The long awaited first major update to the Xbox 360's dashboard functionality is here, downloading to all Xbox Live connected consoles this morning. So what does 2.0 give you? Well now you can both queue downloads and continue to play games while content downloads in the background which was a major gripe for many, and custom soundtracks continue to play even when changing games, among a whole host of other improvements, tweaks and bugfixes. One more notable change is the choice to boot to dash instead of playing whatever DVD is in the drive. You can check out the list of 125 new features here. Of special note to HDTV owners may be that downloaded videos now have DVD-style playback controls (FF, rew, etc.). Connection to Windows Media Center Edition PCs has also been subject to performance enhancements.

The much criticized DVD playback has been updated, with "general" improvements to video quality and improved audio video sync. I downloaded the update and checked it out, there was a noticeable improvement, but colors still seem a bit washed out and there is no way to calibrate it (although the info pane now has a gradient bar across the top I hadn't noticed before, that may help in adjusting your TV) and posters on AVS Forum have confirmed that when connected via the VGA output, the 360 scales to whatever resolution (1280x720 for example) is selected. Whether you have Xbox Live silver or gold, simply log on and you will be prompted to download the update automatically, it took less than a minute to download and install. Overall very nice and includes a lot of things people have been asking for since the console launched.

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Xbox 360 dashboard update arrives