updated 12:41 pm EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Xbox One owners in Europe, Canada, US involved in invite-only preview
Microsoft hopes to make the Xbox One more useful for watching television and media, by outlining updates for the game console and SmartGlass. Changes to the way SmartGlass navigates around the console have been shown off, as well as upcoming changes which will give more viewing options to users on both sides of the Atlantic in the future.
Xbox Video has been updated to allow for the rental or buying of a movie and playback of the content across multiple platforms, starting from this week. Users that start watching a film on an Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8-based computer, Windows Phone 8 device, or online through XboxVideo.com will be able to stop and resume playback from another device.
Microsoft OneGuide for Xbox One
The SmartGlass app adds quicker access to achievement lists, challenges, and game clips without requiring to navigate multiple displays, a list of recent players with options to friend or issue a rematch challenge, Friends list sorting by online status, and a view of the Activity Feed that matches what gets shown on the console itself. Apps can be launched in Snap View from Smartglass itself, as well as closing and unsnapping it, with Xbox Live messaging alerts also making an appearance in the app.
A number of users in the United States, Canada, and Europe will receive invitations to try out the future system updates, with the TV listings added to OneGuide for the first time outside of the US. Users will be able to set recordings and watch already-recorded content from their connected-by-HDMI DVR, using SmartGlass as a remote control, and new Kinect voice commands will add extra control to the set-top box for non-US regions.
Microsoft expects to roll out these previewed features to all users later this year.