To date both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One haven’t been able to contend with their yesteryear predecessors in terms of media playback. The lack of DLNA network streaming on next-gen consoles is sorely missed, effectively shrinking each system’s functionality and entertainment options.
At Gamescom 2014 Microsoft unveiled a new plan to remedy this and make earnest on the Xbox One’s label as the “all-in-one entertainment” solution by way of expanding its media support.
A new media player, which will be rolled out in an upcoming system update, will power this transition by letting users play digital content by way of a USB drive.
DLNA streaming across network-connected devices is expected to follow soon after.
“Media Player – A new app will be available soon that enables users to play media files from either an attached USB device or from a network connected home media server that supports DLNA protocols. The preview version of the Media Player app will initially only support USB devices, with DLNA support coming soon.”
The Xbox One’s media player will be quite similar to the Xbox 360’s playback suite in terms of form and function, however the newer console will now support more than 30 formats including the .mkv container and GIF files.
The .mkv container is an oft-used favorite for pirated TV shows and movies downloaded from sources like The Pirate Bay and uTorrent, and the new media player will effectively allow users to play pirated content on the Xbox One.
It’ll be interesting to see if the console’s new media features will boost its sales to compete against Sony’s PlayStation 4, which is in the lead with over 10 million units sold worldwide.
Hopefully we’ll see Sony follow through with its plans to bring DLNA and USB media playback to the PS4, but as it stands the console is quite limited in terms of media entertainment.
Microsoft has cited that these new features are inspired from feedback submitted by the Xbox community and the company affirms they’ll continue to shape the Xbox One to fit gamers’ expectations.
Thanks, Ars Technica.