Today, Microsoft announced it would be doubling down on video entertainment with a dashboard update that’ll include DVR controls and OneGuide functionality for anyone using the Xbox Smart Glass app for the iPhone, iPad, Windows Phones, Windows devices and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system.
Microsoft announced these changes and a few others in a post on its Xbox Wire blog this afternoon. Select Xbox Live users will begin receiving invites for console updates that include a refreshed OneGuide that allows Xbox One owners to use their iPhone as a universal remote to control their Xbox experience. That remote will include settings for controlling the Xbox itself and the user’s cable box too.
Many users complained that the Xbox One would never make a true replacement for the interface of a television since it didn’t could DVR functionality. DVR boxes allow users to record their favorite shows and watch them later. That’s why this update is so key; it’s the first major improvement Microsoft has made to the Xbox One’s entertainment experience. It’ll need to continue doing so if it ever hopes to expand beyond the console’s gaming roots alone.
The company says it’ll begin distributing test versions of the update to “select Xbox Live members” to get feedback. All Xbox One owners won’t receive this functionality until later this year. It’s important to note that the United States, Europe and Canada will all see these features come to their consoles.
Finally, there’s the new video syncing. Starting today, videos rented or purchased through Xbox Video will not only be watchable on different versions of Xbox Video, they’ll also have a resume system. This will allow users to begin watching a movie or television show on their tablet and immediately resume that video where they left on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows PC.
All told, these features should go a long way in improving the Xbox experience for users. Especially, the ones Microsoft needs to hold onto if Apple or Amazon make a serious play for user’s living rooms as they’re both expected to.