XBOX 360 Family Timer

Microsoft Corp. today launched the Xbox 360 Family Timer worldwide, available for download via Xbox LIVE in 26 countries. This is great news for parents because Microsoft research reveals that children’s media consumption and time spent playing video games are universal concerns for families.

A Microsoft survey conducted throughout Europe found that parents embrace the idea of support from the gaming industry, with 75 percent of them welcoming built-in technology or software to monitor the time their children spend playing video games. A similar Microsoft survey conducted in the United States last month found that 62 percent of parents say they would use a timer if it were available to help them manage their children’s interactive entertainment use. Both surveys were the product of the company’s ongoing commitment to responsible gaming and the start of year two of Microsoft’s “Safety is no game. Is your family set?” campaign.

In line with the research, Microsoft today has made available worldwide to Xbox LIVE users a new Family Timer feature that will enable parents for the first time to set the appropriate amount of gaming and entertainment time on the Xbox 360 console for their kids — on a daily or weekly basis. A list of countries with available Xbox LIVE service is at http://www.xbox.com/live/countries. X

“As a leader in interactive entertainment, it has been our priority to innovate and improve our Family Settings technology to help parents worldwide manage their children’s video gaming and online experiences,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

In addition, the European study found that content of games and the time spent playing video games are important issues to parents. Similarly, in the U.S., 66 percent of parents have rules about the amount of time their kids can spend playing video games and 86 percent have rules about the type of content their kids have access to.

The Xbox 360 Family Timer is an addition to the console’s existing set of industry-leading parental control features. Similar to the parental controls in the Windows Vista operating system, the new Xbox 360 Family Timer can restrict children’s activity time.. Helpful notifications will appear to warn gamers that the session is nearing the end so they have sufficient time to save their game, and the feature will automatically turn off the console when the predetermined time limit has been exceeded.

Source : Microsoft.com

XBOX 360 Fall Update Video Playback

The XBOX Team announced on their blog that it will be possible to play Divx (and Xvid) movies on the XBOX 360 after the Fall update (which will be available at Dec. 4th). They announce the following about the video playback on their website (only the new features will be mentioned here) :

What exactly does the XBOX 360 support for AVI?

XBOX 360 supports the following for AVI:

  • File Extensions: .avi, .divx
  • Containers: AVI
  • Video Profiles: MPEG-4 Part 2, Simple & Advanced Simple Profile
  • Video Bitrate: 5 Mbps with resolutions of 1280 x 720 at 30fps. See question number 11 for more information.
  • Audio Profiles: Dolby® Digital 2 channel and 5.1 channel, MP3
  • Audio Max Bitrate: No restrictions. See question number 11 for more information.


What specific features of Mpeg-4 Advanced Simple Profile does the Xbox 360 support?

The Xbox 360 supports Bidirectional Frames (BVOPs), Interlaced Frames, Quarter Pixel Motion Compensation, Global Motion Compensation, and MPEG Quantization.


What types of AVI files are supported?

The Xbox 360 supports files encoded using MPEG-4 Part 2, Simple and Advanced Simple Profile. These files are often referred to as Xvid or DivX® video files. Many common PC DVD authoring tools, cameras, and camcorders are capable of encoding files using MPEG-4. Note that some files authored for DivX devices may also contain additional functionality(menus, subtitles, multiple audio tracks, etc). The Xbox 360 will attempt to play these files, but does not support any of the additional functionality and in some cases will be unable to play the file.


Does the Xbox 360 support video artwork when browsing my collection from a USB 2.0 FAT32 removable drive or optical media?

For all video types we will search for a corresponding .jpg file and use that as the artwork. For example video1.avi would display the artwork in video1.jpg if it existed. In the absence of this file, for the mp4 container, we will search if the video file has embedded album artwork and display that instead. Please note you cannot use this method when streaming from Windows Media Player 11 or the Zune PC software.

How does the “Sort by Type” and “Sort by Title” option work when browsing my own generated video content?

The “Sort by Type” option is the typical Windows Explorer view that a computer would show your files in. It will first alphabetically sort your folders and then alphabetically sort your files. The “Sort by Title” option allows you to sort all folders and files alongside each other. Both of these sort options are persistent and linked to your profile so that you do not need to set them every time.


