Xbox 360 Dashboard update walkthrough

The new update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard is here for a select few who decided to enroll in the program. Announced back in July, including screen shots, this new version of the Dashboard would bring more features, as well as the metro interface to Xbox 360.

Right when the Xbox boots up you are shown the new welcome video, with the swoosh instead of the halo coming from the logo. Once you get to your dashboard, clearly there has been a Metro makeover. The tiles are now are squared off, and the only effect on them seems to be a drop shadow instead of the reflection. The loading screens have been replaced with two outlines of circles, one inside the other, both spinning clockwise.

Much of this update also works in Kinect, including adding the entity "Kinect Settings" under system settings. Most of these options appear to be calibration related. There are also test tools and demos which show how Kinect will work.

Other new features include an updated "My Xbox" when you select your gamer tag. Presented to you now is the original main screen for your account, but just one tile over you have easy access to your Account Management, which shows information about your account including Membership, Points, and the Windows Live ID. Another tile over has privacy, and then from there on out it is all about the games and your achievement progress.

Apologies for quality.

All graphics are flat now, which is the Metro style. Where it shows "A" Select and B "Back", instead of the glossy button images, they are now simply flat colors. The interface feels far from flat however, as it has a fluid motion and tiles seem to almost "pop out" when you go over them. All titles also appear to have new, updated icons. The animation is smooth and a pleasure to look at. Something about this update just seems refreshing, although having all of the menu categories the same size is a little odd and creates visual clutter.

The Dashboard update also features Metro updates to applications, and a new one, ESPN which will allow users to view over 3500 sporting events directly from their Xbox 360. 

Zune has been updated as well, which is very much akin to its PC counterpart. When searching for music, as you enter in the letters it updates with matches as you type, saving time and patience. The team did a fantastic job with the interface, and if you have a Zune Pass, you can go stream any music you wish.  When playing songs it starts up the "idle" screen that is in the desktop version. Using Zune on Xbox has never been easier.

The hard work Microsoft has put in on this update shows, and has paid off. When it is officially released, this will come as a freshening change rather than something people will curse over having to adapt to.

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I miss just plugging in a cartridge and hitting the on switch. They're cramming way too much stuff into it these days, and I certainly don't like the advertisements. I just want to play a game now and then, if I wanted all that other stuff I'd just go ahead and hook a computer up to my TV.

Aesthetically it's ok, but usability wise not so.
Seems to me you have to scroll a lot just to see what's around, like being far too close to the big ass icons with a very small FOV. Dunno, feels uncomfortable.

The previous (current, that is) dashboard is almost as bad, but looks like now you'll get to see even less elements on the screen at once.
That's the reason why I don't spend much (any, actually) time in the Dashboard. It's so cumbersome to navigate it makes me feel uninterested in the contents.

"ESPN which will allow users to view over 3500 sporting events directly from their Xbox 360." is this world wide? here in NZ PS3 gives me tvnz ondemand!

Wow, I love it! Is incredible, fast, and very stable. Plus, a huge upgrade to the antenna screen where you can join networks with ease and speed. Ina addition, the bone white they've been using with this theme, rocks.

Just played around with it last night.

Without sharing too much about it, I will say that aesthetically, I like it much better than before. It just happens to play on my sense of design taste, which is more on the minimalistic side.

Avatars are less cartoony. Which is a bit creepy, to me.

Otherwise, I'm likin' it.

The white splash menus are an eye sore, IMO. When I'm playing a game at night and hit the guide button, that bright white screen burns my retina, lol.

Avatar functionality is non existant, you cannot change anything on the avatar or anything, it (the avatar) does appear to look different though, not sure how or why.

The HD gets trashed a lot when exiting from games/demos/videos and takes 30seconds to a minute to settle down and enable you to browse the menus again, this is on a 360S

When are they going to add pinning to the 360 dashboard? I have just a few items I use, but I still have to go through the menus to get to them every time. Windows has it, Zune has it, WP7 has it, why not Xbox?

The splash screen and audio are better, the white menus are an improvement but the dashobard is still littered with ads and the tiles are still tiny. Bet it defaults to "spotlight" aka, the ad section.

So a small improvement.

I'm not really a fan of the new dashboard. I don't like how the highlighted tile is left justified relative to the screen, and you can't see what's to the left of it. And by the looks of the vidoes I've seen, they haven't changed the default tile you see when you boot up. Which means you still have to scroll to get to your games. Annoying and unnecessary.

spacer said,
I'm not really a fan of the new dashboard. I don't like how the highlighted tile is left justified relative to the screen, and you can't see what's to the left of it. And by the looks of the vidoes I've seen, they haven't changed the default tile you see when you boot up. Which means you still have to scroll to get to your games. Annoying and unnecessary.
And here was me thinking that I was the only one annoyed with having to scroll to MY games on MY console without feeling like I'm being force fed deals of the week. If your deals are that good Microsoft I'll find them.

