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Xbox 360 Spring Dashboard Update brings highly requested features

April 18, 2007

With the May 7th (and onward) Dashboard Update date looming on us, I thougght I’d give a quick recap on the features listed by Major Nelson and the news release at Xbox.com.

 

Xbox 360 controller and keyboard - Picture credit: Microsoft/Major Nelson The main feature to be touted is the connectivity with Windows Live Messenger. Now one can communicate with friends and relatives who may be on their mobile device or PC..or playing on their Xbox 360! To better enable those without USB eyboards plugged into their Xbox 360s, Microsoft will be releasing a mini QWERTY keyboard around summertime. It will plug into the controller, apparently this is also backlit and will come with its own headset, as the connection for existing wired headsets will be lost to the keyboard.

Other dashboard related updates include:

Achievement notification tells you which achievement you have unlocked along with the points earned. Should save waiting a few seconds for the achievement blade to popup and then realise the game you were playing didn’t automatically pause.

Enhanced family settings for Xbox LIVE communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat…I wonder what defaults.

There will be a dedicated Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade. This will make it alot easier to access anything on the Marketplace whether you are after demos, gamer pictures, trailers or arcade games; they will all be accessible from the same blade.

Expanded ‘Tell a Friend’ capabilities to brag about achievements and scores….WTF?

An new option in Auto Downloads provides faster access to the entire collection of free, trial versions of Xbox LIVE Arcade games.

Ability to rewind, pause and fast forward videos being downloaded from the Live Marketplace as it is being downloaded.

A great feature is the one that allows the Xbox 360 to turn off after downloads have been completed.

A heavily requested feature is the ability to see what game is in the drive tray from the Dashboard, this has been fulfilled.

Highlighting the image of the drive tray on the dashboard will display achievments and gamerscore for the current game. Apparently xbox 1 games will show the picture of the game instead. Would have been nice if current Xbox 360 games did this also.

Other stuff:

  • Integrated support for the new Xbox 360 text input device. Note that this device includes a new wired headset.
  • Playback progress bar indicates download completion.
  • Switchable aspect ratio now available during video playback (Auto to Letterbox, Zoom, Stretch, Native).
  • Player and friends lists now quickly show session presence information for quick identification of users that are joinable.
  • Added H.264 video support: Up to 10 Mbps peak, Baseline, Main, and High profiles with 2 channel AAC LC.
  • Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 5 Mbps peak, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC.
  • Show folder hierarchy for video content played from all devices.
  • Bookmarks are stored for each video that the user plays remembering the users last location in the file as well as the aspect ratio that the user choose for that file.
  • Video trick modes (fast forward, rewind, chapter skip) can now be used while downloading Video Marketplace content.
  • Skip forward and backward functionality has been improved to skip to the next or previous chapter. Each video is divided into 10 “chapters” allowing you to quickly skip around video content.
  • The information bar that is turned on via the On Screen Display (OSD) now shows you exactly where you are in the playback of the video file.  In addition it will also show for Video Marketplace content how much of the file has been downloaded and where the “chapters” exist in the file.
  • Windows Media protected content (WM-DRM) can now be streamed from the PC to the console. If the WM-DRM license is missing or corrupted then a specific error message is displayed to the user. Bookmarking is also stored for protected content.
  • When a user selects an item for download from Marketplace then the system will determine if there is sufficient disk space for the item and, if not, will ask the user to delete content on the HDD. The system provides a sorted by size list of videos, game trailers, demos and arcade content to aid the user in the deletion process. The same list of items are also available from within memory so that users can quickly see which items are consuming the most disk space.
  • The console will block the user who attempts to download content onto a storage device that will never have the capacity to store the item without deducting any points associated with the content item.
  • The screensaver is disabled when playing photos from any source
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    Links:
    Xbox.com
    Major Nelson

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