What shortcuts can I use with my gamepad while using the Video area?

LB skips backward one chapter. RB skips forward one chapter. RT fast forwards. LT rewinds. Start toggles between play and pause. X and Y bring up the On Screen Display for more advanced options. While browsing through your lists of videos you can also push Start to automatically begin video playback using the bookmark if it exists bypassing the Resume/Restart page. You can also use RT or LT to page up or page down through lists of items.

Why do I see the message “Updating content. This may take a few minutes. Please wait.” the first time when entering the Console video area?

To support grouping television and game videos your content metadata needs to be updated. Once this process is completed subsequent entries into the Video area will be very quick. Please be patient during the update process and allow it to complete updating all of your content metadata.


What changes have you made to selecting the source for Videos, Music, and Pictures?

The source selection is now mapped to the X button for each of these areas. The Xbox 360 will remember the last source that you picked and default to that. We have also removed the computer affiliation from the System Blade and we now show a list of all the computers that you can connect to directly in the Select Source scene. This allows you to quickly jump between Windows Media Player 11 and Zune PC software media shares.


How can I play music from my iPhone® and iPod Touch®?

Unfortunately the iPhone® and iPod Touch® uses a different mechanism for storing your music then a traditional iPod®. We are currently unable to play music from the iPhone® or IPod Touch®. You can still browse the pictures stored on these device through the Pictures area in the Xbox 360 dashboard.

Can I play videos from my iPod®?

The Xbox 360 does not support playing videos from an iPod®.

XBOX 360 Fall Update : Complete Featurelist

The XBOX Team announced the complete featurelist on their blog that will be included in the Fall Update which will be available within the next few days :

Hello Everyone!

Coming shortly is our December 2007 System Update, one where we’ve added a lot of new features that you guys have been asking for. You should be prompted for the update early next week on December 4th.

This is the seventh system update I’ve been responsible for and I recently went back and reviewed the previous major updates we published in June ’06, November ‘06, and May ‘07. It is amazing how far the console has come since 2005! And knowing all the work that has gone into this current update I stand back and feel super-proud of the Xbox Console Team.  The incredible innovation and efforts they continue to put into the platform each day is unbelievable.

Maintaining a twice yearly ship schedule is difficult.  Launching major services like Video Marketplace is challenging.  Designing and launching an external HD-DVD player from scratch in 10 months is difficult.  Growing our library of backwards compatible titles to almost 500 supported games is demanding. But hearing feedback from our users and seeing our platform succeed makes it all worthwhile.  And it makes us want to tackle even more.

Did you know our system update package is only 7MB in size?  Or that the entire 360 O/S resides on a tiny 16MB filesystem and when running it is only given 32MB of system memory?  I mention this as our developers and testers do an amazing job of coding for performance, and that is overlooked by a lot of people.  Each day they are faced with adding more features, improving performance, and creating magical experiences with those hard-capped limits.  And release over release they are able to pull off some magic to make it happen.

I feel really lucky to work with such an amazing team. We love the 360, and we are passionate about making it better!  Remember the team is listening to your comments on Xbox.com and on Major Nelson’s site so please continue to provide the feedback!

The team is already thinking about the next update and after some well deserved time off for the holidays we’ll again be working to improve your 360 gaming experience.

Daryl Welsh (GT: IndieGames) -Xbox 360 Group Test and Release Manager

Click here to see the complete featurelist.

Account Management

· Added error text to direct under 13 year old user to the Web when attempting to change contact information

· Added Messenger Signup into Xbox LIVE signup

· Added PEGI logo icons to Game ratings scenes

· Added support for switching between Windows Live ID accounts

· Added Support for User Graduation

· Added support to allow users to change the Windows Live ID they use with their Xbox LIVE gamertag

· Added support to Migrate Zune Accounts to Xbox LIVE accounts with purchase rights

· Added text for “in-game voice” complaint option

· Display MS Points Web Address correctly for Korea

· Improved blocking support for Friends Only sessions

· Improved enforcement of Windows Live ID and Gamertag Regions

· Improved Informational Text for cases where Gamertag already in use

· Improved parental control support for 48 hour trial codes

· Improved robustness when viewing friends profiles and quickly backing out

· Improved support for account recovery when no storage devices attached to console

