While Microsoft had previously detailed some of the changes it would deliver with the August 2014 System Update for Xbox One, the firm this week documented several more new features and changes. With a laundry list of improvements, this month's system update is now shaping up to be the biggest one since the console launched late last year.
Note: It turns out that the new stuff is in fact part of the September 2014 System Update, sorry. But if you're on the preview program, you'll be getting all that this month as well, hence the confusion. --Paul
I wrote about this update previously in Coming Soon: August 2014 System Update for Xbox One. At the time, we knew that Microsoft was adding the following new features and changes:
Activity feed updates. The activity feed is changing to a one-column view that apparently scrolls automatically and contains more content. You can post text on your feed, "like" comments, and comment on feed items. You can also share game clips on the feed, and do so privately (with friends) or publicly. And you can do all this from SmartGlass too.
New Friends area on Dashboard. A new Friends area on the Dashboard displays your friends' activities, top trending games your friends are playing, and a leaderboard.
Mobile purchases. Users can remotely purchase Xbox One games and add-on content from Xbox.com on the web or from Xbox SmartGlass.
Low battery notification. If the battery on your controller is getting low, the console will display a notification.
Disable notifications while watching video. You can turn off notifications while you're watching videos.
3D Blu-Ray. Xbox One can now play 3D Blu-Ray video discs.
OneGuide market expansion. The OneGuide is now be available in in Brazil, Mexico, Austria and Ireland.
Last seen time in Friends list. The Friends list now shows how long it's been since a friend has been online, and what they were doing at that time.
So, that's a pretty decent selection of changes. But the one thing I see fairly regularly anytime that Microsoft updates anything is a predictable set of complaints from those people who are still waiting on other changes and updates. And when it comes to Xbox One, there are a few items that always pop-up anytime a system update is discussed. Well, here's some good news for a change: Many of those people will be quite happy today.
In addition to the features and changes that were previously documented, Microsoft has now revealed other aspects of the August 2014 System Update for Xbox One. (Note: Again, these are actually for September, not August. --Paul) And starting with the biggest one, these are:
Media Player. A preview version of a new Media Player app will be available soon, allowing Xbox One users to (finally) play media files from an attached USB device. (A later, non-preview version will also support playing media from a network connected home media server that supports DLNA.) Best of all, Xbox One will support more media formats than Xbox 360, including support for dozens of new file formats: 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 and WMV HD. Some of these formats—including MPEG 2 TS, Animated GIF and MKV—won't be part of the initial release but will ship by the end of the year, Microsoft says.
Party improvements. The Party app has been redesigned so that you can now see what activities everyone in your party is doing and tell more clearly who is playing in the same game with you. Common actions like muting, joining, or sending game invites are more efficient. And parties now have a Party Leader as God intended. Duh, Microsoft.
Boot to TV. This new option lets you configure the console to boot directly to television when coming out of connected standby.
Live TV MiniGuide. A new MiniGuide at the bottom of the screen will display information about the TV content that is currently playing. You can quickly change channels and see what's on other channels, while still watching TV. (This feature is obviously only available in those markets that support OneGuide.)
Xbox One Digital TV Tuner preview. Announced separately last week—see Xbox One Digital TV Tuner Coming to Europe in October—this new hardware accessory will tested as part of a limited preview program France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK prior to its October retail launch. You will also be able to stream TV content across your home network to Xbox SmartGlass-based devices, and play, pause, rewind and change channels, even when someone else is using the console to play games.
More SmartGlass updates. In addition to the SmartGlass changes noted previously, the SmartGlass app will now support the ability to record game clips directly from the Now Playing bar. And a new "What's New" page will highlight the new features in each release. (Admit it, it's getting confusing.)
More "Xbox, on". Those with Kinect in Australia, Brazil, Canada (French), Italy, Mexico and Spain can now use the "Xbox, on" voice command to wake up their Xbox One.
More countries. As you know, Xbox One is expanding to 29 new markets in the fall. This system update includes some low-level changes that will help enable that expansion.
Delete multiple GameDVR videos. In the Upload app, you can now select multiple GameDVR video clips and delete them all at once.
Save your Avatar Gamerpic to OneDrive. A new option lets you save your Avatar GamerPics to your OneDrive.
Bandwidth usage display. A new Bandwidth Usage display (in Network Settings, Troubleshooting) lets you see how much bandwidth your Xbox One is consuming over a period of time. This is aimed at markets in which users have bandwidth caps.
Settings updates. There are new options for managing controllers and other accessories. And the Instant Sign-In option, which I wrote about in Xbox One: Instant Sign-In, has moved to Settings, Sign-in, Security & Passkey.
Whew. That is a lot of stuff.
And admit it: That Media Player bit is good stuff and worth at least 30 days of feel-good vibes.