsoft is runing a special promo dubbed "Entertainment Unlocked," offering all Xbox owners a taste of free music, TV shows, and movies.

Xbox users who log in during Microsoft's extended weekend will find free access to SyFy, Crackle, Epix, YouTube, Vevo, and other entertainment sites. Netflix and Hulu Plus are kicking in free 30-day trials. And other online providers will offer streaming music and movies.

The promo is obviously aimed at drumming up more Xbox Live Gold memberships for Microsoft. But the offerings seem a bit slim. YouTube and some of the other sites can be accessed anywhere. And free 30-day trials for Netflix and Hulu Plus are always available to new users.

Microsoft is also focusing strictly on entertainment, meaning no free access to online gaming or other perks that Gold members enjoy.

As an Xbox user but non-Gold member, I'll certainly fire up my console this weekend to peek at the action. I'd enjoy a weekend of free access to Epix, SyFy, and a couple of the other services. But otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much being offered here that I can't already find elsewhere.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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