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The Xbox One will also get a revamped "Friends" section

Microsoft’s Xbox One may be losing the sales race against the Sony PlayStation 4 (despite an effective price drop in June with a Kinect-less SKU), but that isn’t stopping the company from offering continual improvements to its gaming system.
Over the next few months, Microsoft will launch a wealth of new features including “Boot to TV” and a new “Friends” section that will help you to better keep track of what you friends are doing. Microsoft is even throwing in MKV support, which is a nice plus.

The first of the new features will launch this month via the Early Access Program. You can see the full list of new additions to the Xbox One, courtesy of Major Nelson, below:
  • New “Friends” section the new Friends section has been available for a few early access Preview members and we’re expanding it to everyone enrolled in the Preview program. The new Friends section enables users to see at a glance what’s going on with their friends. They can stay up-to-date with their current activities, the most popular games their friends are playing, and a Gamerscore leaderboard to see who has improved their Gamerscore over the last 30 days.
  • Snap Center – Some of gamers’ favorite features in the Xbox 360 guide, are coming to Xbox One in a way that’s now truly be side-by-side with games. Messages, friends, parties, and achievements will all be available in the new Snap Center, providing a seamless way to switch back and forth without having to leave a game.
  • Threaded Messages – keeping gamers in their games while they multitask has been a huge focus. The new Messages app features threaded messages with the full conversation history – including embedded links to Game DVR clips – that can be viewed without interrupting gameplay.
  • Media Player – a new app will be available soon that enables users to play media files from either an attached USB device or from a network connected home media server that supports DLNA protocols. The preview version of the Media Player app will initially only support USB devices, with DLNA support coming soon. Xbox One will support more formats than Xbox 360, including support for dozens of new file formats like mpeg 2 TS, animated gifs and mkv which will be added by the end of the year. See below for additional file formats.
  • Xbox One Digital TV Tuner – announced last week, this new accessory will enter a limited preview program in Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain), in advance of its retail launch beginning in October.
  • Stream TV to SmartGlass – launching first in markets receiving the Xbox Digital TV Tuner, Xbox One owners will be able to stream their TV across their home network to their smartphones and tablets using the Xbox SmartGlass app. They can also pause, play and rewind as well as change channels, without interrupting gameplay on the Xbox One. This will work for SmartGlass apps on Windows, iOS, and Android.
  • Boot to TV – Now Xbox One owners will be able to set their console to boot directly to television when coming out of connected standby.
  • Live TV mini guide – for markets where OneGuide is available, a new mini guide on the bottom of the screen will display details about the TV content that is currently playing. Users can quickly change channels and see what’s on other channels, while still watching TV.
  • Country Expansion – we’re doing a lot of work on the backend to prepare for Xbox One to launch in 29 new markets in the coming weeks.

Source: Major Nelson

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RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Brandon Hill on 8/12/2014 9:14:27 AM , Rating: 5
That's probably the most exciting news out of this announcement.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Manch on 8/12/2014 9:41:39 AM , Rating: 2
yup, now for mkv files I can "play to" xbox-one instead of using the hdmi pass thru to use the TV as a second screen.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By JSwaid on 8/12/2014 11:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
I just did this today... you just need to install the video codecs on your PC that is doing the "Play To" function, as the default WMP does not fully support MKV files (MP4/AVI files were playing fine).

This is assuming you were playing your video files with something like a self contained video player like VLC and never installed a system wide available codec package.

For me, installing the Shark007 codec package worked well.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Manch on 8/13/2014 3:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
Awesome thanks!

Yeah I was either selecting play to or I would just go to tv on the xbone and use VLC. This will simplify things lol.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2014 11:25:46 AM , Rating: 1
Why would you wait for this feature, ANY feature for a console, when you can just run an HDMI wire from you PC to your audio/video receiver? Then remote control it with your smartphone, tablet etc etc?

Argh! Sorry it just erks me. Consoles fail SO hard as multimedia devices. And EVERYONE has a PC or laptop or something capable of being so much better if they would just use it.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By kmmatney on 8/12/2014 12:31:08 PM , Rating: 3
when you can just run an HDMI wire from you PC to your audio/video receiver? Then remote control it with your smartphone, tablet etc etc? - See more at:

Yes - that will pass the wife test...

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2014 1:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
Your wife has never navigated XBMC? It doesn't get more wife friendly than that IMO...

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By arazok on 8/12/2014 2:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but as nice as Media centers, XBMC, etc. are, they all require a lot of tinkering to keep them running smoothly. My media center PC is constantly annoying us, like when you watch a movie and get the “Rebooting in 1 minute to install updates” message. Even if you hit “postpone”, it only buys you 10 minutes before it reboots without warning. It fails the wife test spectacularly, and I’m a bit sick of it too. There’s just to many annoyances.