· Improved support for invalid characters in phone field

· Improved support to cancel out of Credit Card scenes during account sign-up

· Improved support to load Dashboard after exiting from Account Recovery

· Improved text for accounts that have been banned

· Improved text for Direct Debit in Germany

· Improved text for explaining Gamertag, Gamercard, etc to users signing up

· Improved text for recovering Gamertag dialogs

· Improved text for Zune Accounts in Sign Up app

· Improved text spacing for Recover Gamertag dialogs in Russian

· Improved text support for handling expired credit cards during purchase transactions

· Improved text to inform users that only 1 profile can have auto signin enabled

· Improved text translations for Account Management in German

Ads

· Added support for Audio Mute/Unmute for video ads

Community

· Added double-high friends list to show more details for each friend

· Added new feature “Inside Xbox” on the Xbox LIVE blade

· Added support for richer profile viewing including Real name, Bio, Locations, etc

· Added support to control privacy settings for Friends of Friends viewing

· Added support to show friends a real name

· Added support to view Friends of Friends

· Display actual friends count and not list item count in Add Friend page

· Improved German localized text for recent players blade

· Improved robustness in Friends area when rapidly pressing A and B buttons

· Improved support of viewing Friends profiles when friend has existing pending friends requests

· Improved text messages for Privacy Settings in Blocked Communication scenarios

· No longer report Invitations as ‘sent’ when communication set to ‘blocked’

Dashboard

· Added ability to twist UI left and right to filter/sort in Media lists

· Added ‘Downloads’ button to game launch page on Games Blade

· Added fade out transitions for transitions from dash to video playback

· Added Friends Playing Now feature to Games Blade for Xbox LIVE Arcade, Xbox Originals, Xbox 360 disc based games, and Xbox 360 Demos.

· Added grouping support for TV & Game content in Media Blade

· Added localization support for AM / PM in 12-hour clock format for Traditional and Simplified Chinese

· Added sort by Title/Date for acquired Video library content

· Added support for Featured Downloads in Arcade area of Games Blade

· Added support for twist controls in offline Dashboard and Xbox Guide

· Added support for updating Marketplace, Xbox LIVE and Games blade without full system update download

· Added support for Video album art on attached hard drives in separate .jpg files

· Added support to not write trial-version Arcade games to user’s played games history (this is only for newly downloaded games after the Dec’07 update is released)

· Allow all signed in users to access Banners in Dashboard or Marketplace, not just first signed in user

· Arcade area shows ‘–‘ instead of ‘0’ for gamerscore when signed out

· Changed UI Flow for Media connectivity: default to console, and allow users to change device via X button. Also remember last chosen device

· Disconnected MU or Controller Message persisted when launching back to Dashboard from Game Title

· Improve accelerated scrolling speed for long lists

· Improve transition speed of blades

· Improved consistency in confirmation text when deleting items

· Improved enumeration speed of lists in games blade

· Improved error handling when signing out while viewing a marketplace ad

· Improved handling of moving game profiles from MU to HDD

· Improved localization text for Polish in System Update dialogs

· Improved performance of Guide Transitions

· Improved progress bar accuracy when moving large files from MU to HDD

· Improved responsiveness of Dashboard overall

· Improved robustness after attempting to resume an expired purchased video

· Improved robustness when comparing achievements after connection to LIVE is lost

· Improved support for Daylight Savings Time in Alaska time zone

· Improved support for handling disc full when downloading movies from Marketplace

· Improved text layout for blade names in CHT (Traditional Chinese)

· Improved text on Startup page in System Blade area

· Improved text translations for Arcade area in Japan

· Removed PC Affiliation from the System Blade

· Starting DVD playback with 2 or more wireless controllers shows all game pads on the console ring of light

· Starting DVD playback with a mix of wired and wireless controllers now shows all game pads on the console ring of light

