Xbox 360 Dashboard Update 2011 Impressions

December 10, 2011

Editorials, News, Xbox 360

Well, the long awaited Xbox Fall update has finally launched a few days ago, with a slew of new features. I must say I was very impressed by it, from the improved Kinect support to the very slick new UI system.

The Kinect will definitely connect more with the system than ever before. Users will get to navigate almost every panel, option and menu selection, either via virtual hand motions or more astonishingly, through voice commands. It’s quite a feat that players can now navigate full Xbox menus with a gentle swipe from your hand. The Kinect’s voice recognition feature allows you to pull up the new Bing search engine as well as the applications. Overall I found the connectivity and response from my voice commands and movements to be near perfect in every situation.

The Bing search engine pulls up every single item on the system that matches with your letter or word, whether it’s typed or verbally spoken from various sources. Saying “Transformers” for example will pull up a list of available Transformers movies , games, videos and music available through the Game Marketplace, Zune Marketplace, Netflix, Hulu, etc. The Bing search engine works very well, and is just one of the new techy ways that you’ll be able to find your content.

The Netflix app now gives you have the ability to navigate your full queue using Kinect, either with hand motions or simply voice commanding what you want to see and start streaming. The look of the menus has also been changed to give you more on-screen options at any time in an almost 3D like way, with streaming menu movie boxes coming right at you, accompanied by sneak previews of the title right from the first menu. The whole layout is much more sophisticated, giving you access to more information while maintaining a clean look.

For those who have Verizon FiOS, the Xbox will now support a Fios TV app that will add an extra 26 channels to your Fios package exclusively on the Xbox. In the Fios App, you will navigate supported channels, pause live events, and watch brief previews of TV shows.

All of this is only a fraction of what the update had to offer. Here is a list of new apps brought to the Xbox 360 in this update…

1. CinemaNow (Best Buy). United States

2. HBO GO (HBO). United States

3. MLB.TV (MLB Advanced Media)

4. Xfinity On Demand (Comcast). United States

5. Crackle (Sony Pictures). Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States

6. MSNBC.com. United States

7. TMZ (Warner Bros.). Canada, United States

8. UFC on Xbox LIVE (UFC). Canada, United States

9. Verizon FiOS TV. United States

10. VEVO. Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States

11. Vudu (Wal-Mart). United States

12. YouTube. Available in 24 countries globally

Hands down this is definitely one of the biggest facelifts and deepest amount of content Microsoft has ever delivered for the Xbox 360. They created a fresh new design that screams of sophistication and slick app style menus. Most of us are now familiar with app menu’s thanks to cell phones, iPads and Kindles and now with this update, the Xbox Dashboard has become a true technological and social media hub.

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