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The New Xbox LIVE Update Launches Today

The new Xbox Live update has been released today. Xbox Live members worldwide will download the update automatically the next time they log onto their consoles. Microsoft said the update should take around 10-15 minutes, and those who decline the update will no longer be able to access Xbox Live. The new update will provide improved usability and new content from entertainment partners, including Sky Player, Last.fm, Facebook, Twitter and Zune.

With Sky Player, Xbox Live members can look forward to even more entertainment, with up to 32 channels including sports and films, all on demand. If you’re an Xbox Live Gold member you will have access to hundreds of films, ESPN sporting events, TV shows and documentaries. Sky player will also offer new community features integrated into Live that allow users to recommend their favourite TV shows and films to their friends, as well as create their own customized planners.

Gold Members can enjoy Zune music with a Zune Pass subscription. They can also enjoy paying $15.00 a month for it, on top of their $50.00 XBL membership. If you are a Gold member, you can listen to unlimited music streaming from the Zune catalogue and build your own playlist.

The Zune Movie marketplace will continue to offer the best console on-demand movies in HD with a growing library of movies. However, with last month’s addition of NetFlix in Canada, gamers will now have to chose which is best suited for their needs: more selection, better quality – although more pricy (Zune – 1 movie=$2-$3 dollars) or less selection but unlimited streaming (NetFlix – $8.99/month unlimited watching)?
The new update will also feature the option for Xbox Live users to rent a movie from the Zune marketplace to download or stream instantly via a Window-based PC or download / synch to a Windows Phone 7 to enjoy on the go.
The introduction of the new Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack. From November the Family Pack will offer up to four individual Xbox LIVE Gold memberships for $99 – less than the price of two regular Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions. Offer access to additional conveniences and services including the new Family Centre for easier family management, access to activity monitoring reports, and the ability to purchase and give Microsoft Points to other Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack members.

Additional Updates:

  • Kinect integration – ready for the November 10th launch of Kinect for Xbox 360
  • Improved Communication – new audio codec for voice chat that will improve the quality of communicating with others online.
  • Improved Gamertag creation – If the gamertag you are looking for is already taken, your Avatar will spin a wheel and you’ll be provided with five other Gamertag suggestions
  • Streamlined in-dashboard virtual keyboard– The existing QWERTY keyboard in-dash has been made easier to use for scenarios that involve repeated text entry, when signing up for LIVE within the dashboard for example.
  • Improved Xbox LIVE Marketplace UI and browse experience – The Game Marketplace has been re-organized to provide streamlined access to the gaming and video content you want, reducing the number of steps to get to a download.
  • Easier to get on a wireless network – Trying to connect to a wireless network? Now you can see a list of all the wireless networks within range when you go into network settings.  From there, you can select a new network or further configure the network you’re connected to.
  • Ability to sign-out other controllers in the sign-in UI – Adding the ability to sign-out profiles on other controllers in the sign-in UI within the Guide. This is especially useful when playing games like Rock Band.
  • New browse experience for 100% completed games – You spent a lot of time and effort earning those Achievements, so now there’s a better way to browse all of them.
  • Updated Family Settings – Xbox 360 continues to lead the industry in efforts to create tools that help parents and caregivers choose the right play and viewing settings for their families. Microsoft is enhancing the core Family Settings tools for all Xbox LIVE members:
  • Family Programming – When turned on, Family Programming disables display of all mature content on the dashboard and can be turned on or off with a protected password for individual members (per account). It also highlights all family-friendly entertainment.
    • Intelligent Default Settings – Your Xbox automatically customizes privacy and activity settings for each member, based on age (child, teen and adult). These settings can later be individually customized.
    • Title Exceptions – Allow your family members to play specific games above the console’s designated ESRB/PEGI (etc.) rating as you deem appropriate.

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