For those of you who weren’t able to get into the Preview Program, you can now rest assured that the latest Xbox 360 features, including Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace with instant on 1080p streaming, will be arriving on all Xbox 360 consoles on November 17th. Yup, that’s just five days away, which isn’t that bad at all. To celebrate the launch of the new dashboard, all Xbox Live Gold features will be available to Xbox Live Silver members from November 20-23, allowing Silver members to sample Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and online multiplayer. Oh, what’s that? You didn’t know that only Xbox Live Gold members were able to use the new social networking aspects of the dashboard? Yeah, major fail, we agree.
We previewed the dashboard in a recent episode of Bleeding Edge TV, which you can check out at the top.
Just a heads up to any of you who want to add the Sonos ZonePlayer S5 to your current Sonos setup, or those of you who want to jump into Sonos for the first time for the lowest cost possible - the S5 is now shipping, and can be had for $399. We have one set to arrive later today, so we will hit you with a review after we play with it a bit.
Read More | Sonos ZonePlayer S5
We got our hands on the new Fall 2009 Xbox 360 Dashboard update, which features Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and Instant-on 1080p movie streaming from Zune. You can get the full scoop in the video, but in a nutshell, here are our thoughts:
- Facebook: Facebook on Xbox 360 is integrated well into the console. We like that you can see which of your Xbox 360 friends are on Facebook, and which Facebook friends have an Xbox 360 account. The problem is that the Xbox 360’s ridiculous friend limit really stands out here. You have a limit of 100 friends, and if you have a bunch of friends on Facebook that you want to connect with, you will quickly find that you have to pick and choose. You see what I mean in the video. Other than that, being able to view profile data and photo galleries of friends is a nice touch. Updating or commenting sucks if you don’t have a Chatpad.
- Twitter: Twitter, on the other hand, is way too simple for our liking. It shows you the last 50 tweets from people you following, trending topics, and basic profile info. You can also send tweets out from the Xbox 360, but it’s frustrating to do, unless you have a Chatpad handy.
- Last.fm: This works as expected. You sign in, and you get access to all your channels, and you can create new channels on the fly. What sucks? You can’t see your Last.fm friends, which is something I miss. Even worse? The music only plays when you are actually in the Last.fm area. If you leave, the music stops. This means you can’t carry it over to the dashboard, or in-game. So really, what’s the point?
- Zune Instant on 1080p: This was awesome. Definitely blew me away. We streamed a portion of the movie 300. After a bandwidth test, the Xbox 360 confirmed we were good to go for instant 1080p streaming, and it delivered. Fantastic. The best streaming video quality we’ve seen from any service.
There are a few other new details as well, and we give you a detailed look at it all in this video. Sit back and enjoy!
We just got word from our friends at Xbox LIVE that we’ll be getting the new Fall 2009 Dashboard Update on Monday, which means we’ll be bringing you a preview and walkthrough of all the upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard features, including Twitter, Facebook, Zune instant-on 1080p movies, Last.fm, and more. For a look at everything we’ll be bringing you on Monday, hit the jump. Now go enjoy your weekend!
Sonos is looking to market to the iPhone and iPod touch crowd with their new ZonePlayer S5 wireless music system. If you’re familiar with Sonos, you know that the price of entry has always been a bit high historically. The ZonePlayer S5 brings that price down to about $400. You plug it in to a router, and you are good to go with the ability to play your entire music library, as well as music from services like Rhapsody, Napster, Last.fm, and others, by using your iPhone as the remote control.
The price rises if you don’t have an Ethernet port handy for the S5, as you would then also need to buy a ZoneBridge, which allows you to connect the ZonePlayer S5 (as well as any other ZonePlayers you have) to your network wirelessly. We definitely think this is a positive step in the right direction for Sonos. By adding an all-on-one ZonePlayer/speaker to their line-up at this much lower price point, they’ve made it enticing to check them out to see what all the fuss is about. We’d pick up a ZonePlayer S5 over a Bose Sounddock any day of the week.
Read More | Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Demo
Yeah, in case you forgot, today is the day that the masses (including you) get access to all the fancy new features in the latest Xbox 360 Dashboard Update! I’m talking about things like Netflix Movie Parties, Games on Demand, the Avatar Marketplace, etc. You can get the full scoop on all the updates, both major and minor, at the link below. What we wanna know now, though, is how you are liking it. Let us know in the comments.
Oh, and remember, there is more to come in a couple of months, as we still have Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace with 1080p instant-on movie streaming to look forward to later this fall.
Read More | August 2009 Dashboard Update Details
Okay, I’ve had enough of the Xbox Live friend limit that Microsoft has imposed on us for far too long. I think this has gone on long enough, and I’m really not seeing a good reason for it. As many Xbox Live gamers know, the current limit on friends you can have is set to 100. The thing is, in the age of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and all the others, we are now used to connecting with many people in our social graph across many different services.
Now, all that said, there is still one more very annoying piece to this puzzle. Did you know that the Zune Social and Xbox Live share one common friends list? In other words, if you currently have 100 Xbox Live friends, and you go out and buy a Zune, and want to connect with people who also have Zune’s (but don’t necessarily play games,) you are out of luck. You’ll have to remove someone from your Xbox Live friend list to add someone else. This is, in two words, absolutely ridiculous. I get wanting to share the Zune and Xbox ecosystem, but to shoot yourself in the foot like this is just puzzling. I personally have at least 15 people that I would like to add as friends on the Zune Social, but I can’t, because my Xbox Live list is maxed out.
Tom Cullen of Sonos stopped by to give us a first-hand look at the new Sonos Controller 200 CR200 remote control. A marked improvement over the original Sonos Controller 100, the CR200 is a full touchscreen device that allows you to interact with music from a vast amount of sources and services, both on your network and from the Internet, with relative ease. We give you a look at how it all comes together in this episode.
This morning, Microsoft hooked us up with an early preview of the next Xbox 360 Dashboard Update. We were able to get a look at the new Netflix features (which no longer require a PC,) the Avatar Marketplace, Game Ratings, Games on Demand, and more. While more coveted features like Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace won’t be landing until the fall, the update is still a solid one. Here are our thoughts on the next update, which lands on your Xbox 360 on August 11 (or sooner if you apply for early access!)
Songbird has released its latest version 1.2. Available for Mac, Windows and Linux, the open source music player now includes 2-way synchronization with iTunes, although still not to an iPhone or iPod. Built on the Mozilla platform, Songbird can automatically organize and store your music files. With the use of Last.fm, improvements include new Radio Directory support for browsing and quick links for playing stations previously accessed. Check out their site if you would like to try the free download.
Read More | Songbird