Xbox 360 fall dashboard preview now available to beta testers

By Tom Warren, on 10th Nov 11 8:30 pm with 52 Comments

New Xbox LIVE dashboard user interface

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it has started to push out a beta preview of the new Xbox 360 dashboard.

The beta preview gives testers access to a whole range of new features in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 dashboard. Microsoft started accepting nominations for the Xbox dashboard beta last month. The software maker closed registrations after just 24 hours due to popular demand. The newly designed dashboard will offer the following features:

  • New Xbox LIVE Dashboard with integrated voice and gesture controls - We’ve updated the dashboard, making it easier to navigate through content, whether you use Kinect or a controller. Use voice and gesture controls to float through the menu and select games, movies, music and applications.
  • Beacons – Beacons allow you to tell your Xbox LIVE and Facebook friends that you want to play a game on Xbox LIVE, making it easier to jump in and play together. By setting a Beacon, you tell Xbox LIVE what you want to play. Then, Xbox LIVE lets you know when friends are playing or want to play the same game.
  • Facebook Sharing – With Facebook Sharing, now it is easier than ever to brag about all your achievements to your social network. With the integrated “share” feature, you can tout your achievements and showcase your in-game accomplishments through instant, direct posts.
  • Roaming Profile – With new roaming profiles you can now bring your complete Xbox LIVE® profile to any Xbox 360®, including game saves, friend lists and your Gold membership, to your friend’s house for more fun.

Codenamed “Madrid”, the November dashboard update will bring Microsoft’s Metro style interface to the Xbox. Microsoft is also preparing to include YouTube and Bing on the Xbox. Bing users will be able to use Kinect’s voice recognition feature to search for movies, music and other content on their consoles. Microsoft is also planning to include some type of Marketplace with applications for Xbox 360. The new dashboard will enable Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone integration with Xbox, see a video demonstration here.

Microsoft will also introduce an Xbox LIVE TV service as part of its dashboard update. The company announced deals with nearly 40 content providers recently. Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO and Syfy are amongst a number of TV providers for U.S. Xbox owners. The BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are partnering with Microsoft in the UK to offer programming on the Xbox 360. Xbox users will need the latest dashboard update, due in November, to experience live TV with Xbox LIVE. Microsoft is planning to make the TV channels available to Xbox LIVE gold subscribers and some partners will integrate Kinect experiences with their TV channels. Microsoft’s TV service is powered by the company’s Silverlight software.

  • Anonymous

    Good grief. FINALLY !!!!
    I actually gave up, thinking I did something wrong in the setup process.

  • GuitarGoo

    Metro on everything. I WANT METRO ON EVERYTHING

    • Penta2100

      pffft. Metro addict. I’m one too!

    • Anonymous

      Me three. It’s the future. Content is king and Metro is all about content. Typographically appealing to boot.

    • Raha936

      Finally, some people that know what they are talking about. Microsoft has come out with the most refreshing and unique user friendly interface that integrates all of your content into one notification + start screen mesh that makes iOS and android look old and out of date.

    • Nomorespam78


  • OperationTwinky

    how do you get the beta

    • Anonymous

      you’ve missed the beta sign-ups so your can’t.

    • Joe

      Beta sign-ups were pretty much available to everyone who signed up for them, within 1 day of it’s announcement. They were overwhelmed with applicants and had to cut off registration extremely quickly this time.

  • Mark Green

    Will have to ditch my PS3 again soon…

    • Anonymous

      I was sooo close to getting a PS3, then they showed WP7 games integrating with Xbox like the Kinectimals and that made my decision.  Got the 4GB xbox with the Kinect, and just ordered the 320GB drive from Amazone :)

  • Anonymous

    Go Microsoft!! Operation to own 2012 has begun!!

    windows phone 8 and windows 8.

    If apple makes so much from its app store with only 100 million users. What will Microsoft make from its 1 billion plus users.

    Damn if I was rich I would buy a million shares tonight

    • Guest

      “Operation to own 2012 has begun!!”

