We've known it was coming for some time (and some users have already participated in the public beta period), but today we learn that Microsoft is finally beginning the global rollout of the all new Xbox 360 dashboard.
The update ships with plenty of new features, but one of the most-anticipated has to be Internet Explorer. This will finally turn your console/HDTV into a capable web browser. "With Internet Explorer on Xbox, you can easily find and view internet content on the biggest screen in the house, including HTML5 videos," says the Major Nelson blog.
Here's a full list of the updates:
- Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard. We’ve updated the UI with a few things, including an updated layout with more tiles, a combined TV & Movies channel and, in the US, a Sports destination.
- Internet Explorer for Xbox. With Internet Explorer on Xbox, you can easily find and view internet content on the biggest screen in the house, including HTML5 videos.
- Recommendations and Ratings. Recommendations will allow you to discover new favorites, 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 with our Xbox community. You can now rate content yourself and also see Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
- Pinning. Pinning lets you personalize the dashboard by saving your favorite movies, TV shows, games, music, videos and websites right to the home screen. It’s as easy as opening an app or a favorite movie and clicking “pin.”
- Xbox Video. Formerly called Zune Video Marketplace, Xbox Video offers hundreds of thousands of TV shows and movies for buying or renting in instant HD streaming.
- Recent. Previously called Quick Play, the Recent view gives you a list of movies, games, apps or other types of content that you most recently accessed on the console.
- Enhanced Search. 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 we added genre search to the list, so now you can search for action, comedy, romance, drama or sci-fi. Bing voice search now includes results for video across the Web, including YouTube.
- International Expansion of Voice Search. We’ve expanded our Kinect voice search capabilities to 9 new countries – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland.
This new dashboard update isn't the only thing Microsoft is launching this week. Today is also the big debut of Xbox Music, their Spotify-like streaming service that comes to the 360 today and all Windows 8 PCs and tablets on October 26th (as the new OS launches).
Unfortunately, everyone will not be receiving the update at the same time. The first batch of users to get it will total around 3 million. So, if you're not in the initial deployment - just sit tight. Microsoft says that everyone should have it within the next couple of weeks. This is to "ensure a stable release," they say.