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Microsoft today began rolling out the Xbox One October update, which “takes advantage of the new multitasking capabilities of Xbox One” (read: new Snap mode) and connects “your friends in better ways than before thanks to your feedback.” Oh, and MKV support is finally a go.
First off, the Snap Center now includes quick access to Friends, Messages, Game DVR, the clock, and the battery indicator (all functions which gamers asked to have closer at hand). It’s also now easier to close and open new Snap apps when playing a game: Double-tap the Xbox button on your controller to bring up a menu where you can open a new app in Snap mode, close the current Snapped app, or switch focus between your game and your running Snapped app.
Speaking of Snap mode, the Friends Snap App and Messages Snap App have both been improved. The former accesses your friends list without leaving the game (see who’s online, plus message, invite, or join them) while the latter opens, reads, and responds to messages, which now show up in a threaded conversation view.
The Achievements app has also received an update. You can now share Achievements you’ve unlocked with captions, see a list of friends who have unlocked specific Achievements, and check Achievements for recently played games when someone is not actively playing a game.
The Friends section now shows your friends’ current activities, the most popular games they’re playing, and a Gamerscore leaderboard for the last 30 days. SmartGlass users can now see a list of their top games in their profile as well as their friends’ most popular games in the Friend section of SmartGlass.
These are the core features that gamers will likely care about. Microsoft has also made improvements to the console’s TV and video functions though. Here’s the changelog:
- Media Player DLNA and MKV (a high-definition video standard) support in the Media Player app. You can easily access and play music, watch photo slideshows or movies stored on home media servers and devices that support the DLNA server protocols, as well as play MKV files stored on a USB device or a device on your home network that supports DLNA streaming.
- For markets where OneGuide is available, a new MiniGuide on the bottom of the screen shows details about the currently playing TV content. You can quickly change channels, see what’s on others, and tune to the previous channel or other recent channels. You can also launch Miniguide by saying “Xbox Select – MiniGuide.”
- OneGuide Live TV listings and schedules is coming to 11 countries “in the next few days”: Belgium, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Russia. Users in these countries can also now use their mobile device to control their Xbox, TV, and/or Cable/Satellite box.
- Apps with live TV channels can now include their TV listings within OneGuide, plus they’ll also work with channel changing using speech and the Miniguide. The first app to support this will be Zattoo, available in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and Denmark.
- You can now select “On start, go to TV” for your Xbox One console.
- In select markets the Live TV Setup experience is being improved by attempting to automatically detect the set-top box connected to the HDMI-In port on your Xbox One.
Other improvements are minor but still worth noting. The new Devices & Accessories page inside Settings lets you find, assign, and update Xbox One accessories. Assigning accessories to specific individuals can be helpful if you have a lot of players using the same device in the house. The new page also updates the firmware for an individual device and helps you more easily find or identify a controller by making it vibrate.
You can now hide items in the “Ready to install” list under My Games and Apps. To show them temporarily, press X while holding down both triggers.
Microsoft is also beefing up security. Later this month, if you haven’t set up your security information already, the Xbox One will ask you to provide an alternate email address or mobile phone number to use if you ever need your password reset (only required once per account). You can avoid the hassle by doing this now at account.live.com/proofs.
To get the update, fire up your Xbox One and navigate to Settings and then the System section. If you can select the System Update button, your console is ready to download and install the update.
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