      Unlikely. Estimates for MS just got taken down again, this time due to the Taiwan flooding and further impact that will have on PC sales. Analysts are now expecting revenue and profit to be virtually flat with 2011.  That means Apple should end next year at almost twice MS’s revenue and profit.

    • Anonymous

      Do you realize that an app store will be on windows 7 pcs and windows 8 pcs.

      Do you honestly believe that when all of this comes into play. That money won’t rain from the heavens for MSFT. Seriously they will probably have a hard time for 3 more quarters. After that I guarantee the world will watch in awe.

    • Guest

      I don’t know if in-OS revenue will offset the declines due to weak PC sales + iPad, Android, Fire competition. Just saying that 2012 is going to suck for them financially. You appear to concede that since 3 more quarters would take them into their 2013.

    • Anonymous

      To be honest if they get an app store going on windows 7 only. That will be have a greater potential than ios and OSX put together.

      450 million people use windows 7. You do the math.

    • Bburke33609

      And none of the components needed for Apple products will be affected by this also? Unlikely.

    • Guest

      No, looks like there could be some disruption there too, specifically logic boards for the iPhone. But apparently there was enough previous production to get them through at least Xmas. On the hard drive side, which is the main concern, Apple isn’t as exposed there since much of their stuff uses flash and the MBA uses SSD.

      Anyway, it doesn’t change the relative comparison. Even if they’re equally affected, Apple will grow 25-30%+/- whatever the impact is and MS is expected to grow around 4-5% +/- whatever the impact is. So anyway you slice it Apple ends next year at roughly double the size of MS by both revenue and profit.

      Not trolling and I wish it weren’t the case. But those are the facts. 

    • Bobnailani


    • JimmyFal

      Facts are facts, conjecture about the future are not facts. Are your initials JK by any chance? What’s with the Guest status, chicken?

    • Joe

      I really wish they would do away with “Guest” status on this site. They are always trolls trying to start flame wars. Create some accountability and register with the site that you’re going to troll on at least.

    • Guest

      Besides making a fool of yourself, what exactly are you saying? Is it your contention that these 40+ highly paid people on both Apple and MS are so badly wrong on both sides that Apple won’t be double MS by next year? If so, where do you see things ending up by then? Apple only 50% bigger? MS coming out of left field to grow larger than Apple? Or do you really just have no clue and are venting instead?

  • Jason Hughey

    Woo-hoo!  One more hour here at work and then off to the house to play around with the beta dashboard!

  • Daniel Clark

    Hrrm, where is the Live TV service in this update? I’ve just installed the beta dashboard update.

    • Not ice_fusion.

      Not all features/services will be live. They may be incrementally added throughout the beta period. Aside from the major UI overhaul and some of the extra little things in there, the features you have to play with are the ones mentioned in the Pre-Release tab on your dashboard.

  • Anonymous

    can anyone answer if all the features annouced are in this beta? ie live tv. I can’t install it till tomorrow.

    • Not ice_fusion.

      No, they aren’t. The features in there are the ones that have been mentioned already on the site and in the pre-release channel.

  • Louis Sandiford

    I cannot tell you whether I do or indeed do not I have the beta or was accepted into the preview.

    Sorry folks :D

    • Guest

      When Barnes & Noble asked Microsoft for more detailed information related to these patents, Microsoft refused, claiming that the information was confidential and could not be shared, unless Barnes & Noble first executed a non­disclosure agreement,” DeFelice wrote.Barnes & Noble declined because, DeFelice wrote, the patents and the Nook are both public. Five months later, the companies met again, and this time, Barnes & Noble agreed to a “very narrow” nondisclosure agreement limited to discussions about “claim charts” Microsoft produced at this single meeting in order to “move the process forward.”

    • Anonymous

      So whats so strange about this? B&N are acting like small children who are just new on the block. Every company signs NDA’s to make sure nothing what is been discussed between MS and B&N becomes used by either the companies or gets public.

      But since your hate for MS is more strongly, i suggest you just leave.

