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gamescom 2014

Microsoft Details Future Xbox One Dashboard Updates, Including Media Server Support

by Mike Futter on Aug 12, 2014 at 02:34 PM

Microsoft is continuing its plan for monthly Xbox One updates, with a couple of big things coming before the end of the year. The headliner for those of us in the United States is the long awaited support for DLNA media players. This means you'll be able to stream content from Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines natively and with third-party DLNA apps for other operating systems.

The media player will support a wide variety of file types. Unfortunately, MKV won't be making launch. They will arrive before the end of the year, though.

Additionally, Microsoft is reconfiguring the dashboard a bit. Friends move out of an app and into a more prominent place on the home screen. You'll be able to see current activities, a gamerscore leaderboard, and a "heat map" that elevates the most popular apps among players on your friends list.

Another significant change is the "snap center." This change to snapping will allow players to more quickly access apps that can be used in that mode. There's also the snap compass that allows you to more fluidly move among popular apps for achievements, friends, and more. This also solves a significant issue that the Kinect unbundling caused.

Finally, there are big changes coming to television, but most of them are for Europe right now. There, using the USB over the air tuner, television can be pushed to Smartglass. This creates the inverse effect of the Wii U gamepad, with TV on the small screen while someone games on the large one. Here in the US, we'll be getting one piece of the big update: boot to television.

If you put your Xbox One in standby mode when watching television, you'll be able to boot right into your cable box instead of to the home screen. Most of these changes, which are likely slated for September preview and October delivery, are about accessing features faster.

Phil Spencer told us earlier today that the monthly updates will keep coming, and that there are still many things the engineering teams have their sights set on. For a bit more on that, check out our interview with Spencer that took place right after the Microsoft press briefing.