· System Update Message in Russian properly formatted

DVD / HD-DVD

· Added CHT language support to video players

· Improved accuracy of tray state when ejecting multiple times

· Improved robustness when ejecting discs from external HD-DVD drive

Family Settings

· Added Family Play Timer Feature

· Improved handling for resetting parental controls to default

Font Support

· Added support for Virtual Keyboard and IME for Simplified Chinese

· Improved CHT (Traditional Chinese) font support for game achievements

· Gamer Profile

· Dates and Times support region specific attributes

HDMI

· Improved handling of AVMUTE for HDMI

· Improved handling of CEA861 mode for HDMI

· Improved handling of flashing during on/off mode changes

· Improved handling of Standby-3 mode for HDMI

Keyboard

· Added IME indicator for Messenger Conversations

· Added support for F9 and F10 in Virtual Keyboards

· Added support for Polish and Russian USB Keyboards

· Improved Chatpad support for Korean Language

· Improved handling of Caps Lock for JPN USB keyboards

· Improved IME Japan Keyboards in Xbox Guide

· Improved overall IME Self Learning support

· Improved support for USB Keyboard with System UI Message displays

· No longer show keyboard results when entering password via Chatpad or USB Keyboard

· Removed extra ‘@’ from CHT Virtual Keyboard

Marketplace

· Added “Featured Items” as a top level section of Marketplace

· Added “Featured Trailers” and “Shorts” options within the Movies area of Video Marketplace

· Added Accelerated List Scrolling to Marketplace

· Added List wrapping to Top Download lists i
n Marketplace

· Added prefetching support for off-screen thumbnail images in Marketplace list views

· Added support for “New Arrivals” area within Marketplace for all catalog content types

· Added support for “Spotlight” area within Marketplace

· Added support for displaying audio support in top level UI for videos on Marketplace

· Added support for displaying Marketplace video previews in Full Screen mode (newly added files are encoded at higher bitrate, existing previews remain encoded at low bitrate)

· Added support for multiple previews (varying languages) for International Video Marketplace (this is content provider dependent)

· Added support for renting Movies in several international countries

· Added support to Browse, Purchase, Download and play Xbox Original Games

· Added support to cache metadata information for off-line usage in Media Blade library scenes

· Added support to Play Now from Marketplace storefront for items already downloaded

· Added support to prefetch off-screen thumbnails in Video Store

· Added support to send actionable Marketplace recommendations to Friends for Arcade games

· Added support to show audio language and subtitles for International Video Marketplace

· Added Twist Control support for navigation and sorting

· Allow Banner Messages to link to Arcade Titles

· Changed “Media and Entertainment” to “Video Store”

· Improved error handling for corrupt video content

· Improved localization text for Belgium Profiles with Netherlands Marketplace

· Improved robustness when service returns incorrect number of items when viewing Download History

· Improved support of Parental Ratings with Arcade recommendations

· Improved text for cases where License is not available for purchased video content

· Improved text messaging for playing rental movies on consoles other than the console purchased with

· Improved User Experience for Credit Card scenes in Russian

· List wrapping functionality identical now between Media blade and Marketplace blade lists

· More robust error handling for Add Points dialog page

· TV Series on Marketplace now navigate directly to episode list instead of Season1

· Unrated Titles now display ratings as “Rating: Pending or Unrated”

Media – All

· Added more user friendly text for various error related messages

· Added Shortcut keys from Remote Control: Pressing Play on a Video/Song/Picture will immediately start playback of that item from the list (pressing Start from gamepad does the same thing)

· Added support for Album/Video artwork larger than 500kb

· Added support to enumerate metadata in the background and not just when selected by the user

· Added support to make sort options sticky across console reboots

· Added support to show all available Media Sharing Servers on the local network and allow automatic re-affiliation

· Automatically delete older versions of Optional Media Update package when new ones are downloaded

· Improved consistency in storage naming across all areas

· Improved performance for displaying Album Art when connected to remote sources

· Improved text messaging when connection to PC is lost when streaming Music/Photo or videos

Media – Music

· Added support for CD Playback from music area in Xbox 360 Guide area

· Added support for listing multiple computer sources in Xbox Guide music sources

· Added support for Y button to toggle full screen on and off for music visualizer

· Disable ‘play all’ button when folders only contains playlists (with no audio files)

· Disable Y button when no list items selected in Music player

· Improved device support for new iPods (classic and 3rd gen Nano) – iPhone and iPod touch are not supported

· Improved error handling for mixed encoded playlists (aac,mp3,wma)

· Improved handling for MTP Music devices with >200k entries

· Improved handling of game background music after playing videos in Dashboard

· Improved handling of music playback over games (if music source terminates or has errors, background music returns to game background)

