It’s that time of the year again, and with the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has brought their dashboard for Xbox 360 in-line with their other offerings.
So, lets look at some of the highlights:
Xbox Music & Xbox Video
The official release of the new Xbox Live Dashboard comes with “Xbox Music”, the newly re-branded Zune music-service from Microsoft.
“Xbox Video” offers hundreds of thousands of TV shows and movies for buying or renting in instant HD streaming.
You can find out all about the new offering over at the official page – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/2012/oct12/10-14XboxMusic.aspx
The all-in-one music service combines the best aspects of free-streaming radio, music subscription services, and music purchasing options, all in one elegant package, says Yusuf Mehdi, corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Marketing and Strategy. No longer do people have to rely on “service hopping” to get the music they love.
Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard
The dashboard has been updated with more tiles, and a combined TV & Movies channel. To be honest, there’s not too much of a difference, as this had been updated previously to the new style.
With Internet Explorer on Xbox, you can easily find and view internet content on the biggest screen in the house, including HTML5 videos.
The new dashboard is pretty difficult to navigate with a controller, but hopefully Kinect motion navigation is only a stones-throw away.
Recommendations and Ratings
Recommendations allow you to discover new content. These recommendations are generated based on a number of variables including the content you previously viewed, what your friends are consuming and what is most relevant and popular within the Xbox community.
This feature lets you personalise your dashboard by saving your favorite items onto the home screen. That could be movies, TV shows, games, music, videos or even websites.
This is a re-branded version of a feature previously called Quick Play. “Recent” gives you a list of movies, games, apps or other types of content that you most recently accessed on the console.
The last Xbox LIVE update brought Bing voice search to Xbox so you could use voice to search for movies, TV shows, actors, directors and artists. This year, genre searching has been added to the list – so now you can search for action, comedy, romance, drama or sci-fi.
Improved International Voice Search
Kinect voice search capabilities has been expanded to nine new countries – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland.
Removal of Facebook & Twitter
According to a Microsoft representative who spoke to IGN, the firm is “retiring the Facebook and Twitter apps” as it works to streamline functionality.
You can still post updates to either of the apps, but you need to do it via the new Internet Explorer app.
Microsoft SmartGlass is an updated version of the existing Xbox companion. This time however, it is a companion application which will be available for Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012, Windows Phone, Android & iOS.
So, what are you going to be able to do with SmartGlass? The idea is that your tablet (or phone or computer) becomes an extra display for the content on your Xbox 360. It can for example, provide a cast list for the movie you’re watching, or a display a map in the new Forza Horizon title.
A demo of the functionality within games was provided by Microsoft, showcasing the functionality in the new Madden 13 game.
Let me know your thoughts on the latest releases in the comments section below!