The Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles were central to my home media hub, offering networked media access and playback from USB devices. I was disappointed (but not shocked) that these features had been pulled from the PS4 and Xbox One at launch -- with each platform having its own paid-for movie and music services, neither Sony nor Microsoft has much incentive to let you access your own library of films or albums.
But, thankfully, Microsoft is now prepared to relax on this a little, announcing today that media playback and DLNA support will be heading to the Xbox One soon, and that it'll also support more file formats than the 360 console could manage. And, hold your breath, that includes animated GIFs.
The update will come alongside a raft of new features for the console, including the option to boot from standby directly into the Xbox One's TV mode, and to stream whatever is playing from the console's TV mode to a tablet or smartphone running the SmartGlass app. Threaded messages will also be coming to the social side of the console, letting you track a conversation between yourself and a gaming buddy more naturally.
With the Xbox One now supporting 3D Blu-ray playback too, it's now looking definitely like the console of choice for those wanting to have a console-focussed media hub in the living room. Your move, Sony. [Xbox - Major Nelson]