Microsoft revealed last week that it will release its Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One come October, though initially only in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The USB-connected device will grant Xbox One users capabilities that bring the new console closer to the media-master status achieved by its predecessor.
Today, the Xbox One takes another step in that direction, and actually surpasses the Xbox 360 as a media player in some ways. Microsoft announced that the Digital TV tuner, in coordination with a media player app, will include support for MKV, among a long list of other codecs. The MKV codec is a staple video format for torrent connoisseurs and their legal, rip-happy, film buff counterparts.
For once, it seems that users will be able to play back their illegally obtained (or genuinely owned and digitized) video content via gaming console with relative ease.
Whether you stop by The Pirate Bay every Sunday night for the latest Game of Thrones episode or have a 5TB hard drive filled to the brim with your elite personal library of legitimately obtained Blu-ray Criterion Collection rips, there’s a good chance you’ve been there before: you plug in via USB to your HDTV or Roku hoping to play your favorite video files, only to find that all of those painstakingly downloaded/ripped files are nowhere to be found. Your device won’t recognize them, likely because you’ve got a bunch of files in MKV format — an increasingly popular container choice for high-def video rips.
The new tuner and media player app combo appear to negate this widespread lack of support. For now, only video content stored on USB-connected devices can be accessed, but DLNA support for playback over a network is promised to come soon.