Microsoft updates Xbox 360 interface

Posted by Mark Raby

A new version of the Xbox 360 firmware is on the way.

Microsoft has finalized the latest update to the console's interface and has begun rolling out the update to users. Many Xbox 360 owners have already been toying with the new update as part of a limited beta program, but it is now ready for widespread deployment.

The new Dashboard incorporates a few of the enhancements that were announced at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, including an Internet Explorer app that finally brings Web browsing to the Microsoft console. The PS3 and Wii have had fully functional Internet browsers for years but Microsoft hopes this will be a more seamless experience.

The update also adds integration with Rotten Tomatoes so users can see social ratings for downloadable movies. A new recommendation feature also lets users rate all sorts of content from within the Xbox Marketplace. The Dashboard is also getting more personalized, with the ability to "pin" games, TV shows, and other content that is usually buried under layers of menu screens so that it is the first thing they see on the Dashboard.

The update also ushers in the newly branded Xbox Video platform, which at this point is effectively the same as the former Zune Video Marketplace, but without the "Zune" moniker. The update also improves voice search, integrates TV shows and movies into a new channel, and there is now a dedicated "Sports" channel as well.

Other major updates including Xbox SmartGlass, and the introduction of Xbox Music to non-Xbox devices, will follow shortly, on October 26. The Dashboard update is making its way across numerous regions over the next two weeks so if you haven't been prompted for the update yet, you probably will soon.