Microsoft pitches the Xbox One not as a run-of-the-mill games console, but as a fully fledged home entertainment hub. For most Americans, making use of the One’s TV integration features is as simple as plugging the HDMI output from their set-top box straight into the console. Europeans don’t have it quite as easy. With old-school coaxial cables still in common use, Microsoft cooked up the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner: a small USB peripheral that turns coaxial outputs into something the console can understand. Today, the TV Tuner has finally gone on sale in the UK for £25, and in France, Germany, Italy and Spain for €30. Once set up, you can start watching TV through your Xbox One, using the console’s OneGuide EPG to browse channel listings with a controller, or with voice commands if you have a Kinect camera. The Xbox also becomes a make-shift DVR, allowing you to pause and rewind live TV. And when you absolutely have to spend time in another room, you can continue to watch live TV on mobile devices by streaming it through the Xbox One SmartGlass app.
Source: Microsoft (Xbox Wire)
Microsoft only just unleashed its October update for the Xbox One, and now it’s talking about what to expect next month. The update will hit consoles for those in the preview test group soon, and adds many features Major Nelson and crew say the community has been asking for, including custom backgrounds (with the PS4 getting themes soon, it’s Blu-ray 3D all over again), and extra details for profiles. The custom backgrounds will launch with a selection of pictures and the ability to post based on achievements, and after a media player update later in the month, gamers will be able to import any image they want. A returning feature from the Xbox 360 will put details like your location and custom bio back on the profile page, plus a self-curated selection of game clips and achievements. Oh, and those game clips? You’ll be able to share them with the masses easily, because the update adds the ability to share any of your favorites directly to Twitter. Check after the break for a video demo and more details on what’s coming.
The Twitter integration won’t stop there either, as the OneGuide adds trending lists for what users are watching on live TV, what people are tweeting about, or what Xbox One owners specifically are watching the most. There is even space to see what people are tweeting about a show in the MiniGuide itself. The integrated Internet Explorer browser can switch from full screen to Snap with a button on the address bar now, and a number icon to let users know when “Featured Sites” have updates. The second screen SmartGlass app has more support to see what’s going on in the Store and what your friends are playing, while the Preview dashboard app for testers has some new gamified features.
Here’s what to expect in Xbox One’s November system update (Spoiler: Customizable Backgrounds) http://t.co/ryXfkGrJWp
– Larry Hryb (@majornelson) October 21, 2014
More fan-requested features coming to Xbox One in November: http://t.co/roFbnnJf8m
– Jeff Rubenstein (@jeffrubenstein) October 21, 2014
Source: Xbox Wire
Ever wanted to convey more in a Skype chat than simple text and photos can manage, such as directions to your home? If you’re using Windows Phone, you now have a better way to express yourself. Microsoft has posted a new version of Skype for Windows Phone that, much like Google Hangouts, lets you send simple drawings to friends. You can start with a blank canvas if you’re an artistic type, but you can also doodle on photos and annotate Bing maps. There are a few meaningful under-the-hood upgrades, too, including HD display support and the option to sign in with your phone’s Microsoft account. The Skype team hasn’t said when its Android and iOS apps will get sketching, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them receive matching updates in the near future.
Via: The Verge
Do you remember Spot? Well, that was Microsoft’s very early smartwatch effort, lost in the mists of bygone technology. Finally, a long time coming, a more modern effort from the company is apparently on its way– and coming soon. According to Forbes’ anonymous sources, Microsoft’s next smartwatch will be able to passively track your heart-rate (meaning less stress on the battery) and work across several mobile platforms. Both points make a lot of sense, but the latter could be especially important if Microsoft wants a hit: Windows Phone is still a very distant third to both Android devices and the iPhone. The rumored product could also explain why the heck Microsoft developed a smartwatch keyboard in the first place. We’ll let you know more when we hear it.
