Skip to main content

Microsoft announces raft of new Xbox One features including TV streaming via SmartGlass

As you're probably aware, Gamescom has kicked off, and Microsoft has already made some big announcements of new features which will be coming to its Xbox One console.

And Microsoft hasn't forgotten the Xbox One's media focus (and initial pitch as a living room entertainment hub, as well as a games machine), because several of the features pertain to streaming and media playing.

We already knew about the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner due to land in October, but Microsoft also revealed a new Media Player app that will be able to play video from an external USB device, or content from a home media server via DLNA (support for the latter will be brought in later, apparently, with the app launching with just the former). A ton of file formats will be catered for including MKV and animated GIFs to mention a couple.

Furthermore, Redmond announced the capability to stream TV from the Xbox One over a home network to smartphones and tablets via the SmartGlass app (with this feature launching in territories like the UK which are receiving the aforementioned Xbox Digital TV Tuner). You'll be able to watch TV on your mobile device, pause playback, and change channels, all without interrupting any of the gameplay happening on the Xbox One.

Related: Xbox One sales have doubled in US since launch of non-Kinect bundle

This particular feature will work for the SmartGlass app across the board, on Windows Phone, Android and iOS.

So what else is Microsoft planning? A new Friends section, in which you can see what your gaming mates have been up to at a glance, and threaded messages with a full conversation history in the Messages app.

Where the OneGuide is available, a Live TV mini guide will also be brought in, which will nestle at the bottom of the screen offering details about the show currently being watched (and you'll be able to use it to flick around and see what else is on, without interrupting your full-screen viewing).

These features will be rolling out at various stages in the "coming months", although those in the early access program will see them begin to appear later in August.

Microsoft also noted that it will be preparing the console for launch in 29 new territories in the coming weeks.

Sony, meanwhile, has hardly been idle with the arrival of Gamescom, as the company announced no less than 10 million sales of the PS4 – and the launch of some cool features of its own, such as Share Play, will lets friends join in a game even if they don't own a copy of it.