Kills Off Zune
The latest Xbox 360 dashboard update is available from today, offering up integrated web browsing via Internet Explorer, delivering new streaming media opportunities with Xbox Music, serving up a banquet of improved search and personalisation options, and rebranding the video streaming services with Xbox Video.
Zune is no more. Well, the name at least.
"Our initial deployment will reach approximately three million consoles worldwide," announced Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, "with additional users being updated over the course of a couple weeks. Don’t panic if you don’t see an immediate update, just keep checking back in.
The big changes are, of course, the addition of IE, and Microsoft's Spotify-challenger: Xbox Music. Although the Windows 8 version will support ad-support free access, you'll need to pay the £8.99 monthly subscription fee for the Xbox Music Pass if you want to stream music via your console.
The Zune Video Marketplace is pretty much the same, the only change being the rebrand to Xbox Video, but it's certainly a striking symbolic change, and (finally!) n admission that the Zune brand has been something of a failure.
Here's the full list of features, courtesy of Major Nelson:
- Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard. We’ve updated the UI with a few things, including an updated layout with more tiles, a combined TV & Movies channel and, in the US, a Sports destination.
- 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.
- Recommendations and Ratings. Recommendations will allow you to discover new favorites, 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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, including 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.