Xbox One
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March Update begins rolling out for the Xbox One, massive number of improvements inbound

We’re still a week away from Titanfall and the ability to stream to Twitch from the Xbox One, but today is the day that Microsoft is beginning to roll out the March system update. As you’ll recall, this update is notable for improving the matchmaking system, party chat and friends feature. Full changelog after the break.

Microsoft invited select gamers to take part in a closed beta of the March update earlier last month. The March update is the first major update to the console. There was a smaller update in February that introduced a few small changes like UI adjustments, improved Blu-ray quality and more. The March update is bigger and will make a noticeable improvement to the Xbox One.

The update is beginning to roll out right now to Xbox One’s around the world. Your Xbox One will automatically download and install the update if it’s in the “Instant On” setting. This is the mode where your Xbox One isn’t fully off, instead the console is in a low power state so you can quickly turn the console on or apply updates in the background.

The update will take place in off-peak hours in your local time zone. That means the overall rollout of the Xbox One will take place over the next day or two.

The March update for the Xbox One is big. Here’s all that’s changing:

Improved Multiplayer & Party chat

  • Cross title party chat
  • Party chat on by default
  • Easier multiplayer invites
  • Easier multiplayer joining
  • Ability to see what the people in your party are doing

Improved Friends List + Profile

  • Improved friends list utility & speed of access
  • Ability to see people you recently played games with
  • See when friends are broadcasting, including live broadcast thumbnails in activity feed
  • Get to a friend’s profile faster using type-ahead suggestions
  • Contextual app menu actions on friends list and activity feed items
  • Enabled more multiplayer (join and invite) actions on user profiles
  • 54 new contest-winning gamerpics

Twitch TV live streaming support

  • Broadcast gameplay on Twitch.TV through Xbox LIVE (When the updated Twitch app ships next week.)
  • Voice support for starting and ending broadcast

Bringing out social in home

  • See favorite friends currently online
  • See friends broadcasting gameplay

Miscellaneous shell improvements

  • Improved notification center experiences including “quiet mode”
  • View Game Clips while in snap mode
  • Protect user settings with passkey

Browser improvements

  • Control Bing and Google maps with gesture and controller
  • Quick search when highlighting a term on a page
  • When searching from Bing search on the console, direct link to Internet Explorer in order to see additional web results.

New Devices – Driver and Firmware updates

  • Firmware update to the Xbox One controller to support the Xbox One stereo headset adapter
  • Support for 1st and 3rd party headsets
  • Driver updates for the Xbox One Media Remote

SmartGlass Improvements

  • Push notification to your device for Xbox Live messages
  • Quickly see what a friend is doing including presence and recent
  • Enhanced viewing of personal and a friend’s game progress and clips
  • Ability to close snap from SmartGlass

Live TV

  • 50Hz fix – users can set the Live TV app to display at 50Hz for full or fill modes
  • Volume up/down adjustments – user can tailor the number of volume increments when using “volume up” or “volume down” commands
  • IR blasting of power & volume to TVs/AVRs in all regions
  • AVR setup maps to include model number for most sound bars or AVRs when setting up TV

Improved Audio output support

  • SPDIF (optical out) now supports 5.1 Dolby Digital – enabling devices such as sound bars with only Optical In to be able to receive 5.1 Dolby Digital from console over optical
  • HDMI output now supports stereo uncompressed, 5.1 uncompressed, 7.1 uncompressed or 5.1 Dolby Digital live or 5.1 DTS

Massive update right? We’re most looking forward to the Twitch TV live streaming support. Of course the March update only readies your Xbox One for that feature. You won’t actually be able to live stream until next week when the Twitch app is updated and Titanfall launches – mark your calendar for March 11.

Xbox One March update

The various other changes are very welcomed and we can’t wait to experience the improved multiplayer and party chat features.

What are you most looking forward to? Don't forget to add us on Xbox Live for some Titanfall action next week! 

