Xbox LIVE is getting a facelift. Not only will we get those promised Avatars, but the entire look and feel of the Dashboard is…well, more Wii-esque. It’s whimsical and far different than what has become a clunky interface. The current Dashboard works fine, but the list form stylings are quite outdated at this point.

The update will occur completely on software side, so even though the Dashboard will look completely different you won’t have to do anything except download the update this fall. In the new Community space you can see what your friends are doing, and now you can start a “Live Party.” Essentially it’s like a virtual world chat room. You’ll be able to chat and share pictures with a group of friends. Microsoft is really focusing on community this year. Coop and chatting are big pushes.

Also new to the Xbox 360 is “Primetime,” a channel that allows you to take your Avatar into game shows such as 1 vs 100 where you compete against the world for potentially real prizes. The new system looks nice, if a little too cartoony for me.

The big news is that Netflix has officially partnered with Microsoft on the Xbox 360. We’ll now be able to get access to the impressive Netflix library of films. But it gets even better as Microsoft and Netflix are allowing you to – gasp! – share the movies you rent. So when you go into one of the above mentioned “Live Party” chatroom type places you can share a rented film with friends. What a surprising and brilliant idea.

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