The newest Xbox 360 update finished rolling out to Xbox LIVE users today, adding loads of great new features to the console. But this time, the new features stretch past the Xbox 360 console, bringing Xbox entertainment to new Windows 8 PCs and tablets, to Windows Phone, and soon, even to iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. With this update, your Xbox music, video, and games can follow you across a variety of devices. Here’s what’s new:
- Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard - The updated user interface features a new layout, a combined TV & Movies channel and, here in the US, a Sports destination.
- 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.”
- Recommendations and Ratings - Recommendations will allow you to discover new movies, TV shows and games, 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.
- 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. Pin your favorite pages directly to the web hub or the dashboard.
- 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.
- Xbox Music - Replacing the prior Zune music service, Xbox Music lets subscribers stream, download, and discover music, or create Smart DJ playlists based on any artist, album, or song. You can stream tunes on your Xbox 360, and stream and purchase songs on your Windows 8 PC or Windows Phone 8 smartphone.
- 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 and 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.
Many of these updates tie in with Xbox SmartGlass as well. For example, using a Windows 8 PC with SmartGlass, I was able to search for a new album by typing the name on my PC’s keyboard, and then tell my updated Xbox 360 to play that album in the Xbox Music app. SmartGlass will tie in with other applications and games as well, allowing you to discover more about the actors onscreen in Xbox Video, create Party Time playlists for Dance Central 3, or control the awesome new Xbox 360 Internet Explorer browser using your tablet to scroll, select hotlinks, and more.
If you don’t have the update yet, you should receive it next time you connect to Xbox LIVE. Check out the great new features, and watch this blog for tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the new features in the update.