The preceeding Neowin article about the Xbox Update Preview Program and this entire comment
thread appears to be a direct infringement of the Xbox Beta confidentiality clause which is stated
on the Announcements page within the Xbox Beta section of the new look dashboard.

QUOTE:
* REMINDER: The Xbox 360 and Kinect Beta proram is confidential. Please
don't disclose, share, or discuss beta program materials, except as
allowed in the Xbox 360 and Kinect Beta program aggreement. Specifically
please:

* DO NOT Blog about the beta materials.
* DO NOT Post pictures, screenshots, or video clips of the beta materials.
* DO NOT Discuss the beta materials in discussions forums, emails or
podcasts
* DO NOT Talk with the media or press about the beta materials. This
includes bloggers, newspaper reporters, and television reporters.
UNQUOTE.

It strange how they touted NXE as the saviour to showing lots of information but it really doesn't do it great either. There is just too much to flick through most of the time.

Its funny how the Announcments page says "Please dont blog, record, or take photos of the bete"

hehehe

Youtube has videos and screens everywhere

Installed the beta this morning. Very refreshing!

Not played with it much but from the few minutes I had with it before work was very fun to use

Just wondering if everyones got a different update to me coz mine now looks like an unfinished version of the current dashboard, its just plain horrible, the only thing I like is the new boot logo.

Looks a lot better than the current dashboard. Although I am still a fan of the blade design on the early 360's that just seemed to work for me, although I understand with the extra content it wouldn't be practical.

Based on the videos, I think I prefer the current UI over this update. Hope there is an option to keep the current style, but there probably won't be.

xTdub said,
Based on the videos, I think I prefer the current UI over this update. Hope there is an option to keep the current style, but there probably won't be.

Like you said... Not likely.

Still the big fat interface with big fat thumbnails. Wish they could allow users to change it to list view or smaller image view of some sort. Always feel like i'm scrolling through a book though I guess I just haven't gotten used to it yet from using both ps3/360 dashboards back and forth. I still hope they'll add a history list of whats released instead of making them disappear with a wall of rockband.

Morisato said,
Still the big fat interface with big fat thumbnails. Wish they could allow users to change it to list view or smaller image view of some sort. Always feel like i'm scrolling through a book though I guess I just haven't gotten used to it yet from using both ps3/360 dashboards back and forth. I still hope they'll add a history list of whats released instead of making them disappear with a wall of rockband.

They have dedicated category subsections for that now.

I have this update & i did report a bug in it to Microsoft. You see after installing the update there seem to be problem with textures in GTA IV. The textures are washed out & they seem to pop out more often than not ( the game is installed on the HDD) , is there anyone out with this update who can confirm the same.

Do note that there are no problems like this with any other game that i have played or with GTA Episodes from Liberty City.

Big Daddy Cool said,
I have this update & i did report a bug in it to Microsoft. You see after installing the update there seem to be problem with textures in GTA IV. The textures are washed out & they seem to pop out more often than not ( the game is installed on the HDD) , is there anyone out with this update who can confirm the same.

Do note that there are no problems like this with any other game that i have played or with GTA Episodes from Liberty City.

I have the game so I'll check it out. Have not played it in forever so I'll probably just start it over.

BTW, Do you have the original units (white ones) or the newer slim units (black ones). I have a slim so it may make a difference.

shinji257 said,

I have the game so I'll check it out. Have not played it in forever so I'll probably just start it over.

BTW, Do you have the original units (white ones) or the newer slim units (black ones). I have a slim so it may make a difference.

I didn't necessarily see anything on the disc version but I got the GoD version and saw significant performance issues.

A note for fellow Canadians, the Netflix features do work in Canada, contrary to what the beta notes say. Our selection is horrible, but that's not xbox related. =)

*The activation key says go to 'netflix.ca/xbox' you actually need to go to 'netflix.ca/activate' if i recall correctly.

I hope it runs smoother than the current dashboard. My elite system lags occasionally on the dashboard now. It's nothing horrible, but kind of a pain when I want to respond to a message real quick and I'm in the middle of a game; I hit the guide button and I have to wait for 2-3 seconds for it to load up. I also hope they get rid of the "Zune" application that loads every time I want to watch a video. I don't mean ditch the Zune software, but I don't have a Zune, so I should be able to browse my videos and watch them without having to wait an additional 5-10 seconds for the Zune application to load when I click on "Videos". It didn't used to be that way.

CoMMo said,
I also hope they get rid of the "Zune" application that loads every time I want to watch a video.

I actually did end up just deleting the Zune software from my Xbox. Couldn't figure out how to stream media from my PC when that stupid software was installed. Pretty certain it was impossible. It looked almost exactly the same as the existing XBox media player aswell, which made the extra 5-10 second wait very annoying.

