If you’ve been waiting for the future to hit your living room it’s now less than 24 hours away. Xbox 360′s dashboard update is set to release to everyone on December 6th, 2011. All features from layout updates, channel differences, app partners and Kinect integration will all be updated in one big swoop.
The new Kinect features rival technology from Apple’s Siri which has gained a lot of steam with consumers. Just like you can talk to Siri and have commands done for you, you’ll be able to talk outloud to the Xbox Kinect Hub and change menus, pages and move through the entire Xbox interface.
Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft said, “A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place, your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports. With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever.”
Another major Kinect feature that will be included in this major Xbox 360 update is integration with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. You will be able to search Bing with just your voice and navigation the Internet where ever you want with voice commands. All Xbox Live services will be attached the Kinect voice commands and searching can be done through all services.
A search for “Bing Brad Pitt” should be able to find you all things that activate the Brad Pitt keywords as well as other services and content in the Xbox Live list. If you get sick of using your voice you can go back to the old way and use a keyboard or Microsoft controller to navigate all the menus.
Content and applications will have a big push in this round of Xbox Live updates too. Featured partners that have been announced around streaming video content over Xbox Live are places like MSNBC Today, Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, HBO and EPIX. Some of these services require an extra subscription to their plans but they will all be ready to go as long as you have an account with them.
One thing that Playstation had on Microsoft’s Xbox was it’s abilities to use cloud storage to store games for access anywhere. This has now been implemented in the Xbox Live platform allowing users to use the new cloud-saving features that will transfer this data for use anywhere in the world.
YouTube & Facebook are major portals for content and social media interaction and they won’t be left out of this update either. The new Kinect features will let you navigate things like YouTube and you’ll be able to tell all your friends and family new scores you’ve obtained through social features that use beacons to notify the other services of updates. The new changes are expected to take gaming and home entertainment centers for a leap into the future as voice commands will now rule living rooms around the world.
“Microsoft has just built and delivered it: A single box that ties together all the content you want, made easily accessible through a universal, natural, voice-directed search. This is now the benchmark against which all other living room initiatives should be compared,” said James McQuivey of Forrester Research in “Engaged TV: Xbox 360 Leads The Way To A New Video Product Experience,”* Sunday, Dec. 4. “…with more than 57 million people worldwide already sitting on a box that’s about to be upgraded for free, Microsoft has not only built the right experience, it has ensured that it will spread quickly and with devastating effect.”
The upcoming entertainment apps announced by Microsoft for Xbox Live are:
December 6, 2011:
• EPIX. United States
• ESPN on Xbox LIVE (ESPN). United States
• Hulu. Japan
• Hulu Plus. United States
• LOVEFiLM. United Kingdom
• Netflix. Canada, United States
• Premium Play by (MediaSet). Italy
• Sky Go (SkyDE). Germany
• Telefónica España – Movistar Imagenio. Spain
• TODAY (MSNBC). United States
Later in December 2011:
• 4 on Demand (C4). United Kingdom
• ABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Corp.). Australia
• AlloCiné. France (AlloCiné), Germany (Filmstarts), Spain (Sensacine), United Kingdom (Screenrush)
• Astral Media’s Disney XD (Astral Media). Canada
• blinkbox (Blinkbox). United Kingdom
• Crackle (Sony Pictures). Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States
• Dailymotion. Available in 32 countries globally
• Demand 5 (Five). United Kingdom
• DIGI+ (CANAL+). Spain
• GolTV (Mediapro). Spain
• iHeartRadio (Clear Channel). United States
• Mediathek/ZDF (ZDF). Germany
• MSN. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom
• MSNBC.com. United States
• MUZU.TV. Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
• ninemsn. Australia
• Real Sports (Maple Leaf Sports). Canada
• Rogers On Demand Online (Rogers Media). Canada
• SBS ON DEMAND.Australia
• Sky Go (SkyDE). Austria
• TMZ (Warner Bros.). Canada, United States
• TVE (RTVE.es). Spain
• UFC on Xbox LIVE (UFC). Canada, United States
• Verizon FiOS TV. United States
• VEVO. Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States
• Vudu (Wal-Mart). United States
• YouTube. Available in 24 countries globally
• Antena 3 (Antena 3 de Televisión). Spain
• BBC (BBC). United Kingdom
• CinemaNow (Best Buy). United States
• HBO GO (HBO). United States
• MLB.TV (MLB Advanced Media). Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States
• Telenovelas/Sports (Televisa). Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom
• Xfinity On Demand (Comcast). United States
Watch a demonstration of the new Xbox Live update from a Microsoft employee to The Associated Press: