What Can Australians Expect From The New Xbox LIVE Dashboard Update?

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.


    Are the channels free to view or do you have to pay for them?

      All you need is a gold account.

        You don't need gold for ABC & SBS

          So in other words....

          most are PAID!!!

            iView is free for ALL XBL subscribers,

            SBS On Demand and NineMSN will be for Gold only etc (Email from Xbox today confirms)

        What about daily motion? There's a lot of like anime content on daily motion, will all their videos be available?

    Atleast we can the new design, they can't take that away from us. *sobs*

      No! Don't! Say that!

      *A sudden update is pushed out putting the XBox back to the blades.*

      Now look what you have done!

        (I secretly liked the blades design. Worked horribly for Xbox Live, but was nice lookin' for gaming purposes.)

          Your secret's out now. Prepare to face the consequences.


          *D.C.'s door is smashed down by 7 foot tall black-ops and is never seen again.*

    "When you look at what other countries are getting as part of the package, in context it looks a little less impressive. "

    What did you expect?

    First, our Internet infrastructure is inadiquate. The only hope is the NBN but even if it somehow emerges it will be botched by the unwanted, unresearched and under-implemented broadband filter.

    And second, the Australian market is often used as a means to recoup development costs by hyper-inflating end-consumer prices.

      I don't think the Internet in Australia is as you say "inadiquate" though I will never say no to improving it

      Yeah Aussie internet is not that bad for streaming actually. Now I will explain my point.

      We have crap internet.. fact!

      I have some of the worst.. I am in Campbelltown NSW and live about 6km from a telephone exchange. I have ADSL2+ and at its peak, I can manage between 250 and 400kb/s... That is pretty slow by todays standards...

      But, I am able to stream television with no issues. Hulu, ESPN, NBC, ABC and many others. I know that this is not HD content or anything, but it looks pretty good and is in most circumstances, instant.

      I am the first to say that the NBN is a must have and we all need better services, but it seems that with content optimised for streaming and the right services, the performance is actually pretty good as it is.

      I would argue that the performance is NOT the reason it is excluded for Aussies.. it all comes down to rights and advertising... all of which are just not cost effective for Aussies smaller relative market size to justify involvement in.

        You also need bandwidth - the capability to offer a service without interrupting other services using the same infrastructure.

        That is the problem with our current (and aging) copper networks. If we get Fibre to the home, we will be example to even America and Europe.

        But again, the NBN is a Labor policy and while a good one they have not managed the books right, have not listened when Australian adults found faults and deficiencies with the filter and their reputation as a whole will mean that any new government voted for in the next election (trust me, Labor sealed its fate with the carbon tax and double sealed it with their pay rises) they will bulldoze practically anything Labor.

          The filter is dead. It's not going to happen.

          As for Labor's electoral defeat, it's pretty much a certainty NOW. But the election's still a couple of years away, and when the mining tax and carbon price don't cause the world to end, and when the income tax brackets are reshuffled next year, and when the public gets sick of Abbott, I think the result will be much tighter than recent polls suggest. I think Labor will still lose, but I don't think it's a foregone conclusion.
          And even if Labor lose, the NBN will be almost halfway finished by the next election. For all the Libs' bluster, I don't think they'll roll it back.

        I am 1.2km from the exchange and TPG swear I should be getting 19000 megabits/s, i.e.: 1.9 megabytes.

        The most I get get downloading from THEIR test server is 700kb/s.

        I sat on the phone with them for an hour and a half doing EVERY test possible, and eventually the tech support lady just said "we'll have to get an engineer to look at your line".

          just thought i'd correct you because i'm OCD about this stuff, 19,000 megabits would be 2,375 megabytes. there are 8 bits and a byte so yeah haha would be amazing if you had that speed :P I believe you may have meant kilobits in which case it would be 2.3mb

            MAybe I meant megabauds. I don't know, I'm just parroting what TPG told me. An hour and a half on the phone with tech support whining about my connection and all they could really tell me was "hmm, you're not getting a very good connection speed, are you?"

            A good Modem helps, but still a good speed

          I'm like 3km from the exchange and I get around 1-2mb/s and I'm on the metro adsl 2 unlimited plan thing.

          Election is in 18months, NBN wont be finished til 2019. your math at almost halfway done doesn't add up.

        Go back to ADSL 1 now its full speed is unlocked. I get 800kb/sec download compared to a friend on adsl2+ that lives a few blocks away and only gets around 400kb/sec.

        @fat shady i dont think you have adsl2+, because i have it and im from bligh park and i average 800kbs- 1.5mbs ??

    Would we expect any less? I'm sure by now almost every Australian is used to being underwhelmed by choice compared to our US counterparts.