Having the Xbox function as a media center has been a dream of mine for years now. If this works as advertised, I can trust that it will work, and work seamlessly – no tinkering. I’ll happily toss my media center into the trash if will play my media reliably. I might even buy a second xbone for other TV’s.

THIS announcement, is why I stuck with MS despite the poor hardware specs.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2014 3:11:32 PM , Rating: 1
I have literally no clue what you're talking about. XBMC, once set up, is literally tinker-free.

And half the time I go to watch Netflix, my PS3 tells me I have to do an update first. So it's not like consoles are hassle free entirely.

The Xbox One didn't even launch with Dolby Digital support, but it's billed as an entertainment center device. Consoles always seem extremely limited in one way or the other for playing media.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By arazok on 8/12/2014 4:25:53 PM , Rating: 3
I have an WMC setup, which only seems to run as I’d expect 98% of the time. Keyboard required the other 2%. It’s always…something… about once a month. From talking to others with XBMC, it’s not much different. I could be misinformed.

XBone might not have had dolby digital at launch, but when they added it I didn’t have to touch a thing. Updates are installed behind the scenes, unlike the previous gen. I’m not even aware it’s happened. This is what I’m talking about. I want something that plays everything, and just firkin works 100% of the time. Once they add this update - it’s there.

Sure, it wasn’t a media device at launch, but it sure will be with now. That’s all I care about, cares if dolby wasn’t there at launch? I have it now, and it’s got a simple interface, rock solid reliability, plays games, and now all media types over the network. Sold. I’m done with media centers.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Alexvrb on 8/13/2014 2:01:54 AM , Rating: 3
You're right, they should stop improving its media capabilities.

Or they could continue to build it up and make it into a gaming device which also has ever-improving media capabilities. In many cases people own both multiple devices. So I don't see anything wrong with being able to easily stream TO the XB1 using DLNA, stream more FROM the XB1 using SmartGlass, and play media on the XB1 independently (whether via USB or a streaming service such as Netflix - especially since the paywall is gone).

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By amanojaku on 8/12/2014 1:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you wait for this feature, ANY feature for a console, when you can just run an HDMI wire from you PC to your audio/video receiver?
What if the TV is in a room that lacks a PC, and the viewer doesn't have a tablet or laptop? That's why my mom has an AppleTV (/vomit), and why so many people own AppleTVs, Rokus, etc... And with so many people owning consoles already... It's a no-brainer.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By daboom06 on 8/12/2014 2:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
people are buying new consoles not using the ones they have. people can buy new computers instead and do way more--more cheaply and more conveniently.

a raspberry pi with case, wifi card, and power supply is $50. xbmc is free. and it allows you to stream media independently all over a wifi network to however many RPis all at once.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By amanojaku on 8/12/2014 3:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
int main()
WCHAR* wcMom = new WCHAR[22];

memset(wcMom, 0, 22);

_tcscpy_s(wcMom, 22, L"my mom");

_tcsncat_s(wcMom, 22, L" + raspberry pi", _TRUNCATE);

prinft("%s\n", wcMom);

delete[] wcMom;

return 0;

mom@makepi ~$./bootTV

"She gave up"

mom@makepi ~$logout

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2014 3:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
No problem. My PC isn't in the same room with my TV either.

and the viewer doesn't have a tablet or laptop?

It's hard for me to imagine anyone who would buy a next-gen gaming console, but doesn't have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Not saying it's impossible buuut...yeah right!

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Nekrik on 8/12/2014 2:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree, the Xbox 360 worked great as a multimedia device, and they are building out greater support for the Xbox one with updates.

As for why a PC/laptop is not a better solution, I can see many scenarios:
Either the TV or the PC are older devices. Some pcs/laptops don't have HDMI/display port out while many TVs don't have anything but HDMI in (or pc has vga only, but tele doesn't, etc...). Really this is an issue anytime the PC and TV don't have compatible ports. Running a video cable from where ever the htpc/pc/laptop also may not be desirable to many people, If miracast were supported by both devices feeding from a pc sounds like a more agreeable solution but that case is not the common user case yet.

RE: Brilliant to support MKV
By Arkive on 8/12/2014 3:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's the sum of it's parts. Microsoft is slowly adding enough pieces to entice users like me who would otherwise do exactly what you're describing. A console that can play games (some of which are only playable on specific consoles, or those of us who have friends who don't have PC's) as well as serve as a media center and actually comes in an aesthetic package is enticing once it reaches a certain tipping point in appeal.

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