· Improved performance for “Play All” with attached MTP devices

· Improved performance of music enumeration via Guide

· Improved robustness when playing back HFS+ formatted iPods

· Improved support for returning to game background audio when user’s music player session terminates

· Improved support for scrolling song lists while listening to music during game playback

· Improved support when ejecting game disc while selecting music source through Guide

Media – Pics

· Added support to display PNG files when streamed from Windows Media Player 11 on Vista

· Improved enumeration for PTP cameras including Cannon Powershot SD 630 and Apple Iphone

· Improved playback performance of “Play All” when PC source has 1000s of photos and subdirectories

· Support Folder view of Photos from MTP Portable Devices

Media – Video

· Added 2 line support for entries in the Video Area of the Media Blade

· Added ability to recognize Colorspace attribute for Video Marketplace Content

· Added fade in transition for start of video playback

· Added full screen buffering animation for streaming videos from Xbox LIVE

· Added Suggestions scene for Video Library area in Media blade of the Dashboard

· Added support for 16x Fast-forward/Rewind

· Added support for AC3 embedded audio (see video faq for full information)

· Added support for enumeration of video files from Zune 2.0 devices

· Added support for Left Shoulder button on controller to chapter skip backward

· Added support for Left Trigger button on controller to rewind

· Added support for moving past the point user has viewed when doing progressive downloads of Video Marketplace videos

· Added support for MP3 embedded audio (see video faq for full information)

· Added support for Mpeg-4 part 2 video files in AVI containers

· Added support for Right Shoulder button on controller to chapter skip forward

· Added support for Right Trigger button on controller to fast forward

· Added support for Zune Podcast video playback from Zune device

· Added support to display metadata and thumbnails embedded in video files

· Added support to enumerate .divx video files

· Added support to group TV shows by Series in Video Library of Media Blade

· Added support to group Video and Game Trailers into same area of Video Library of Media Blade

· Added support to sort Movies or TV Shows by Title or Download date in Video Library of Media Blade

· Added top level support to show expired or soon to expire information for purchased movies from Video Marketplace in Media Blade

· Improve support for “Play Now” calculations with ISP that boost download for the first 20MB of a file

· Improved accuracy of bookmark positions when video player abnormally ends

· Improved accuracy of download progress bar after chapter skipping operations

· Improved auto resizing experience for small (under 100×100) video files

· Improved Bookmark / Resume experience with 60fps Interlaced WMV videos

· Improved bookmark support while progressively downloading videos from Marketplace

· Improved calculations for “Play Now” for Video Marketplace downloads

· Improved deinterlacer support for video playback

· Improved enumeration speed for user-generated video content in Media Blade

· Improved error message support when playing back video files without valid licenses

· Improved error message support when pulling USB drive while playing ba
ck video files

· Improved handling for USB memory stick removal while on Video device selection list in Media blade

· Improved handling of video playback when transitioning from 4x FF to Play with MP4 video files

· Improved handling of WMV bookmarks when rewinding and shutting down video player

· Improved info pane timer when playing back DRM’s WMV content from Windows Media Player 11 from Windows PC

· Improved message support for progressive video playback

· Improved overall UI, content descriptions and navigation of Video Library of Media Blade

· Improved performance during Fast Forward to Playback transition when playing back MP4 content

· Improved performance for buffering and playback of streaming videos from Xbox LIVE

· Improved performance for low bandwidth streaming of MP4 videos from Zune PC software v1.0

· Improved performance of skip forward/backward with WMV video files

· Improved performance of trick modes when streaming videos from Zune PC client

· Improved performance of WMV playback for WMV7 & WMV8 encoded video files

· Improved playback experience after extended pauses of video files from Marketplace

· Improved playback experience when resuming from a stopped/paused state

· Improved playback performance for h264 720p .MOV files

· Improved playback performance with 1920×1080 MP4 files

· Improved playback performance with 5Mb h264 encoded video files

· Improved playback performance with 60fps 720×480 MP4 content

· Improved playback performance with h264 files in .m4v containers

· Improved quality for upscaled user videos when played back full screen

· Improved quality of MP4 decoder: Global Motion Compensation and VMX optimizations

· Improved quality of MP4 decoder: improved Interlaced Support

· Improved quality of MP4 decoder: Out of order frame output, bidirectional motion vector handling, etc.

