Archives For Xbox

Amongst the predictable onslaught of rehashed new games out of E3, comes word that the Xbox One is set to receive a significant makeover – courtesy new Windows 10 underpinnings. And it really can’t arrive soon enough as I find the current interface unwieldy and disorienting. Granted, I am middle-aged and perhaps my synapses don’t fire as fast as they once did. But we’re often the ones bankrolling these initiatives. So I’m happy to see Microsoft throw this old dog a bone. In fact, I give them credit – when it comes to Xbox, they’ve never been afraid to blow up the UI and try something new. It may not always resonate, but I salute their risk-taking in support of bettering the experience.

Some highlights: Beyond a much simplified, though still visually rich, presentation, with a heavy emphasis on “community,” clicking left from the new Home screen or double clicking the Xbox button while in a game brings up a narrow overlay of common settings, features, and messages we’d quickly want to get at. Microsoft is also promising a generally smoother, quicker experience. Further improving usability in a highly significant way is an always-present Cortana for voice control. However, it’s not clear to me if Cortana can be accessed via the gaming headset with mic or if I’m going to once again plug in my dust-collecting Kinect. Sadly, while you can still “pin” your favorite apps, games, and the like … they’re now banished to the very bottom of the Home area and, at least for the moment, I pine for higher priority presentation.

No additional word on background music or DVR capabilities, but we expect both are on the docket … even if they don’t launch with this already massive update, scheduled for late Fall.

Given Microsoft’s strategy to deploy Windows 10 across all computing devices, including computers and smartphones, I guess it’s not entirely surprising they intend to similarly unify the Xbox One onto the platform later this year. Whether or not this translates into a less crazy user interface remains to be seen, but it does seem highly likely that background music streaming will be one compelling benefit of migrating to the new operating system. It’s a feature I’m surprised we haven’t seen more – and something I periodically have appreciated from the WDTV Play and Amazon Fire TV. Continue Reading…

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Microsoft’s been in the DVR business for eons… and in all sorts of forms, like this long-forgotten LG set-top. They’ve also excelled at ignoring and exiting the DVR business. Which is why it should come as no surprise that Windows 10 will not feature any sort of Media Center experience. In fact, I wouldn’t have even thought to ask the question. Well, amidst release of the currently limited function Xbox One TV tuner comes word that television recording may return (via a more suitable platform in my estimation). Continue Reading…

A massive influx of new Christmas gamers coupled with a denial of service attack brought both the Playstation Network and Xbox Live to their knees yesterday. While Microsoft appears to have partially recovered, Sony is still sucking wind – with no ETA on restoring service. And, beyond the consoles, many games themselves are down with back-end problems.

For real-time updates on your specific console and game, hit these links: Continue Reading…

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While Microsoft has seemingly abandoned Windows Media Center, they’re clearly not done with television.

First, the company has announced an Xbox One USB television tuner for European markets that will run about 30 bucks, when it launches this fall. Beyond basic OTA tuning and the requisite One Guide integration, Microsoft also kindly provides a 30 minute buffer to pause, rewind, and advance. Even better and just announced yesterday, the Xbox One will stream this television content to devices around the home:

  • Stream TV to SmartGlass – launching first in markets receiving the Xbox Digital TV Tuner, Xbox One owners will be able to stream their TV across their home network to their smartphones and tablets using the Xbox SmartGlass app. They can also pause, play and rewind as well as change channels, without interrupting gameplay on the Xbox One. This will work for SmartGlass apps on Windows, iOS, and Android.

So, no US support off the bat. However, Microsoft leaves the door open… Continue Reading…

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In relation to TiVo’s summer update, the DVR pioneer has disclosed that they’ve moved large swaths of their code base from Adobe Air/Flash to Haxe – resulting in significant performance improvements. Based on the stellar document and YouTube video dug up by BigJimOutlaw, the two year project clearly benefits them (and us) on a number of levels, including less reliance on the resource-intensive Adobe, who has waffled in both the mobile and set-top space.

Beyond shedding light on what TiVo developers have been sidetracked with, the slide of hypotethical video endpoints displaying Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, and Smart televisions surely intrigues… along with the related Haxe Fire TV demo (below) and TiVo Roku renders shown earlier this year, TiVo seems intent upon extending their experience to non-TiVo hardware. Make it so! Continue Reading…

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Should you be in the market for an Xbox One, Costco may have the deal for you… assuming that you’re a member of the warehouse shopping club. For just $50 above retail, the online Xbox One bundle includes a year of Xbox Live Gold, an additional controller, and Forza 5. Of course, the Xbox One isn’t exactly a bargain, with or without Kinect – which I’ve found to be of limited value. But if you were already in the market for Microsoft’s full monty, this is a pretty good proposition.

Twitter, Vine, HBO GO, ShowTime Anytime, Comedy Central, and MLG among More Than 45 New Experiences Coming to Xbox