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Microsoft Announces Major Xbox Live Update 48

Posted by Zonk
from the ground-control-to-major-nelson dept.
simoniker writes "Microsoft has announced its sixth major update to the Xbox Live online service for Xbox 360, with 85 new features and enhancements, including support for native 1080p games and movies, faster Xbox Live Arcade game list display times, and more options for video playback. The company has announced that it will debut the update Tuesday, October 31, and the free download will be available to all Xbox Live Silver and Gold account holders, and will not require the use of the Xbox 360's hard drive."
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Microsoft Announces Major Xbox Live Update

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  • No DivX (Score:2, Interesting)

    by urubos (562290)
    What I want to know is when can we play something other than WMV files on the 360 media center. I realize there are tricks to do so, but my modded original xbox can play pretty much anything I throw at it without issue. Why can't a machine significantly more powerful do so?
    • You would be surprised how many people are holding off on buying a 360 for this simple feature alone. You wouldn't think it would be a big deal for people, but it certainly seems to be. You can't read any message board or blog site without seeing people wanting DivX support anymore. I suppose this will have to be done eventually to compete with the PS3, as it'll be bootable into Red Dog Linux, which already supports pretty much every codec out there. Competition is great, but man, some companies are really
      • Between all the distros available, it gets my head broked.
      • by cptgrudge (177113)

        It might just be a tech myth, but Bill Gates was rumored to have seen XBMC in operation on a modded XBox and asked "Why don't we have something like this?" I'm stunned that they haven't created their own version or just tried to hire the XBMC team to make it for the 360. They could sell it on Live Marketplace and make a killing.

        And yes, without DivX support, it is useless.

      • http://www.runtime360.com/ [runtime360.com] is free software that will transcode your xvid and divx files to wmv in realtime. You install it on your media center box and you can play your divx files from your 360. Sure transcoding will cost you some picture quality, but its a decent solution until Microsoft decides to come around.
    • by jZnat (793348) *
      And since the Xbox 360 is far more powerful than the original Xbox, they should also be able to support H.264 and HD resolutions for all MPEG-4 profiles.
    • by Osty (16825)

      What I want to know is when can we play something other than WMV files on the 360 media center. I realize there are tricks to do so, but my modded original xbox can play pretty much anything I throw at it without issue. Why can't a machine significantly more powerful do so?

      It's not a question of power, but codecs. If the DivX/XviD/Quicktime/Real/etc codecs aren't available, it can't play those videos, period. Could the codecs be added in the future? Almost certainly. Will they? Who knows. Assuming

    • by Babbster (107076)
      It has nothing to do with hardware capability. I also don't imagine it has anything to do with licensing the CODECs - the Divx/Xvid people would probably be happy to be able to put the 360 on their list of hardware supporters and Microsoft could get back any licensing fees by simply making the upgrade a pay feature on Xbox Live Marketplace.

      No, the likely reason MS is avoiding this is because Divx/Xvid-encoded files comprise the majority of copyright-violating video on the Interweb these days. Microsoft
      • by Malevolyn (776946) *
        That's like saying Microsoft won't support the JPEG format because there's been child pornography in JPEG and they don't want to annoy the cops. Divx is one of the more effective compression formats, which is why it's so popular with pirated movie groups.

        That doesn't mean I don't completely agree with you.
    • by Duds (100634)
      Because MS doesn't want to pay another company licencing fees so you can watch probably illegal video.

      They want you to watch illegal video in their format.
  • I know it probably doesn't, but please, please, let this mean that they're going to allow video playback over UPnP shares, like they do with music. I currently use Connect360 (which I heartily recommend, I tried to use Twonkymedia on my Mac, its setup was weird and difficult to get to work, Connect360 works perfectly with a minimum of fuss, and has easy config options) to serve music from my Mac to my 360, which is quite convenient and cool. I'd love to be able to do the same with Video. But somehow I do
    • by cptgrudge (177113)
      Personally, I'd be happy with connectivity to Windows/Samba shares and useful codecs like ogg and divx. But that's probably expecting too much.
    • by a16 (783096)
      Looking at the full feature list at xbox.com - it looks like this might be possible, they are finally allowing streaming of video from Windows Media Player on non Media Center PCs, and specifically list Windows Media Connect which I presume means third party solutions should work too?

      # Stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11, Zune software, or Windows Media Connect.
      # Play video from storage devices such as USB flash drives, Xbox 360 Memory Units, etc.
      # Play video from CD or DVD da
      • by Cadallin (863437)
        Actually it does, now if they'd just quit trying to pimp WMV, which very few people want, They'd have a pretty great video streaming solution. Here's Hoping.
      • by Erwos (553607)
        It's actually MPEG1, MPEG2, and WMV. I can confirm that Windows Media Connect is all that's needed, too.

        Note that WMC does _not_ work with Transcode360, though.
    • by radish (98371)
      Yes, they've added support for playing WMV (only) from MediaConnect (aka UPnP) and USB.
  • Full List (Score:4, Informative)

    by cptgrudge (177113) <cptgrudge@gmaiCHEETAHl.com minus cat> on Monday October 30, 2006 @05:46PM (#16649087) Journal
    The full list of changes can be found here [xbox.com].
  • From the list of changes:

    Lightning-fast enumeration and listing of all Xbox Live® Arcade games on the console.

