A few days ago we posted a video which demonstrated all of the new dashboard updates briefly, but nothing was official at that point. A more complete list of features has now been released on Xbox.com. It still doesn’t list every tiny change, but the majority of us probably won’t be interested in small bugfixes anyway.
The biggest feature is definitely the Windows Live Messenger integration and even though it’s quite useless without a keyboard, we’re looking forward to it nevertheless. A lot of the changes are small things which just make life a little easier while browsing through the dashboard or just playing some games.
Microsoft also announced a new keyboard add-on for the Xbox 360 controller. It works on both wired and wireless versions and can easily be attached and detached on the point where your wired headset normally goes. With the keyboard attached it’s still possible to use a headset, the port is simply replicated on the bottom. By the looks of it, the keyboard won’t hinder you that much during intense gaming action. A price nor release date has been confirmed. At this moment, only screenshots for a QWERTY layout have been published, perhaps new models with different layouts will become available later. Below you’ll find screenshots of the new keyboard add-on and what the messenger integration looks like in the dashboard.
- A richer Achievement notification pop-up will showcase the name of the unlocked Achievement and the gamerscore value without needing to leave the game to check the Achievements list.
- Enhanced family settings features for Xbox Live communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat.
- A new Xbox Live Marketplace blade lets Xbox Live members access the content they seekâ€”whether it is game content or TV shows and movies (available in the United States)â€”from one place on Xbox Live.
- Updates to Xbox Live Arcade allow owners to quickly see which Xbox Live Arcade games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox Live members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and Achievements directly with all friends on their friends list. Expanded “Tell a Friend” capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.
- Expanded “Tell a Friend” capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.
- A new option in Auto Downloads provides faster access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox Live Arcade games.
- New progressive download controls provide easy access to optimal viewing options by letting people fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace.
- Extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.
- The name of game in tray is now displayed in the dashboard.
- When the tray icon is highlighted, a list of achievements, game icon and gamerscore for that game is displayed.
- Playback progress bar indicates download completion.
- Improved skip forward, skip back functionality during video playback.
- 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.
- Support for streaming WM-DRM protected content from a PC
- Folder view for video content on connected devices
- H.264 video support: Up to 15 Mbps, Baseline, Main, and High (up to level 4.1) Profiles with 2 channel AAC LC and Main Profiles.
- Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 8 Mbps, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC and Main Profiles.
- 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 â€śchaptersâ€ť 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 â€śchaptersâ€ť 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 the user is in the dashboard and an Xbox 360 game is in the console then the name of the game is displayed in the tray icon of the dashboard. If the user highlights the tray icon then achievements and gamer score are displayed for that game based on the signed in user. Xbox1 games show the name and image of the game.
- Bookmarks are stored for each video that the user plays. The user can delete all bookmarks but this will reset all bookmark information for every video that the user has played. The bookmark database is exposed in the system/memory/system items
- 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
Perhaps it’s not as much as last year’s list but on the other hand, a whole bunch of these improvements are rather big and really add something new.
Thanks to xKuDaNaTx, nofear360, arjun712, Malik112099, Buuuudddy, Stonie, Joe Corrall and Xanion for submitting this news.