UHYVE said,

I actually did end up just deleting the Zune software from my Xbox. Couldn't figure out how to stream media from my PC when that stupid software was installed. Pretty certain it was impossible. It looked almost exactly the same as the existing XBox media player aswell, which made the extra 5-10 second wait very annoying.

Did you try to go into your PC's media settings to see if Zune was selected as your default video player? Maybe changing that would stop the app from loading on your 360 however, I don't think there is any other video playback software on the 360 or is there?

CoMMo said,
I hope it runs smoother than the current dashboard. My elite system lags occasionally on the dashboard now. It's nothing horrible, but kind of a pain when I want to respond to a message real quick and I'm in the middle of a game; I hit the guide button and I have to wait for 2-3 seconds for it to load up. I also hope they get rid of the "Zune" application that loads every time I want to watch a video. I don't mean ditch the Zune software, but I don't have a Zune, so I should be able to browse my videos and watch them without having to wait an additional 5-10 seconds for the Zune application to load when I click on "Videos". It didn't used to be that way.

It does run smoother

i don't like the looks of it, most of the features won't working for me, i'd like to dl some demo games, but they weren't available...now i'm stuck with this

jimmyfal said,
can, see my music on my pc with new zune setup. I assumed I would be able to do that. wtf?

You've always been able to do that lol. In My Xbox go to Music and then the pc.

jimmyfal said,
can, see my music on my pc with new zune setup. I assumed I would be able to do that. wtf?

You've been able to do this since the 360 came out.

Two things that havent been mentionned:

-The voice chat has been improved (New audio codec)
-Netflix now comes with a Search function

Farchord said,
Two things that havent been mentionned:

-The voice chat has been improved (New audio codec)

Its a shame testing for the new group chat is only able to be done with people using the beta though

Apparently alot of the background tweaks is where this update shines...

brent3000 said,

Its a shame testing for the new group chat is only able to be done with people using the beta though

[..]

Well, that would make sense, since it uses a new audio codec that the older system wouldn't support.

Mr aldo said,
Well, that would make sense, since it uses a new audio codec that the older system wouldn't support.

In-game chat still works fine. It's party chat that is affected. You can't party chat with non-beta users. Also what wasn't mentioned (but you find out eventually) that the Avatar Marketplace is unavailable while you are in beta and premium Avatar items are locked out during the beta. Supposedly they will be updated later on when everyone gets the push. I actually look forward to my kinect but I need to make more room for my box.

shinji257 said,

In-game chat still works fine. It's party chat that is affected. You can't party chat with non-beta users. Also what wasn't mentioned (but you find out eventually) that the Avatar Marketplace is unavailable while you are in beta and premium Avatar items are locked out during the beta. Supposedly they will be updated later on when everyone gets the push. I actually look forward to my kinect but I need to make more room for my box.

I can see missing party chat, but why would you even WANT to go into the Avatar Marketplace?

It looks very well done. NXE does seem washed up and old to me at times, but NXE still looks good.

Looking forward to this update.

Chaltalian said,
It looks very well done. NXE does seem washed up and old to me at times, but NXE still looks good.

Looking forward to this update.

I agree

rapiddream said,
What this says to me is... PS3 got it right the first time.

How so? The capabilities of the 360 have evolved from what it first offered and to have the Dashboard evolve with it only seems natural to tap into the new features, etc.

I've always thought that Sony wasn't very active in adding new features. They've only just allowed people to report users from the XMB.

rapiddream said,
What this says to me is... PS3 got it right the first time.

heh ya cause the ps3 dash is the best dash available. hahahaha omg i think i peed a little.

rapiddream said,
What this says to me is... PS3 got it right the first time.

How so? This is more a copy of windows media center, which was out before the PS3 was

It looks like Windows Media Center to me as well, but this also reminds of me of the media bar that PS3 uses. I can't say whether this is a good or bad thing. I don't have a PS3 or 360 D:

Just by the _look_ of things though, I like the XMB better. Seems very simple and looks nice.

rapiddream said,
What this says to me is... PS3 got it right the first time.
Yeah, right. Just because something is changed doesn't mean the previous setup was bad, it just means something BETTER came along (however little that 'better' is).

Here is how stupid that sounds... Say Google Chrome v2 came out (yes, I know, that's OLD, but let's go back in time, shall we?).

Would it be fit to say, HA! That means Google Chrome v1 was a FAILURE, it means it SUCKED, it means NO ONE liked it! etc. (I never used GC v1 or v2 from what I can remember, but v1 compared to v2 probably did suck, but that isn't bad... Every developer of any kind should strive to make previous versions suck).

