Xbox 360 dashboard update, brings new UI and voice features, but no iPlayer

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Xbox 360 fans get a treat this week, as the console’s annual UI update gets rolled-out by Microsoft.

Announced back in November, the update is one of the console’s most significant overhauls yet. It brings with it improved Kinect motion control and voice control functionality, as well as reams of new video on demand content as Microsoft move to make the Xbox 360 “the biggest interactive TV service in the world”.

The new update allows Kinect-owning users to browse content by moving their hands across the new tile-style Xbox 360 interface (not dissimilar to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 Metro UI), as well as searching for shows by speaking.

Plenty of new partners for the service have been announced, including LoveFilm, 4OD, BlinkBox, Crackle, ScreenRush, Demand 5, MSN and Vevo.

However, one major play is notable in its abscene; the BBC’s iPlayer. Having been available on the PS3 and Wii console’s for quite some time, Microsoft have been unable to come to an agreement with the Beeb.

The BBC insist that iPlayer must remain a free service, which works fine on the subscription-free PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s free online offering. However, it appears Microsoft wish to put iPlayer behind their Xbox Live Gold members paywall, locking out those who do not cough up for a monthly subscription price.

Gerald Lynch

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