Sunday, November 05, 2006

XBox 360 Dashboard Update - I

The Fall XBox Dashboard Update is now officially available.
OK guys - its out! It was released on October 31st 2006 and is available either as an automatic download from XBox Live Online or can be downloaded by connecting your console to a broadband network. Since we do not have access to XBox Live in India - I was curious to find out if I could update my console with the latest update - and boy was I pleased with my findings.

First of all here is how you can get the update - straight from the official Microsoft Press Release:

This free update for Xbox 360™ will be distributed via Xbox Live® to all members (Xbox Live Silver and Xbox Live Gold) with no disc or hard drive required. If you don't have an Xbox Live account, you can easily sign up free by connecting your console to a broadband Internet connection. Once online, downloading the update is fast and simple, and provides instant access to many new features.

Steps to update your XBox 360

  1. Turn on your XBox and make sure it is connected to a broadband connection.

  2. Go to the XBox Dashboard and to the XBox Live tab

  3. Once there, click on the XBox Live icon.

  4. You will get a screen asking whether you are interested in joining XBox Live.

  5. Click Yes

  6. Your XBox 360 will then attempt to use your network connection to connect to XBox Live.

  7. At this point it will detect the XBox dashboard upgrade and inform you that an upgrade is available and ask you whether you would like to download it.

  8. Click Yes and the download starts - it takes about a couple of minutes (on my 512 kbps broadband connection) and you are done.

  9. Once the download has completed, it will automatically restart your XBox.

How do I check if the download worked?

  1. To confirm that the download was successful, go to the System tab of the XBox Dashboard.

  2. Click on Console Settings and select Display

  3. Click on Display to see two options HDTV Settings and Screen Format.

  4. Select HDTV Settings and you will see 1080p as one of the output formats that you can choose.

  5. If you see 1080p on this screen, then you have updated your XBox 360 successfully.

What are the cool features included in this download?

It won't make sense for me to list all the features and duplicate information from the Microsoft website. Instead I will focus on the features that I think will most affect folks here in India:

  1. HD 1080p video mode support over VGA and component cables.

  2. Xbox 360™ HD DVD Player support.

  3. Stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11, Zune software, or Windows Media Connect.

  4. Play video from storage devices such as USB flash drives, Xbox 360 Memory Units, etc.

  5. Play video from CD or DVD data discs.

  6. Stream music, pictures and video from a Zune device.

  7. Improved visual quality of video playback.


Microsoft has very strategically updated its console with 1080p support well ahead of the much anticipated PlayStation 3 release on November 17th. The timing for the 1080p and HD-DVD player support couldn't have come at a better time. Microsoft seems to have got an upper hand with a year's lead time over Sony as well as an established XBox Live online community. With the addition of 1080p support and HD-DVD support, Microsoft has checked off a couple of very important features on its checklist - and I am sure every gamer that owns an XBox 360 would be very pleased with this update capability of the console.

Official press release from Microsoft
Details of the November 2006 XBox Dashboard upgrade
Complete list of features in the XBox Dashboard update

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