When I reviewed Huawei’s Ascend W1 last summer, I was surprised at how much I liked it, considering its bargain-basement price. Microsoft clearly deserves plaudits for getting Windows Phone 8 to work on such low-power hardware, and Huawei made a real effort to produce a solid feeling, well-made device. Unfortunately, the inclusion of a forward-facing camera couldn’t make up for a paltry 1.88GB of storage, and I couldn’t recommend that you all buy the W1. Instead, I pointed people to the slightly more expensive Lumia 620 – but if you pressed ahead and snapped one of these up instead, what did you think of it? Hop into the forum and share your feels.
Source: Engadget Product Forums
When the long-awaited Halo: The Master Chief Collection gets released next month, the first thing players will have to do is download what’s estimated to be a 20GB update, according to developer 343 Industries. The day-one patch, which is required to unlock multiplayer features, isn’t particularly shocking when you consider that this a 4-in-1 title — still, that’s asking for a lot of hard drive space from users. “Our philosophy has been to give Halo fans the best possible experience and not compromise the quality or features of the collection,” Dan Ayoub, Halo External Development’s studio head, wrote in a blog post. “The result is that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will take up almost all of the usable space of a single Blu-ray (45 GB).” In addition, Ayoub let it be known that Spartan Ops, a co-op mode for Halo 4, won’t be coming to The Master Chief Collection until December, which will likely disappoint a few fans of the franchise. But, most importantly, how do you feel? Let us know in the comments section.
Last year, Microsoft created Windows App Studio to get more Windows Phone apps into its Store, and it worked — developers added almost 50,000 new apps in 14 months. Redmond has just updated the beta web app with a feature that should help even more: Windows 8.1 sideloading. All you have to do is scan a certificate when generating a universal 8.1 app, and it’ll install it automatically on your Windows Phone 8.1 device. The update also lets you generate apps in nine extra languages and brings new layouts and templates, among other tweaks. If you want to sign up, the requirements aren’t strict — you just need a Microsoft account and an uncontrollable urge to build Windows Phone apps. Give it a whirl right here.
We knew that the October update coming to the Xbox One would make it act more like the 360, but Redmond has packed a few other features into it too. In addition to double-tapping the Guide button to call up your friends list and achievements, this patch adds what amounts to two-factor authentication for your account (something new for Xbox-only Microsoft logins), according to Xbox Live’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb. A select few markets are getting access to a tweaked Live TV setup option too, which will automatically detect the set-top box plugged into the One’s HDMI-In port (sounds like HDMI-CEC to us). You can hide any games that are cluttering up the “ready to install” portion of your collection now as well. Handy! The 249MB update is rolling out starting today, and you should be able to force the download from the system’s settings menu.
According to security firm iSight Partners, hackers from Russia recently gained access to sensitive NATO documents using a major flaw in Windows. The attack, which targeted data from a NATO summit last month, was reportedly part of an espionage campaign against members of the organization (such as the US, UK, France and Germany) to learn more about how it planned to react to Russia’s “military intervention” in Ukraine. Furthermore, the same zero-day flaw is believed to be affecting “tens of millions of computers” that are running Microsoft’s operating system — a definite cause for concern. The great news, however, is that the Redmond-based technology titan is now aware of this security flaw and will be patching it today, the company told Bloomberg in a statement.
For its part, iSight Partners states the Russian hackers were trying to get so much data, so quick, that they made enough mistakes to shed light on spying efforts that have been ongoing for the past two years. “There are only a few people in the world who would be really interested in this stuff and would have the tools to get it,” iSight Partners’ Senior Manager for Cyber-espionage Threat Intelligence, John Hultquist, said to Bloomberg. “It’s just the nature of the game.”
Vine’s come a long way since its early days, and now it has yet another platform it can shine on: Xbox One. With this new application for Microsoft’s gaming console, released today, users can start watching these six-second (or less) videos on a bigger screen right away. The Vine app on Xbox One comes with an interface that will be familiar to regular fans of the service, featuring Trending Tags, Playlists, Featured Users and other, more-specific categories like Comedy, DIY, Science & Tech and Sports. As Microsoft points out, this marks the fist time Vine has designed a viewing experience with TV in mind — although some people may be disappointed they can’t use Kinect to record Vines and share them directly from Xbox One. Still, let’s not forget it is only the app’s version 1.0. In the meantime, at the very least you have the option host a Vine-looping party, if that’s your sort of thing.