What’s in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 fall update?

12 11 2007
Family Timer, Video Marketplace, DivX support…?

Unlike Sony, Microsoft likes to make updates to its games consoles in big chunks. So while the Japanese company will trickle its PS3 updates out regularly, Microsoft issues two big Xbox 360 updates a year. The so-called ‘fall update’ is already late, and looks like hitting consoles at some point in early December.

But what’s going to be included in it? One of the new features that Microsoft has already confirmed is the so-called ‘Family Timer’. This is a tool that enables parents to track how much time their kids have spent playing games.

Xbox 360 ‘Family Timer’

It’ll also empower those parents to limit the amount of time the consoles can be used per day. Once those limits are hit, the password-protected console will shut down. It’s the feature all mothers across the world have been waiting for, and every child’s worst nightmare.

According to Bach, with more than 13 million Xbox 360 consoles sold worldwide, the company’s drive to empower parents is a core Microsoft responsibility.

“We’ve seen a tremendous response to the robust parental controls offered on Xbox 360 and Windows Vista, and the Xbox 360 Family Timer will continue to deliver on our promise to provide safer, balanced and fun entertainment for everyone,” he said.

Video Marketplace

Well, the Xbox Live Video Marketplace launched a year ago in the US and it’s widely expected that next month’s update will see it debut in the UK. It’s a service which allows you to download TV episodes and movies either on a rental or permanent basis.

So you can expect to be able to pay a nominal fee for episodes of shows like CSI and Star Trek, as well as movies such as Saw.

There are also whispers doing the rounds that the fall update will see DivX compatibility added to the Xbox 360. That’s something that would go down a storm with most 360 gamers.

DivX is the worlds’ most popular video format, but most devices need special codecs to read the files. If the Xbox 360 gets DivX compatibility, it would enable gamers to stream their DivX media from their PCs to their consoles and then onto their living room TVs.

DivX support?

It’s just speculation though at the moment, sparked by DivX CEO Kevin Hell letting slip that he was working with Microsoft for future collaborations. So it’s possible that DivX support could also be added to Microsoft 1st- and 2nd-gen Zune players. But it’s also possible that nothing will come of it.

Microsoft is being typically secretive with details regarding the Xbox 360 fall update. It only confirmed the Family Timer because it had already been leaked onto the internet. But the twice-yearly dashboard updates typically add a range of new functionality, from small usability tweaks to major functionality enhancements.

We could expect more announcements during the long weekend of Xtival 07 (23-26 November), which marks the two-year anniversary of Xbox Live and offers free online play for all Xbox 360 owners.

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Firmware version 2.0 – Official press release

7 11 2007

Following is the official press release from Sony on Firmware Update 2.00 (available for download 8 November). On top of the ability to turn the PlayStation 3 on remotely via the PSP, Version 2.00 also allows the creation of playlists in both the music and photo sections, giving users an opportunity to create unlimited music playlists, as well as sharing favourite photos in high definition.

Version 2.00 also allows for customisation of the XMB menu screen, with the ability to change the colour and brightness or to set a completely different custom theme. Moreover, there’s the addition of an Information Board on XMB to keep users up to date on the latest PlayStation news, the inclusion of a new PlayStation Network category and logo for easier navigation and Trend Micro Web Security, a free2, state of the art internet security system.

Full article with Screenshots





Lightroom update for Leopard users on the way

31 10 2007

An update to make Lightroom 1.2 fully compatible with Leopard Mac OS X 10.5 should be available mid-November, Adobe has announced.

The company says photographers can continue using the photo management software in Leopard without too much issue, but stressed that the current version of Lightroom 1.2 is not fully compatible with Apple’s new operating system.

Adobe recommends that users refer to a list of known compatibility issues published on Adobe’s Lightroom Journal Web site before deciding whether to use the current version of Lightroom with Leopard. It also issued this warning:

 

(Credit: Apple)

 

“The interaction between Leopard’s Time Machine and Lightroom’s catalog files is unknown at this time. Running Time Machine backup or restore operations while Lightroom is in use is not recommended until more information can be obtained,” Tom Hogarty, Adobe Lightroom Project Manager, said in a statement.

