If you’re an Xbox 360 owner then you’re probably acutely aware that Microsoft has a brand new, completely revamped version of the Dashboard is on the way. Being the main interface into everything that goes on inside an Xbox 360, the Dashboard is an integral part of the experience, and this upcoming update is the biggest change it has undergone in quite some time.
Testers have been using the new Dashboard for a few weeks now, but tomorrow, December 6th is when everyone else can get their hands on it. Expect your machine to inform you of an update when signed into Xbox LIVE once the new Dash has been made available. Microsoft has not given a specific time that the new Dashboard will go live, other than to say it will happen on the 6th. Patience, apparently, is a virtue.
So what can you expect to see from the new Dashboard tomorrow? If you’re in the United States especially, your Xbox 360 could well become your entertainment box of choice, with video services being the biggest change beyond the new Windows Phone 7-inspired interface.
Microsoft clearly believes that the future is very much a ‘one box’ affair, with one machine under our TVs playing host to our gaming and video-watching experience.
We think you’re going to use one device for movies, music and games in the future,” said Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox Live entertainment and advertising, in an interview. “We want to make the content accessible and enhance the actual experience. We think you will will want to watch it on Xbox as it is more social and more personal.
New streaming video and ‘Video on Demand’ services will be made available via the new update as part of Microsoft’s vision of making its Xbox 360 that one, irreplaceable box under our big screen televisions. There will be a total of 40 entertainment services which would accompany the new Dashboard update, which is a screamer in a tech junkie’s dictionary. Some of the services are as follows:
4 on Demand (C4) in the U.K.; ABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Corp.); AlloCiné. France (AlloCiné); Germany (Filmstarts); Spain (Sensacine); United Kingdom (Screenrush); Astral Media’s Disney XD (Astral Media) in Canada; Blinkbox in the U.K.; Crackle (Sony Pictures) in Australia, Canada, U.K. and the U.S.; Dailymotion in 32 countries; Demand 5 (Five) in the U.K.; iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) in the U.S.; Mediathek/ZDF (ZDF) in Germany; MSN om Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and the U.K…
The full list is however, a huge one, so we would suggest you jump over to the source link to see what is being offered in your country and what isn’t.
More Video on Demand services will be added to the roster in 2012, so hang in tight, Microsoft is doing their best to push out entertaining content to all Xbox 360 owners out in the wild.
The new Dashboard will also feature Bing integration, allowing owners of the Xbox Kinect accessory to search the entire Xbox LIVE market of games, movies and music using the power of their voice. It is an interesting take on the hands-free approach to gaming that is currently the ‘in’ thing for Microsoft, and could perhaps be a similar thing to what Apple is reportedly working on with its Apple TV and Siri.
The Xbox 360 has come a long way since its initial release back in 2005. Then, the console was simply there to play games on, but as the years have past Microsoft has turned it into a media consumption machine that could become the heart of many people’s home entertainment experience.
Last but not the least, the Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone 7.x will go live tomorrow in the Marketplace. The aim of the app is downright simple; to give users complete control over their Xbox 360 right from the comfort of their smartphone. The app will allow users to search for content right from their smartphone, and once they’ve chosen what they want, they can just select and watch it on their big screen TV, all cable free. The price? Absolutely free, after all, Microsoft has to keep those diehard gamers happy somehow don’t they?