· Improved quality with non-square pixel video files

· Improved responsiveness of trick mode controls for video playback

· Improved robustness during chapter skipping of h264 video files

· Improved robustness for streaming problematic video files from Zune PC Software 1.0 or Windows Media Player 11

· Improved robustness of video player when playback catches up to downloads in progressive playback scenarios

· Improved robustness of video streaming when network congestion / stalls occur

· Improved robustness when closing video player after attempting to play a video file that would not open

· Improved robustness when entering and exiting video playback on a portable device repeatedly

· Improved robustness when exiting video files encoded in h264 and playing back from attached USB HDD

· Improved robustness when playing back Mp4 video with consecutive bad aac samples encoded into it

· Improved robustness when shutting down console during h264 video playback

· Improved robustness when trying to play a video recently moved from MU to HDD or vice versa

· Improved robustness with video player when exiting player via Xbox Guide button -> Y

· Improved support for AAC-LC 2 channel encoded audio in MP4 video files

· Improved support for chapter skipping during progressive downloads of Marketplace Video content

· Improved support for MP4 video files with discontinuous time stamps encoded in

· Improved support for MP4 video playback from burned optical dvd-r’s

· Improved support for resuming downloaded videos after reaching end of an uncompleted download

· Improved support for resuming partially downloaded videos from Marketplace

· Improved support for using Big Button controller during video playback

· Improved support for Video bookmarks when playing MP4 videos from USB portable hard drives

· Improved sync of video display and info pane display when rewinding

· Improved text for Windows Media Center setup instructions

· Improved Trick mode support when streaming videos with AAC embedded audio

· Improved video performance for 60fps interlaced WMV videos

· Improved Video performance with 15Mbs 1080i 24fps WMV video files

· Improved video playback for Fast-forward and immediate exit usage with h264 video files

· Improved video playback of MP4 content from Zune PC Software v1.0

· Improved video playback when source content has incorrect sync samples encoded

· Improved video quality for SD Composite AV pack displays of the on-screen display for video controls

· Improved video support for chapter skipping of MP4 videos

· Improved Videotrick mode support with 24fps 1080i WMV video files

· Improved visual display of WMV video files while rewinding

· Improved WMV Playback performance for 60fps and 1080i 30fps videos

· Improved WMV7 performance with VLC encoded content

· Removed occasional purple flickers in video playback when transitioning between FF and RW

· Removed potential 9 second delay when rewinding WMV video files

Messaging

· Removal of stale Xbox 1 Team Recruit Messages from Xbox 360 Message Center

Messenger

· Added “Invite Friends” scene after Messenger/Windows Live ID switching dialog

· Added localization support for “<user> has joined conversation” in Messenger

· Added messenger notification to Private Chat

· Added support for adding contacts via Windows Live ID from Xbox 360 console

· Added support for child accounts (ages 13 through 17)

· Added support for dual platform invites / text messages to PC client

· Added support for IME in Chatpad overlay

· Added support to send game invite to Messenger Contact from Xbox 360

· Display Signin option instead of Join Xbox LIVE when accessing messenger from a signed out profile

· Improved handling of transitions between messenger conversations and personal profiles

· Improved localization text for Spanish, Portuguese and Russian in Chat and IM dialogs

· Improved online status reporting with accounts that have passcodes set

· Improved performance of buddy list enumeration

· Improved performance with greater than 250 contacts

· Improved performance with Messenger and large lists

· Improved support for sending multiple friends requests from messenger contact dialog

· Improved support for signing up for Messenger on 2nd signed in profiles

· Improved sync performance between buddies and gamertag friends during login

· Improved text message for blocking Windows Live ID Child accounts

· Improved visual display of Up/Down arrows on Select Contacts scene

· No longer displaying ‘??’ when Kanji characters are used in Messenger Display Names

· Nudges from messenger now translated into rumble notifications on controller during game/movie playback

