From the press release:
Starting June 6, Xbox 360 gamers will be able to access a vigorous system-wide update creating a new pinnacle for next-generation gaming and entertainment. The Xbox 360 spring update introduces more than 125 revolutionary features and enhancements adding to Xbox 360’s sheer power, stunning high-defintion graphics, rich online capabilities and innovative media offerings delivering a digital gaming and entertainment experience that simply can’t be matched.
Since the launch of Xbox 360 in November 2005, Microsoft has continuously focused on gamer and community feedback to determine further improvements and enhancements for the evolving next-generation experience, resulting in this inaugural mass update. With more than half of all Xbox 360 gamers connected online, Xbox is further catering to its fans by delivering the spring update in the way they want it. This free update will be digitally distributed over Xbox Live to all members (Xbox Live Silver and Gold) with no disc or hard drive required to take advantage of the plethora of new features. Gamers without an Xbox Live account can easily sign up for the free network by connecting their console to a broadband internet connection. Once online, downloading the update takes less than a minute and provides instant access to features including:
Xbox Live Marketplace Enhancements
- New background download manager gives gamers the ability to queue up and download six high definition items at a time including playable game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games, music videos and movie trailers while actively playing games or browsing the dashboard. As an added benefit, if gamers engage in multiplayer gameplay while downloads are in process, the new background download manager will automatically pause the download queue until the multiplayer session is complete ensuring a continuously optimal gameplay experience.
- Updated Xbox Live Marketplace menus makes it easier for players to find and store all of their gaming and entertainment content. This includes the addition of new menus for media and entertainment content as well as enhanced menus making it easier for gamers to find what’s new in each section as well as a quick view at all downloads by category.
- Full remote control features for Xbox Live Marketplace videos allow gamers to fast forward and rewind at various speeds (2X-16X) during all videos downloaded from Marketplace.
Music Player Improvements
- Custom background music now continues to play without interruption during game loads and when transitioning from game to game or disc content.
- During music play, the music playback screen now showcase the artist, song title and time remaining on the song along with a visualizer showing which song on the playlist or album is currently playing.
- DVD Movie Playback Upgrades
- DVD movie bookmarking now allows gamers to pause a movie at any point, put in a game for gameplay and return to the movie at the exact point it left off.
- Improved DVD movie playback for a smoother, higher quality viewing experience, including additional VGA support.
These features are just some of the new experiences gamers can expect on the system as part of this spring update. For a list of additional new features and improvements, visit www.xbox.com/live.
About Xbox and Xbox 360
Microsoft revolutionized the gaming industry with the November 2001 launch of Xbox® (www.xbox.com), its first-generation video game and entertainment system, now sold in 26 countries. Microsoft introduced its next-generation system, Xbox 360, in the 2005 holiday season in Europe, Japan and North America, and launched the system in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. Xbox 360 (www.xbox.com/xbox360) is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming network, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers.
About Xbox Live
Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects millions of members across 24 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox Live Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, and movie trailers, as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at www.xbox.com/en-us/live.
Note that there is also a full list of released features available from Xbox.com.
Of interest are:
- Improved visual quality in DVD playback
- Improved handling of backward-compatible update experience, reboot back into Xbox v1 environment instead of Dashboard
- Improved system performance between console and affiliated Windows Media Connect PC
I am going to do a before / after comparison on some of these features when I get home today!