    • Guest

      They didn’t sign the normal full NDA. Therefore, conceivably at least, they can mouth off about what they did and not be technically in violation. OTOH, if they violated the “narrow” NDA, then that would be another problem for them.

      Hate MS? Learn how to read.

  • roger

    Does anyone know when it actually comes out for everyone?

  • Niko

    YES!!! It looks great!! It’s simple, clear, and the voice recognition works even better. But I don’t see the Live TV service nor new apps…

    • Joe

      Is YouTube up and running yet? That’s what I’m most excited for with the new Dashboard. Can’t wait to watch SC2 matches on the big screen!

    • Henry Edwards

      We don’t have it just yet, but it might come later.

  • Eberton Konieczny Sobreira

    While all of these improvements happens in Xbox Live, the PSN network keeps the same ugly dashboard, maintenance, down…etc…

  • Jono

    I am apart of the beta but forgot to register through the beta app thingo :( I have to wait a few days now. 

    Does anyone know if Bing search is working? If so, is bing able to search my videos from my network, or is it just the marketplace?
    Cause if it can search my networked files, this would be an awesome feature.

    • Henry Edwards

      I have it at the moment, and it’s amazing, so much better than the current one. The Bing search works, but only at the moment to the marketplace, it’s going to expand to apps, but not sure about the network, that might be too much. But you can suggest new features on the Connect Site.

    • Anonymous

      I’m in the same boat. Got so busy with everything else that I forgot to do that step.

      Oh well, from the sound of it, it’ll be worth the wait.

    • Jono

      I got the update just now. Its awesome. So you will probably get it too Lewis.

      I’ll try suggest some features through the connect site.

  • Lewis McCrary

    I’m on a boat! … I mean beta!  Love the extra voice commands.  Would like to see a few more though.  So far so good.

  • Tony


  • Jono

    Hey guys,

    For those apart of the beta. Could you help me out? I have added a suggestion to allow video/music files to be integrated in one app (instead of different Zune app and video collections), so they can be searchable in Bing search.

    Could you vote for it? Its under “Integration of video and music files across zune apps and video/music collections”. I think it would be a great feature. Thanks

    • Matt Baldwin

      Xbox’s new Bing search is eco system wide.  It searches music and video at the same time.

    • Jono

      Yeah but it doesn’t search my own media content. That’s why they need to integrate the Zune media (from marketplace) and media collection.

  • Manu Narayan

    The new dashboard is really amazing.  The bing integration works like a charm and voice/gesture control in Zune/Dashboard is very precise.  There are still a few wonky screens where it pops you out of touch/voice to something that requires a controller and the Netflix Kinect application is total crap.  But there’s a ton of potential here.

  • Raghid

    Was i supposed to get a code in advance. I did apply to become a beta tester but never heard back from anyone. Does this mean i wasn’t selected ? 

    • Not ice_fusion.

      They didn’t email anyone this time AFAIK. There was a post here on WinRumors letting testers know that registration has begun, as well as announcements by Major Nelson. Pretty sure you’re okay though, just login to and there should be instructions there.

  • Morgan Wisbey

    I am enjoying it so far. You guys are really going to like the new dash.

  • guest

    I’m part of the beta but since I’m under NDA, I’m not supposed to discuss the features in detail.  But the new dash is stunning.  It’s not just cosmetic. They’ve reworked everything.  And the Kinect functionality is no longer an afterthought.  It’s everywhere in this dash (and just awesome!!!!!).

  • Pupaboy

    Got it! I am probably going to have to renew my Gold membership so I can try all the features out.  Looks pretty cool so far. 

  • Evan

    Seeing how poor Microsoft has been at delivering its platform to carriers here in the us, windows phone will never , ever, be successful. This is coming from someone who toyed with the idea of leaving T-Mobile for AT&T because the Titan.

    It’s sad, I really like the UI, but microsoft isn’t quenching my thirst with the release of the Radar, so I’m forced to go the android route for another two years.

    Good job Microsoft.