· Remove flash of LED on controller when Chatpad keyboard is invoked

· Removed 2nd notification when connection to LIVE and signed into Messenger

· Updated icons for Messenger in Private Chat area

System

· Added fade out transition when powering down console

· Added support for browsing XNA games within the Games blade

· Added support for video playback from UDFS formatted USB devices

· Added support for XNA Game Studio Express V.2

· Added support to connect to Apple Extreme routers in 802.11a/n mode

· Added support to pause background downloads when streaming full screen videos or ads

· Added support to retrieve game thumbnail directly from XNA game package

· Added system wide support for Simplified Chinese language

· Added text to explain flashing LED in the Ring of Light during background download low power mode

· Addressed ra
re case where game disc would spin in the DVD drive while playing HD-DVD Movie in external HD-DVD drive

· Disable Optical audio output when in low power background download mode

· DVD player no longer converts to YCbCr709 when output is over HDMI

· Improved auto sign-in to Xbox LIVE with Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter

· Improved clock accuracy for S/PDIF optical streams

· Improved compatibility with NEC WR8400N WiFi routers

· Improved download speeds when in low power background download mode

· Improved DVD Tray State notifications immediately after application of System Update

· Improved Forced Aspect Ratio Changes via HDMI output (including DVI)

· Improved handling when ejecting game disc during game start

· Improved handling when removing MU after sending Arcade game recommendation to friend

· Improved localization text for Wifi setup in German

· Improved performance for Game Titles to reboot in backcompat scenarios

· Improved performance of Xbox Guide during Messenger signin

· Improved robustness when ejecting game disc when prompted for game title update

· Improved robustness when inserting two MU’s at the same time on the device selector scene

· Improved support for 3rd Party Controllers

· Improved support for Buffalo WiFi routers

· Improved support for Creston AV receivers with HDMI

· Improved support for JPN Corega CG-BARFX network router

· Improved support for signing into Xbox LIVE with Big Button Controller

· Improved support for starting console with Big Button Controller when console is charging attached Wireless Controllers

· Improved Xbox guide performance ~2x

· Removed “Windows-based PC” from Computers area in Systems blade

· Removed option to “Turn off Controller” when using Big Button Controller

· Resync the Ring of Light pattern to the boot audio/animation

· Updated copyright dates for 2007

Friends of Friends Coming to Xbox LIVE

Microsoft is making it even easier to expand your Friends network on Xbox LIVE®, starting with the Fall Dashboard Update on December 4. You’ll be able to check out the friends lists of fellow Xbox LIVE members right from the Dashboard. With this new feature, members can find old friends or connect with new ones within the community of more than eight million people on Xbox LIVE around the globe and send messages and game invites, as well as compare games and Achievements.

With the prevalence of social media websites such as MySpace and FaceBook, this type of capability has largely come to be expected from consumers as a means to relate in an online community. Xbox LIVE continually seeks new ways to better serve the expectations of its members, which often result in free enhancements made available through the bi-annual Dashboard updates.

Friends List Settings
When the Fall Dashboard update is distributed on December 4, the new default setting on Xbox LIVE will be active, enabling members to see the Friends lists of other Xbox LIVE members. If you’d like to keep your friends list private, you can take the following steps to change your settings beginning today:

Log in to www.xbox.com/fof and select one of the three options available for your Gamertag:

  • Everyone (only available to members 18 and older)
  • Friends only (available to members 13 and older)
  • Blocked (available to all members, and automatic for anyone under the age of 13)

Join Xtival 07 on XBOX Live and play online for free!

 

Xbox LIVE invites you to Xtival ’07: a three-day extravaganza of FREE Xbox LIVE Gold gaming. For 72 hours you’ll be able to play your favourite games against your mates, wherever they are – or you can jump in and enjoy Xbox LIVE on your own. Don’t miss our exciting competitions, Developer Jam Sessions and loads more free gaming goodness. So stick it in your diary and get ready for the gaming event of the year.

Just check the Xtival homepage for more information (and the line-up), I think the Xtival event is only happening in Europe (yeah it’s a European festival only as you can read on the Ubisoft website).

More info about Xtival ’07 (English)

If English isn’t your native language, visit one of the links below for info in your own language :
Meer informatie over Xtival ’07 (Dutch)
Plus d’information plus de Xtival ’07 (French)
Mehr Info vorbei Xtival ’07 (German)
Più Info sopra Xtival ’07 (Italian)
Más Info encima Xtival ’07 (Spanish)

No IPTV on XBOX 360 this year?!