    Indeed, enumeration of lists has been painfully slow, and the need to needlessly flip between screens causes you to have to do it over and over for many common operations (i.e. downloading more than one video or demo, hello?), making the user experience overall quite poor.

    I wonder what exactly they changed to fix it? This is vague; it could refer to the bizarre way the 360 seems to count up its
    • by kinglink (195330)
      It probably stores a list and only retabulates it once in a while.

      I have to admit this is so painfully slow at times, that this is the one feature I care about. Sad really, but it is important.

      If this improves marketplace speeds I'll be very excited as well (though I sorta just wish companies would put stuff like free keys in one major download pack.)

      BTW, another cool addition I've heard about (from Microsoft) is the ability to download new Xbox Live Arcade Demos immediatly, with out having to queue them u
      • by Osty (16825)

        It probably stores a list and only retabulates it once in a while.

        It enumerates every time you enter the Arcade section. My guess is that they read more data at once now, as before it seemed like it was reading one game at a time (find game on HDD/MU, make a call to get information, display it, repeat).

        I have to admit this is so painfully slow at times, that this is the one feature I care about. Sad really, but it is important.

        On the other hand, if such a minor thing is a major complaint, that mea

        • by kinglink (195330)
          The Dashboard is a good system for me, I don't use it for playback and rarely streaming, but when I use it, it works. The 360 isn't the greatest thing ever but it's definatly a worthy system(something I can't say about the original Xbox), I'm still waiting on the Wii, but the 360 will remain promenently in front of my main tv.

          I forgot at work I have a development kit and we do get early versions of many things, this being one. All I can say is it really is lightning fast.
    • by ClamIAm (926466)
      Occam's Razor suggests that they may have just had really unoptimized code for these bits. Generic code may have been used for various bits of the UI, and who knows how much research they did on "average" use cases.
  • What I want to know is how well the framerate holds up when the resolution in cranked to 1080p. I couldn't dredge up the info on what exactly MS is requiring from developers, although they all are likely tweaking for reasonable performance at the top setting.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Osty (16825)

      What I want to know is how well the framerate holds up when the resolution in cranked to 1080p. I couldn't dredge up the info on what exactly MS is requiring from developers, although they all are likely tweaking for reasonable performance at the top setting.

      The Xbox 360 has 10MB of high-speed local framebuffer for the GPU that is used exclusively for the output frames (a 1920x1080@32bpp frame is 7.9MB). As well, it has a hardware scaling unit that does high quality upscaling to any resolution. The po

      • by ClamIAm (926466)
        Thanks for clearing all that up, even if the info was probably a well-worded query away. As for the tech, it sounds like the hardware devs at MS know what they're doing. I remember a post on Penny Arcade after one of those guys got a high-def set, where the standard upscaling mode threw off Guitar Hero enough to affect gameplay.

        As for "requiring things from developers", I was referring to the fact that MS requires (for example) six-channel Dolby sound. Before the 360 was out, I believe there were article
  • One Problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar (772313) on Monday October 30, 2006 @08:07PM (#16651167) Homepage Journal
    I'm hoping Microsoft will address a problem that a friend who works at Microsoft said they had recieved a lot of complaints over, one of which was from me as it can get pretty darn frustrating. When you download the trial of an arcade game on the Xbox Live and then delete it (whether because you don't want to buy it or you want to buy it at a later date), the game will always show up in the "My Games" part with no gamerscore attached which then lowers your overall points percentage. Not even deleting the game data on the system will fix this due to the fact that as soon as it is downloaded it is added to your profile on Xbox.com and your Gamercard.

    Other than that, it is good to see Microsoft working on keeping the system up to date, as are some of the games (Perfect Dark Zero has updates 'frequently' compared to games such as Ridge Racer 6, which have glaring glitches that really disturb gameplay and the general feel of the game which are never patched). I hope more developers who are working on the 360 start following MS's lead and making sure all of their products are kept up to date and user friendly.
  • I just hope this finally hammers out the bugs in PGR3 with the guide...I stopped playing the multi because bringing up the guide to change my music or similar would make it crash and force me to reboot, or a popup would tell me someone was online and that crashed the guide as well. I also hope that the lag during XBL sign-in won't be as noticeable....the whole console just grinds to a halt when I do it.

    I love my 360, I really do...but the little bugs and oddities (I download Live Arcade titles a lot...so m
  • that shows what the xbox 360 can do and don't send out any more games that are upscaled to 720p.
  • I'm rather glad that this is finally available.

    Have some nice looking high definition WMV-HD discs and it's nice to be able to watch them without having to disconnect my Sky HD box from the DVI input on my TV and plugging in my laptop (which is rather flakey at HD video playback too).

    Like the handling of photographs, the only thing I don't really like is the way the WMP11 library and 360 presents the list of video clips available on my PC i.e. just a straight list of everything in it.

    Makes it a pain in the

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