Xbox One update improves media player, Party app, SmartGlass, and more

The Xbox One’s September 2014 update rolled out at the dawn of the holiday weekend with one of the most feature-packed enhancements to the console’s operating system that we’ve yet seen.

For those that spend as much time using the Xbox One as a media device as they do a gaming machine, the marquee change is a new Media Player app that plays content off of USB-connected drives, with support for a range of file formats, including Mpeg 2 TS, animated GIFs, and MKVs. While it’s not added yet, Microsoft also notes that DLNA support for home media servers is coming soon.

The Xbox One’s Party app also gets a makeover in the September update, with tweaks that bring the feature closer to what it was on the Xbox 360. Users now have the ability to designate a Party Leader, change party privacy (open to everyone vs. invite only), and kick party members. The updated app also better communicates what everyone in the party is doing and improves the accessibility of features like muting, joining other games, and sending invites.

Related: Xbox One will soon support one of the most popular video file containers on the Internet

The last of the marquee changes covers SmartGlass, the Xbox One’s second screen device app. SmartGlass users now have the ability to update their Activity Feed with comments, status updates, and captured game clips using the second screen. It’s also now possible to capture new clips using your mobile device.

There’s more to the update as well. “Boot to TV” is now a startup option that users can turn on in the console’s settings menus. A new bandwidth usage display helps to communicate exactly how much Internet bandwidth your console is chomping down on. There are other improvements as well, including “Instant On” voice commands for more regions (Australia, Canada/French, Italy, Spain, and Mexico); OneGuide support in Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and Ireland; the ability to save Avatar Gamerpics to your cloud-based OneDrive; and bulk delete capabilities for the console’s GameDVR feature.

It’s a hefty update as these things go. For more details, check out Microsoft’s Xbox Wire post.


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