XBOX360 Horizontal

Microsoft has issued a statement saying that IPTV functionality will not be included in the fall 360 firmware update.

It has also suggested that we might not even see it this year, as was originally promised by Bill Gates at the CES show earlier in 2007. Apparently the fancy new technology will only be given to service providers by Christmas, landing the final release-ball in their court.

“Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) features will only be available from the Xbox 360 through a service provider who has deployed Xbox 360 with Microsoft Mediaroom (IPTV) services,” MS told Gamespot in a statement.

“Xbox 360 with Microsoft Mediaroom (IPTV), will be available to service providers by the end of the year. Microsoft’s IPTV service providers will ultimately determine the timing of Xbox 360 with Microsoft Mediaroom deployments.”

Rumours that IPTV would be included in the looming firmware spiralled from a customer whose console was exposed to the new features while being serviced. Whoops. Apparently it allows on-screen chat while watching telly, recorded shows or on-demand movies.

“This was an isolated incident where these features were inadvertently exposed while the customer’s console was being serviced and is unrelated to the fall update,” continued the statement.

We are currently waiting to hear back from Microsoft about what exactly will be in the update and when we can expect it to be released on Live.

XBOX360 : Leaked Screens Show IPTV And Fall Update

The following is based on rumors, but my heart starts beating faster…IPTV…Yeah. Probably it’s US only (again).

We just learned that Aaron just got his 360 back from Microsoft repair this week. We also know that his dash version isn’t any different than the one that is already out (2.0.5787.0) leading us to believe that his 360 doesn’t have the Fall update. But the new options are definitely related to the IPTV service as more options were discovered in his 360’s settings. Need proof? Check out the four screenshots below!
If the sweet, juicy, rumor friendly screenshots that we just received via our tipster inbox hold any water, then everyone can look forward to IPTV being part of the Fall update. Though, remember kids, this is all filed under the “rumor” tag …
The four screenshots you see in the gallery below were sent to us by tipster Aaron, who says that he turned on his Xbox 360 today and noticed a new TV icon with four text squares in his media blade and was wondering if we knew what it was all about. We investigated and noticed that this new TV icon option wasn’t normal and replaced the “Video Marketplace” option that we see on our dash. The second thing we noticed was that, when hovered over, the description for the mysterious TV icon option reads:

  • Use television services
  • Live & recorded TV
  • On-demand movies
  • Chat while watching TV

Sounds like IPTV options to us. Once clicked, an error message pops up stating that it was “unable to start” and to contact support at www.microsoft.com/tv. That URL will take you to Microsoft’s Mediaroom website … also interesting. So, if everything is legit in these pictures and Aaron doesn’t end up being a Photoshop God, we’re going speculate that this random occurrence is related somehow to the Fall update. The square text boxes, error message and overall un-ready status of the dashboard option all smell of a Fall update that isn’t yet ready for the masses. Maybe Aaron was online at the right moment when an Xbox Live engineer tripped over a cord sending Fall update goodness to his 360. Who knows. We’ll try to get more information about this odd occurrence and ultimately find out if these screens are real and relate to IPTV or the Fall update. Until then, file everything into the rumor section of your brain and give the screenshots a look over.

XBOX 360 IPTV 01 XBOX 360 IPTV 02 XBOX 360 IPTV 03 XBOX 360 IPTV 04

Source : Xbox360FanBoy.com

Halo3 scoort hoge ogen bij reviewers

xbox360_halo3 

Een paar dagen voor de Nederlandse/Europese lancering van Halo 3 druppelen de eerste reviews binnen. ‘ Quite simply, Halo 3 is the reason the Xbox 360 exists‘, valt te lezen op GameSpy. De verwachting is Halo 3 de verkopen van Halo 2 in de eerste 24 uur voorbij zal streven (omzet eerste 24 uur was toen $ 125 miljoen dollar)!

Op gamingblog Joystiq.com was te lezen dat Halo 3 misschien de hype die nu aan de gang is niet wordt waargemaakt, maar Halo 3 blijft ook volgens Joystiq.com een game die je gewoon moet hebben.

We zullen het zien, zodra de game uit is ga ik hem zelf ook halen (nee ik heb hem niet gepreordered).