The next major Xbox 360 dashboard update happens on December 6th, and we’ve got a look at all the new changes and additions in this episode of Bleeding Edge TV. The Fall 2011 Xbox 360 Dashboard Update is the official name of this release, and we show you the update process, and then walk you through the new interface. We give you a look at new features like Bing, Cloud Storage for games and profiles, the new Social, Games, Movies, and Music channels, and more. Expect good things from Microsoft's latest update, including full Kinect integration. This is a big update that brings another big redesign to the Xbox 360, similar to what they did a couple years ago with the New Xbox Experience. Things are a lot more flat...even boxy. It's somewhat similar to the Metro UI that you’d find on Windows Phone 7 devices or Windows 8, and the synergy is understandable…plus, it makes things a lot more user-friendly as it pertains to Kinect.
Big thank you to GoToMeeting and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like.
The Zune HD may have made its debut last year, but it's still a damn good PMP that doesn't get all the love that it deserves--seriously, just check out our Zune HD review. With the recent launch of Windows Phone 7, and Zune on Xbox 360, the brand has gotten a lot of play recently, and we think the Zune HD is more than worthy of a spot on our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. Microsoft came through with a superb device with a fantastic service behind it to match. In fact, we’ve said it many time that, in our opinion, for someone that truly loves music, Zune is the best deal around. Coupled with the $15 per month Zune Pass (which isn’t a requirement,) you get a top-notch portable media player with an OLED screen, HD Radio, and web browser with the advantage of being able to listen to pretty much any song you can think of at a moments notice. There's also an app marketplace that lets you download games, Twitter and Facebook integration, and more.
The Zune HD retails for $349 for the 64GB, $269 for the 32GB, and $199 for the 16GB model - however, Amazon’s got a great sale on the Zune HD that’ll put the 32GB model into your hands for $203 ($63 off,) the 16GB model will run you $149 ($50 off,) and the 64GB model for $314 ($30 off.)
Oh, and did we mention something about giving it away? Heck yeah! We will be running the 32GB Zune HD giveaway for a week. The winner will receive a 32GB Zune HD and a 1-month Zune Pass!
Here’s how to enter:
- Follow the Gear Live Twitter account
- On Twitter, post this tweet about our contest: “Hey @gearlive hook me up with that @Zune HD! http://gear.lv/zunehd-holiday” (Click here to tweet this now)
That’s it! Remember, you’ve gotta have a Twitter account (they're free), and you’ve gotta be following the Gear Live Twitter account so that we can send you a DM if you’re the winner. This one is only open to residents of the US. We will be announcing a winner on December 10, so you’ve got a week to qualify.
Read More | Zune on Amazon
We’ve been waiting for Apple to launch some sort of iTunes subscription music service for years now. Seeing other companies like Rhapsody, Napster, and Microsoft’s Zune offer it while leaving Apple out has been pretty frustrating. However, today Reuters is reporting (alongside CNET and the New York Post) that Apple is in talks with all the major record execs to pitch a new subscription music service. Basically, for $10-15 per month, you’d get unlimited access to pretty much the entire iTunes music library. It’s definitely a move to ward off Spotify, since they are trying hard to get into the US, as well as the impending launch of Windows Phone 7 which will include a hyped up and renewed push of the Zune Pass. We’d love to see this one happen.
The next major Xbox 360 dashboard update happens in November, and we’ve got a look at all the new changes and additions in this episode of Bleeding Edge TV. This is a big update that brings another big redesign to the Xbox 360, similar to what they did a couple years ago with the New Xbox Experience. Things are a lot more flat and boxy, like what you’d find on Windows Phone 7, and the synergy is understandable…plus, it makes things a lot more user-friendly as it pertains to Kinect.
What else do you get? Netflix search and DVD queue management, along with a Netflix app redesign. ESPN brings 3,500 live sporting events per year (close to 100 per day!,) Zune finally brings music to the Xbox 360 with Zune Pass integration, and more. Get a look at the video above for the full scoop.
