fios360

I'll be writing more about this in my ongoing review of the Fall 2011 Dashboard Update for Xbox 360 once there's more available, but this week, Microsoft's partners began releasing the previously-promised TV and entertainment content. Finally, this is starting to get interesting.

(Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my Dashboard Update review, as well as my news story, Microsoft Takes First Step Toward Future of TV and Entertainment on Xbox 360, for more information about this update and the schedule for this content.)

With the understanding that availability varies wildly from region to region, and that all of this stuff requires a paid Xbox LIVE Gold subscription, here are the newly released services that are available here in the US:

Verizon FIOS. This is the big one, from my perspective, since I'm a FIOS customer (TV, phone, Internet). It's not currently complete, with no On Demand content and only a subset of the coming range of live TV channels, but what there's so far is interesting. Available SD channels include CNN HL, DIY, MTV2, The Movie Channel, Hallmark, TV Land, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, and BOOM. And you get the following in HD: TNT, TBS, Spike, ESPN News, CNN, Food TV, HGTV, Travel, truTV, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Nick, and BET, plus HBO, HBO2, and Cinemax if you're a subscriber. Best of all, there's extremely clear closed captioning. This will make our additional Xbox 360's ideal second TVs for the kids.

YouTube. Google's ubiquitous video service gets the Xbox treatment. Note, however, that you cannot control this app with voice (Kinect): Only controller/remote control and Kinect motion control is available.

iHeartRadio. This personalizable Internet radio service provides access to over 800 of the most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 US cities. You can find stations near you automatically or search for your favorites stations no matter the location, and save the ones you like the most. And as with services like Pandora or Spotify you can create custom stations based on favorite artists or songs.

TMZ. This is a celebrity gossip service, so I'll just ignore it and never have to worry about wishing for minutes of my life back.

SyFy. The horribly renamed Sci-Fi Channel offers a surprisingly weak lineup of webisodes, clips, and behind-the-scene videos of favorite science fiction shows like "Battlestar Galactica." All that's missing is the actual shows.

There are other TV and entertainment apps too, of course--like MSNBC News, NBC Today, and EPIX--and more to come, like Crackle, DailyMotion, UFC, Vevo, Vudu, MLB.TV, XFiniity, and HBO GO. I'll provide a complete roundup in a future part of that Dashboard review.