Archives For Xbox

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 24, 2017

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

To deflect the bad news, ahead of what sounds like a number of interesting reveals next week, after crunching the numbers Microsoft has announced their intention to pass on the messy, potentially limited but free Xbox One DVR functionality:

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10. We’re always listening to fan feedback and we look forward to bringing more requested experiences on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year.


So, where does that leave us? Presumably, Xbox One live antenna television, via USB tuner, will carry on – including a 30-minute buffer and in-home streaming to iOS and Android devices. But those alluring recording capabilities, from multiple tuners will remain out of reach to this refocused gaming console. Fortunately, a pair of solid DVR alternatives exist in the headless Tablo and a resurrected TiVo Roamio OTA. HDHomeRun network tuners will soon also provide DVR options, in the form of software from manufacturer Silicon Dust and the developer behind Channels — although you’ll need a computer or NAS in the mix. Lastly, I wonder if Amazon might surprise us with something?

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 26, 2016

A periodic roundup of relevant news…


Halo 5 is $10 Off via Amazon Prime

Dave Zatz —  September 28, 2015

With two A-list shooters landing within ten days of each other this fall, a choice had to be made. Having taken the Call of Duty multiplayer beta for a spin in August, I quite prefer it to last year’s edition… but quickly grew bored. I do appreciate the swiped Titanfall jetpacks and wallrunning, but it’s mostly the same old, same old. So I went ahead and cancelled my Black Ops III pre-order and moved onto Halo.


My UNSC Army enlistment is long and storied plus, despite my occasional CoD successes, I’ve generally experienced a higher “fun” quotient in the Halo universe. So, I headed on over to Amazon to pre-order Halo 5: Guardians… as I have zero desire to fight the crowds at Gamestop. And it turns out Amazon Prime members receive $10 off during checkout. Bonus!

Amazon Prime Member Savings
Members of Amazon Prime qualify for a lower price on this item when shipped and sold by Amazon. Add it to your cart and see the discount at the final check out page.

Xbox One’s media center capabilities continue to shift away from the original, but perhaps misguided, promise of HDMI pass-thru and IR control. After recently adding over-the-air HDTV tuning, and as foretold, Xbone will receive DVR capabilities in 2016. Continue Reading…

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…