The wait is nearly over for Xbox One users wanting to play their own digital content via the Xbox One console. Among a slew of other news Microsoft has announced at Gamescom, an incoming media player for Xbox One that will offer both USB and DLNA support.
Since the launch of the Xbox One back in November there has been a fairly notable lack of options for playing personal digital content through the console. Enter the new media player app for Xbox One that will allow users to play content from USB devices and also via DLNA. Previously the only solution has been to use the Windows-based Play To function. The new method is not only more convenient for a wider range of users, but will also support more formats than even the Xbox 360. Though to begin with the early preview version of the media player app will only support USB, with DLNA to follow at a later date.
Supported file types include, as detailed by Microsoft:
"3gp audio, 3gp video, 3gp2, aac, adts, animated gif, asf, avi divx, avi dv, avi uncompressed, avi xvid, bmp, jpg, gif, h264 avchd, mjpeg, mkv, mov, mp3, mpeg 1 ps, mpeg 2, mpeg 2 hd, mpeg 2 ts, mpeg 4 h264 aac, mpeg 4 sp, png, tiff, wav, wma, wma lossless, wma pro, wma voice, wmv, wmv hd"
A lot of enhancements are also inbound for the Xbox One’s TV services. Users in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain will soon be able to access the full features of the Xbox OneGuide via the new Xbox One Digital Tuner. The device launches in October following a preview program starting soon, and retails at £24.99 in the UK and €29.99 for EU regions.
The additions to the TV services don’t just end at the EU-bound TV Tuner as the ability to stream TV from the Xbox One console to a range of devices on not just Windows, but also Android and iOS devices was revealed. This ability isn’t just limited to mimicking the current Xbox One display either, as users will still be able to enjoy games and other activities on their console while streaming TV to other devices simultaneously. A few more minor tweaks also mean it will now be possible to boot directly to TV and a new mini guide will be available at the bottom of the screen for regions with OneGuide availability.
Changes to the how users interact with friends also means a new Friends section will be available from the home screen. This new section allows users to easily check out friend updates and the like without having to navigate away from the home screen. Messages too will now display in a threaded fashion allowing for embedded media, bringing the Xbox message system into line with most smartphone messaging apps.
The snap function has also been overhauled to provide Xbox One owners with more flexibility in how and where they view additional content. The system has been adapted to make snapping apps a much slicker experience. Snapping a wide range of apps is now possible simply by holding down the Xbox button on the controller for a few seconds before making a selection. This quietly eliminates the need for one of the most useful Kinect commands - “Xbox, snap” in a move that may further indicate the device’s obsolescence.
Most of these features will be introduced within the next few months, but as of yet no firm date has been set by Microsoft. Though over the coming weeks the Xbox One console itself is set to release across 29 more markets.