    They should find a way to add digital radio so I could listen to SBS PopAsia while gunning up some MW3.

      No not Digital radio....they should go for Internet Radio. Imagine it, thousands of radio stations at your finger tips. Ask the XBox to find you a radio station that plays more Beatles than ever before, a station that plays nothing but Jazz, Blues Pop or whatever you want. That's a far better option than Digital Radio where yo umay only have 10 stations to pick from.

        That'd be pretty sweet, hell I might buy a kinect just so I can say "Xbox: death metal" and have it find me something

    Is this stuff covered quota-free in the iiNet Freezone, or is it considered separate to 'normal' Xbox Live usage?

      Im with Netspace who are owned by iinet and I would like to know the same question...

      ABC iView should be freezone at the very least - it is on PS3.

    I only use my xbox to play games. I couldn't care less about all this other stuff, or Kinect.

      Same here. In fact, I care so little that I'm not even going to make a comment on Kotaku about it.

    Free to view or pay for them?
    What about themes, how will they be affected?

    So Australians can expect disappointment?

    But... will it be disappointment then? If you expect it then how can you be disappointed in disappointment? Unless you're expecting to be so disappointed that what you get isn't as disappointing as you expected.

    Bring on iView :D

    Cant wait...

      I have also noticed that the new TV adds for Xbox are getting more dominant showing off the voice features and the new UI ready for the launch :)

    YAY! Even more f'ing adds to be shoved down my throat. I love pointless marketing shite that I never asked to be there and gets in my way when I just want to game!

      ? How so?

      You need to download the Apps for them to be active :/

        now, now, he was enjoying having that frothy rant. Don't ruin it for him.

    Is all of this wonderful content still coming off my internet usage?

    Then... I'm not so keen to be honest.
    At least, until I ditch Optus.

    Will Youtube on Xbox be better than the crappy Youtube XL on PS3?

    Thanks for the article Mark!

    I would probably end up using iView and YouTube only anyway... (*adjusts monocle* etc)

    We can also expect anyone that hasn't got a Kinect to hate the new dashboard, because it is a nightmare to navigate with a controller. The layout is just too haphazard to use effectively (well, everywhere except the settings page).

    If you do have a Kinect, then it won't seem too bad, excepting some weird design choices - inability to open the disc tray with voice commands if the tray's not empty (ie. you want to swap discs) being the most notable (albeit a rather minor) omission.

    As for the content - couldn't care less. I use my PS3 for videos, as it can be controlled directly from my TV remote. My Xbox is for games - I would've appreciated it if Microsoft had left it that way.

    Just logging in to mirror others users' thoughts: I couldn't care less for this update. The free TV services are not new or even novel to consoles, much less any other internet connected devices.

    Mark Scott (ABC boss) wrote an excellent article recently detailing the emerging market for streaming media (and with his background in print media, how the internet has transformed that landscape too), and the impact it is going to have in the next 5-10 years on traditional terrestrial television. Poignantly, he lamented the fact that other TV providers in Australia have been reluctant to get on the iView bandwagon (which is a mighty fine platform by any standards) and form a singular portal for Aussies to view TV, like Hulu offers elsewhere.

    And a great shame it is, as once a service like Hulu becomes easy to access in Australia (along with NBN coverage), it will certainly be the end of the horrible mess of TV we have now (Austar and the commercial channels in particular).

    Meh, I don't have Live so I won't be seeing this any time soon. From the looks of it, I like the current one better anyway.

    does it still play games? coz I'm not sure why the author is disappointed his GAMES console doesn't have fifty shitty pay channels.

    Yet another half assed australian content clusterfuck. Back to channel BT unfortunately

    We really need something like netflix. I'd love it if foxtel stepped up to the plate and offered a flate rate per month for on-demand watching.

    Anyone got the update yet, i wont be able to sleep tonight.

    So glad that blinding white design is now gone. That shit burst my retinas everytime I went back to Dashboard in a dark room. Really glad they are adding in the free channels like PS3 did years ago. I look forward to watching baos documentaries on iView.

    I got pre release and its awesome but its a shame UFC on Live wont be in oz anytime soon

    oh hey it looks like that phone i'll never buy

    Looking fwd to YouTube, most of this stuff though feels like it's catching up with the PS3's media streaming, hopefully they've learned their lesson from the underwhelming Facebook and Twitter apps (if you could receive tweets while you were playing a game - that would be something, but as it is it's way too inconvenient to use twitter on your Xbox)

    Anyone know when the update drops?

      From major nelson: FAQ: When will the Xbox 360 dashboard update be available? A: Everyone should receive it by 10a ET/7a PT/15:00 UTC...thats about 1am perth time, I think. or 4am sydney?

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