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The technology colossus behind Xbox 360 videogame consoles - Photo by AFP

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Thursday unveiled ads for its popular Xbox Live online entertainment service that combine the interactivity of the Internet with old-school television viewing.

The technology colossus behind Xbox 360 videogame consoles said that Toyota, Unilever, and Samsung Mobile USA are developing campaigns tailored for "NUads" that will be rolled out at Xbox Live in three months or so.

"NUads marks the beginning of a new era for TV advertising," said Xbox Live entertainment and advertising general manager Ross Honey.

"It delivers the one thing traditional TV advertising is missing engagement."

Viewers of NUads can provide feedback, such as taking surveys or answering questions, using button and toggle controllers or motion or voice control capabilities of Kinect accessories for Xbox 360 consoles.

Advertisers get the potentially insightful data, plus generalized demographic information about respondents.

"We developed NUads to breathe new life into the standard 30-second spot," Honey said. "With NUads, brands can get real-time feedback from audiences, making TV advertising actionable for the first time."

Microsoft expected to charge premium prices for the Internet age television ads. Global revenue from television advertising this year will top $187 billion and climb in the years ahead, according to market trackers.

Microsoft this month stepped up its quest to be at the heart of home entertainment by syncing Xbox 360 consoles to smart phones and tablets while adding more blockbuster content.

Microsoft unveiled Xbox SmartGlass software for linking the world's leading consoles to iPhones, iPads, Android-powered gadgets and, of course, devices powered by the firm's new Windows 8 operating system.

SmartGlass capitalizes on the growing popularity of using Xbox Live to stream movies, music and other entertainment from the Internet.

The application lets people start watching a film on a tablet and then easily switch to home television screens without breaking continuity, a demonstration showed.

After a film routes to a television, the tablet automatically begins displaying supplementary information about actors or other topics related to the movie being watched.

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