Most of the Lightroom/Leopard compatibility problems involve visual issues with the interface rather than functionality. For example, users may have to open and close left-side panels to get the Develop module to display properly. Other glitches are more serious, such as the Print module not loading at all for some Leopard users.

Adobe stated previously that its Creative Suite 3 versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks are safe for continued use in Leopard.

While not directly related to the use of Adobe Lightroom, photographers commonly dealing with frequent backups and file sharing should also be aware that Leopard’s Time Machine will not support AirPort Extreme’s AirPort Disk. This is the feature that allows users to plug an external hard drive into AirPort Extreme and share its files over a secure network.

Credit : C|Net News





Blu-ray Gets Picture In Picture & PS3 Getting Firmware Update

31 10 2007

20th Century Fox in January will release the first Blu-ray movie with picture-in-picture interactivity.

That’s according to an article by Video Business.

The publication reported that Fox demonstrated the PIP feature for the sci-fi thriller Sunshine on Monday during a press briefing. (Sunshine is a UK-based movie starring a cast of unknowns.)

HD DVD, Blu-ray’s high-def disc format rival, has featured PIP on some discs for a few months, including Warner’s HD DVD edition of the war movie 300.

HD DVD supporters have said the PIP feature will engage movie buffs because it can offer related information while the person watches the film.

For instance, Video Business reports, Sunshine’s filmmakers discuss the movie in the PIP window while it’s running.

Most Blu-ray players currently do not have the capacity to display PIP, but Fox senior vice president Steve Feldstein told the publication that future models will. He added that Sony will upgrade the Play Station 3 with a PIP feature via a firmware download.

“There will be players in the market,” Feldstein said.

Disney is expected to offer PIP in several titles next year, including Finding Nemo.





Update – Top 10 Game Developers of All Time

31 10 2007

#10 – Activision
#09 – SEGA
#08 – Square Enix
#07 – LucasArts
#06 – Electronic Arts
#05 – Ubisoft
#04 – Konami
#03 – Capcom

and the others are yet to be decided. So keep checking for the latest updates on the top 10

Now the story of CapCom follows…. Read the rest of this entry »





New Leopard Drivers Hint for new Macs

30 10 2007

Things are going pretty fast for Apple ever since Leopard came out 3 days ago. The latest of the  rumors to hit the internet is that, Apple is going to launch new Macbooks pretty soon. If you ask me the reason for this, then its pretty much simple, Apple has bundled the drivers for Intel’s GMA X3100 chipset into Leopard, that clearly suggests that Apple definitely has new Macs in the offing with Intel’s GMA X3100 on it.

Apple has included a full set of recent drivers for Intel’s GMA X3100 integrated graphics chipset, which is only built into the semiconductor firm’s motherboards for notebooks based on the Santa Rosa platform. Apple uses Santa Rosa for its most recent MacBook Pro models but equips them exclusively with dedicated graphics cards from non-Intel providers like NVIDIA, that leaves MacBooks with slower Graphics.

No other driver-related clues as to the MacBook and Mac mini upgrades have been found, but interestingly all the drivers are dated from October 11th which means that Apple finalized the current version of the drivers only days before Leopard was sent to manufacturing. Apple in the past has never included non supported drivers into OS X in the past, but this instance clearly shows that we will be seeing new Macbooks very soon..

Intel GMA X3100

Here are some screenshots that suggest the arrival of new Mac’s from Cupertino.. Steve I am dying to look at the new Macbooks!

Intel GMA X3100

If the GMA X3100 chipsets are used in the future Macbooks, its going to provide a tremendous boost to Graphics on the Mac. So I would suggest you hold on for sometime if you are planning to buy a Macbook, because Apple might upgrade them pretty soon. (One week if my guess is correct!)

Credit: Dailyapps