Heck no, it's called evolution, it is the name of the game. If you never change anything, it becomes bland and boring. You PS3 owner's should be complaining about this, not bragging, because it quite clearly shows Microsoft is improving the user interface, listening to their users, while Sony doesn't do much in the way of updates, and ignores what the users need/want (Like the PS3 as a whole, or removing the 'Other OS' feature).

rapiddream said,
What this says to me is... PS3 got it right the first time.

this. you don't have to go scrolling everywhere nor entering levels of menus trying to find one particular item, which was annoying at times when i had a 360.


imo they should've stuck with the first style of the dashboard instead of doing a makeover twice. i won't be surprised if they do it once more.

InfinitiProject said,

imo they should've stuck with the first style of the dashboard instead of doing a makeover twice. i won't be surprised if they do it once more.
The old style was horrible, it didn't scale well at all as functionality was added. As for this change, I don't think it even really qualifies as a make over, at least not in the same category that NXE was.

InfinitiProject said,

this. you don't have to go scrolling everywhere nor entering levels of menus trying to find one particular item,

I have to on my PS3. Long list of games? Have fun scrolling a lot. And some options are hidden in the strangest places. It's not horrible (the menu system on my Sony TV is) but it's not better than on the 360 and it would be nice to get a big update once in a while. I kinda like getting new stuff.

rapiddream said,
What this says to me is... PS3 got it right the first time.

Actually it didn't. Even there latest updates have been making it worse.

rapiddream said,
What this says to me is... PS3 got it right the first time.

Good grief. They're everywhere. The Xbox Dash is nothing like the PS3 XMB. Not to mention the XMB is dog slow if launch it during any game you get spinning busy wheels, and navigating long song or video list/folder is horrendous and just a mess. If you don't have more than 10 items it's OK.

No comparison. XMB isn't in Xbox Dashboard's league. Only in fanboys dreams. Jesus they're everywhere.

InfinitiProject said,

this. you don't have to go scrolling everywhere nor entering levels of menus trying to find one particular item, which was annoying at times when i had a 360.

What are you talking about? It takes me forever to find things in the settings menu on my PS3, granted I don't use it very much.

imo they should've stuck with the first style of the dashboard instead of doing a makeover twice. i won't be surprised if they do it once more.

ctrl_alt_delete said,
not bad, I'm still waiting on the beta to hit my system....but it's not here yet

Same here bud. Waiting patiently but eager to get my chance at it!

ctrl_alt_delete said,
not bad, I'm still waiting on the beta to hit my system....but it's not here yet

Same here bud. Waiting patiently but eager to get my chance at it!

NPGMBR said,

Same here bud. Waiting patiently but eager to get my chance at it!

Mine came through today. So far I'm totally loving Zune Marketplace on the 360. Before it did'n't to a lot but now it seems to have all the functionality of the Marketplace software on my PC. Its really nice to FINALLY see all of MS's services working so well together.

Nashy said,
Can we get some photos. Website staff still don't realise that most employers hate Youtube.

Maybe you should be working instead of reading blogs? And if it's because of a break time or whatever, then that could always wait till you get home.

Nashy said,
Can we get some photos. Website staff still don't realise that most employers hate Youtube.

If I was your employer I would also hate Youtube. And now I would also hate you. Get back to work NAO! j/k

I've only played a 360 for about half an hour in my entire life, lol, but this doesn't seem like that great of an aesthetic upgrade. My eyes want to focus in the middle of the screen, but the selection box makes you focus on the left side. With the current theme, sometimes I get confused as to which item is selected. With this one, it's more evident but annoying to look at. I guess what I was expecting is something like iTunes Coverflow. This is very similar, but the enlarged "selection box" is on the left rather than the middle.

I guess it's not a big deal.

I think they were going with the normal, (most)people read from left to right, so it makes sense not to change the layout in that regard. I'm not sure how one could find this normalization confusing, maybe you've spent too much time in cover-flow? I know I have... with my apple devices. =)

unkdirkpitt said,
I think they were going with the normal, (most)people read from left to right, so it makes sense not to change the layout in that regard. I'm not sure how one could find this normalization confusing, maybe you've spent too much time in cover-flow? I know I have... with my apple devices. =)

lol, I'm not sure why I can't get used to things not being in the middle. I don't even use coverflow, nor do I have any apple devices that support it.

Kondrath said,
I've only played a 360 for about half an hour in my entire life, lol, but this doesn't seem like that great of an aesthetic upgrade. My eyes want to focus in the middle of the screen, but the selection box makes you focus on the left side. With the current theme, sometimes I get confused as to which item is selected. With this one, it's more evident but annoying to look at. I guess what I was expecting is something like iTunes Coverflow. This is very similar, but the enlarged "selection box" is on the left rather than the middle.

I guess it's not a big deal.

looking at the video, i agree it is a bit weird to have the highlighted item on the LHS ;o

I agree, when looking at a television screen your focus goes to the center. It's a bit odd that the Xbox makes you focus on the left.