Boot up your Xbox 360 today and if it’s connected to the internet it will start a mandatory download that completely revamps the dashboard. Gone are the Xbox Blades and clunky interface, replaced with something almost as clunky, but a lot cleaner and friendlier looking. Welcome to the NXE.

The first thing you should do after installing everything (which shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes) is create your own avatar. My goofy little guy’s on the right. There’s a nice little selection of features and clothes available that easily puts Nintendo’s Miis to shame. Appropriate, since that’s obviously who they were gunning for with this feature.

There’s not too much you can do with the avatars just yet, but there are already a few games you can buy that will allow you to use your creations in them, such as A Kingdom for Keflings, which features your guy as a giant.

But besides the cleaner interface (and a game library that doesn’t take a half hour to load!) the biggest perk with the NXE is of course Netflix functionality. Those of you who have subscriptions (and judging by the rate Blockbusters are closing, that’s most of you) can set up your account so that you can watching any Instant Viewing films right through your 360. I don’t have to tell you what an awesome, fantastic feature this is, but let’s just say I’ve been watching King of the Rocket Men and digging the hell out of it. I love me some Republic serials.

Now of course their list of movies that you can watch instantly is much, much smaller than their list of dvds, but there’s a ton of great stuff up there (I’ve got all 3 seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on my queue). Just don’t expect to be able to get every single title that you can watch for free on your computer- Microsoft has apparently blocked out any movies they’re selling through their video marketplace.

But this feature is going to be huge. Who wouldn’t want a library of thousands of titles available to be streamed instantly to your TV?

Anyway, while it’s great to see the dashboard become improved, it still doesn’t hold a candle to the simplicity of Sony’s XMB. But it’s a nice step towards making things more geared toward casual players and making content easier to find.

So what do you guys think about it? Let’s hear it in the coments below!