At some point tomorrow Australian Xbox 360 owners will receive the new dashboard update, an update tailor made to push the multimedia capabilities of the console. One of the major upgrades for us specifically will be the ability to use Kinect voice control, but that's not all we get.
The major focus of the update is the ability to watch television through your Xbox. We can already use Xbox LIVE to stream Foxtel, but now Microsoft has announced several other local partners to provide video content including ABC iView2, SBS ON DEMAND 2, YouTube3, Daily Motion and Crackle3.
“Xbox is different – not only with a new look but great new content and voice control as of tomorrow. We are unique in the market and plan to stay that way,” said David McLean, Director, Consumer Channels Group, Microsoft Australia.
“When Australians download the Xbox LIVE update, their Xbox 360 will feel completely new – it will feel like the Xbox was redesigned for a new era in entertainment.”
Said video content won't be available day one, but will be implemented throughout December.
It all sounds pretty slick, but we can't help but feel a little disappointed — it may just be the result of our inferior local services, but it feels like Australians are getting far less bang for their buck compared to other regions, particularly the US.
The list of all channels available globally is as follows — we've bolded the channels available in Australia.
• EPIX. United States • ESPN on Xbox LIVE (ESPN). United States • Hulu. Japan • Hulu Plus. United States • LOVEFiLM. United Kingdom • Netflix. Canada, United States • Premium Play by (MediaSet). Italy • Sky Go (SkyDE). Austria, Germany • Telefónica España – Movistar Imagenio. Spain • TODAY (MSNBC). United States
Later in December: • 4 on Demand (C4). United Kingdom • ABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Corp.). Australia • AlloCiné. France (AlloCiné), Germany (Filmstarts), Spain (Sensacine), United Kingdom (Screenrush) • Astral Media’s Disney XD (Astral Media). Canada • blinkbox (Blinkbox). United Kingdom • Crackle (Sony Pictures). Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States • Dailymotion. Available in 32 countries globally • Demand 5 (Five). United Kingdom • DIGI+ (CANAL+). Spain • GolTV (Mediapro). Spain • iHeartRadio (Clear Channel). United States • Mediathek/ZDF (ZDF). Germany • MSN. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom • MSNBC.com. United States • MUZU.TV. Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom • ninemsn. Australia • Real Sports (Maple Leaf Sports). Canada • Rogers On Demand Online (Rogers Media). Canada • SBS ON DEMAND. Australia • TMZ (Warner Bros.). Canada, United States • TVE (RTVE.es). Spain • UFC on Xbox LIVE (UFC). Canada, United States • Verizon FiOS TV. United States • VEVO. Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States • Vudu (Wal-Mart). United States • YouTube. Available in 24 countries globally
When you look at what other countries are getting as part of the package, in context it looks a little less impressive. Hopefully more channels will become available over the course of 2012.