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Xbox 360 dashboard update detailed -- and demonstrated

Though the Xbox 360 has only been on the market for just over six months, the console is getting its first major facelift. Microsoft has announced the first of what it hopes will be biannual major updates to the console's functions and user interface. The Xbox 360 spring (US) platform update does not have an official release date yet, but Microsoft hopes to have it ready for download over Xbox Live about a week from today. The update is the first considerable change to the 360 since its launch last year and is largely based on consumer feedback. Many of the changes focus on making things easier to find when navigating the "blades" interface or downloading content on Xbox Live Marketplace. A new Media and Entertainment category has been added to the Marketplace menu, which features options to search for movie trailers and short films, television promos, music videos, and others instead of lumping them all together. The other Marketplace categories have also been revamped. For example, game demos can be searched by genre, themes and gamer pictures have their own section, and game videos (that is, trailers) have been properly separated from movie trailers. While 360 users have adored the ability to download content onto their machines, they've hated being pinned to the download screen, unable to perform any other activities during the process. The new download manager will allow up to six downloads to be queued up and prioritised, freeing gamers to continue browsing, playing music, or get some gaming in. Lag in online play shouldn't be a factor with background downloading. Once an online session is initiated, all downloads will pause, opening up bandwidth for the game. Once the player leaves the online game, downloading will resume.

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