During the E3 2010 Microsoft Xbox Media Briefing, while showing off the new Kinect dashboard, it was announced that the Zune music catalog would be coming to the Xbox 360. IT was kind of announced as an afterthought, as they were focusing on the Kinect integration, but it’s a big deal because currently, Zune is used just as a video store for movie and television purchases and rentals. For music, you need to use Last.fm or stream your own content. Now it appears that you can link up your Zune Pass and play from the entire 7 million track library that Zune offers. No date has been set as of yet, but we can’t wait.
We must say, one device we were excited about this year was the Zune HD, and as evidenced in our Zune HD review, Microsoft came through with a superb device with a fantastic service behind it to match. In fact, we’ve said it many time that, in our opinion, for someone that truly loves music, Zune is the best deal around. Coupled with the $15 per month Zune Pass (which isn’t a requirement,) you get a top-notch portable media player with an OLED screen, HD Radio, and web browser with the advantage of being able to listen to pretty much any song you can think of at a moments notice.
The Zune HD retails for $289 for the 32GB model, and $219 for the 16GB model - however, Amazon’s got a great sale on the Zune HD that’ll put the 32GB model into your hands for $269 ($21 off,) while the 16GB model will run you $189 ($30 off.)
Read More | Zune on Amazon
The wait for the big Zune refresh that a lot of us have been clamoring for is finally over. Today, the Zune HD launches, available from the Microsoft online store, Amazon, Best Buy, and others. Alongside that launch comes a much-improved Zune software and services package. That’s right, Zune 4.0 is here, and there’s lots to cover. Let’s dive in and take a look at all the major new features in Zune 4.0, as well as some of the smaller pieces of fit and finish that make this release shine, including the Zune Marketplace, Zune PC software, Zune on Xbox Live, and Zune.net.
From everything we’ve seen as it pertains to the Zune 4.0 software, this update is all about making music more enjoyable to listen to, easier to discover, and easier to manage. In addition, you get movies in the Zune Marketplace now (both rental and purchase,) Xbox Live integration, and a bunch of other features that make Zune 4.0 one of the best pieces of media management software that we’ve used to date.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Zune 4.0 is the Quickplay screen. Similar to the Quickplay area on the new Zune HD, the Zune desktop software gets similar treatment. Here you’ll be able to pin specific content to the area, get a look at new content you’ve recently added to your library, pull up recently played content, and also get direct access to your Smart DJ mixes. Smart DJ, you say? Yes, read on.
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.
It’s no secret, we are big fans of Microsoft’s Zune - both the service, and the device. I’ve had a Zune Pass since the service launched, and use it daily (my Zune Pass profile.) If you aren’t sure what that is, it’s an unlimited music streaming and download service. You can listen to as much as you want for just $15 a month. In addition, you get to keep any 10 tracks of your choosing each month as well. Yours to keep, forever. Did you know, though, that you can stream any of your downloaded Zune tracks to your iPhone? Yeah, that’s one of the best parts. When you start connecting the dots, you soon realize that you have the potential of having an entire catalogue of music available to you, on your iPhone, regardless of the amount of storage you’ve got.
But, wait…how do you stream Windows Media Audio files to the iPhone, which doesn’t support that format? Furthermore, Zune tracks that aren’t downloaded as part of your 10 free keepers per month are riddled with DRM. Yeah, we hear you. There is no Zune app available for the iPhone itself. What you need is to install a piece of software on your PC, along with downloading an app on your iPhone. Join us, as we open up the musical floodgates.
Microsoft is definitely looking to bring it with the Zune in recent weeks. You just know that they have to have something, like the Zune HD, up their sleeves. I mean, they must have something going on, because all of a sudden they are getting bold with their advertising and claims. First came Wes Moss, their smarmy financial planner who explains why the Zune Pass is the best deal in music (even though it truly is.) Now, they’ve set up a section within the Zune Player itself that let’s you grab all the top songs from the top 100 offerings on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, and even File Sharing (how would they know)?
What do you think? What would it take to get you to consider Zune as a music service, if not as a device?