Xbox One October update and beyond: We look at DLNA streaming and other new features

Microsoft has not been shy in announcing new feature changes for its Xbox One dashboard experience and as part of its Gamescom 2014 Media Briefing in Cologne, it invited Pocket-lint to check out some of those coming to the console in a few months time.

Not only did we see the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in action, with German free-to-air TV fully integrated into the OneGuide EPG experience, we were treated to live presentations of features that won't be available in the next update, but the one after that and after that still.

One of those comes as great news to all who bought into the idea of the Xbox One as a home entertainment hub. It will be adding DLNA media streaming and playback of video, picture and audio files through a USB storage device.

It will come in the form of a Media Player app and we saw it pick up content stored on a hard drive attached through USB and from media servers also logged onto the same network in the demo room, even one of the Xbox team's Surface tablet.

We're not sure about video files, but it also picked up all the cover image metadata for music albums, so the user experience looks pretty - not quite Plex standards, but come on, this is a feature we've all been crying of for from day one. Especially as it was a feature on Xbox 360.

It even goes further than the media playback and streaming capabilities of the 360. It recognises a wider gamut of media files, with MKV support coming before the "end of the year". You won't be able to play MKVs when the Media Player is launched around October time, but it will follow soon enough.

Other major improvements to the dashboard and UI include the ability to boot straight to TV if you have your Sky or Virgin Media TiVo box plugged in through HDMI, or the Digital TV Tuner attached. If you turned off your Xbox One with the TV mode in full swing, it will boot straight back to the TV after it switches back on.

As a nod to the community, Friends will no longer be locked to an app and appear directly on the dashboard. There will also be a new heat map to show you the most common activities your friends are currently engaging in, so you can immediately join them.

Each game will soon get its own game profile page, collating all the information about the game in one place, including alerts on whether friends are currently playing the title so you can join them.

And you will now be able to see messages and achievements in a menu system that can be snapped to the side while you're playing a game rather than make you leave the game entirely to read a message.

Those are just some of the features coming and all seen obvious when you see them running. Microsoft also told us that it would like to bring the ability to listen to your own custom soundtracks in games. "It's on the list," we were told, but is unlikely to appear this year.

For now, system software 14.10 will have plenty of major improvements to make a significant affect on the Xbox One's UI.



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