Source: Major Nelson

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Reader comments

March Update begins rolling out for the Xbox One, massive number of improvements inbound

108 Comments

Got in the preview for the Dolby sound for my headset. Friend list is much easier to navigate plus I like how it now separates who is online and who isn't instead of just throwing them all in one pile and forcing you to figure it out. Very nice update.

I still have some trouble with the sunken, round part of the remote. But it is great to have. I suspect more use is needed to get the hang of it. Don't be surprised if there is a learning curve for that part. And this after (perfectly) figuring out the D-pad on the controller for xbone. No one's perfect I guess.

I'm with you there. Turns out my sound system is pretty basic 5.1 (I knew it but it's not a high priority purchase to replace it) and this should effectively finally allow me to have 5.1 surround on the Xbox One :)

The improvements to the friends list is by far the best feature of this update, much easier to scope out whose doing what online without trawling through multiple screens and option dropdowns.

Exciting news. But what if you play during off peak times? Will I be kicked out of games or Netflix to download and update? Inquiring minds want to know.

Hi, it will ask to install it when you go back home. I was playing bf4 last night, and when i said "go home it asked me to install the update.
May have been pure coincidence mind you! :P

Probably not. The repro is next to impossible, believe it or not. I know next to nothing, but that said, in beta, I've yet to experience it exactly. Frustrating for sure. But it's still early.

I used to get it while going home from playing Forza about 75% of the time, but it hasn't happened since the update preview...so take that for what it's worth.

I've spent quite a lot on the speakers, so I'd rather use them. I've had headsets in the past but 5.1 speakers on loud is more enjoyable imo.

If you have a windows device have you tried play to? It's not quite the same but it's brilliant, especially as you can play videos in internet explorer straight to the xbox as well as those from the Win 8 video app

Wpcentral update Jay? When its coming? Im facing some graphic issue while scrolling the posts. And I request u if u can add emotions and like on WP central for WP.

What? Really not sure what you're replying to there? I have my tablet device on my lap in the living room, if I'm on a website on that tablet and want to watch a video from that website on the TV, all I have to do is swipe in the charms bar, tap "Devices" then "play" and then my Xbox One. It launches the video player in full screen and plays the video.

Ok I got it, wasn't able to do it in desktop mode. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I have wanted this feature for quite some time!!

No problem, it works from most Metro apps but unfortunately not from desktop. Very powerful, some apps can even use it to project images up to your Xbox

It definitely works better from Metro apps, but I believe it's possible to do "Play To" for video files from File Explorer in Desktop mode too, a la Windows 7.

Any news about the Xbox One availability in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland???

Seriously, right? What is taking them so long to expand into other markets? PS4 is like in 3 times as many markets. They had the same problem with the original launch of the Surface RT. Limited distribution really disadvantaged it.

calling it the "screen of death" is a tad extreme. It's just a small bug. You Power Cycle the console, it's fixed. Sure, it's a nuisance but it's not like your Xbox is bricked or anything.

anyway, my assumption is that this update would fix that problem. No?

Agreed. Why people polarize and hate I don't understand.

I play DOTA2 and Guild Wars 2 on PC.

I play cheap downloadable games on Xbox 360.

I control my TV and play music with the Xbox One (and I love it !!!)

Not turned my xbox on since begin of December. Does it still require gold to watch Netflix? Does it allow usb sticks to browse for movie files? I belive you can use a share now but can u play mkv files?

Nope. I bought it for media server which its not really any good at. Miss sold really. Just wondering when updates for that side are coming out if ever. Not really interested in games for it.

Wow I'm surprised you bought an Xbox One to use as a media server... None of the capabilities you'd want were ever advertised for that. It was always going to be app-centric. If you were sold it in a store I'd say you should go and get your money back from whatever crazy salesman told you it would be suitable for your needs

To be honest, as a media server it is eons behind even the 360. Easily the most disappointing omission in my book. I realise what they want you to do, but they have not helped the consumer with that.

 

I'd like to know this as well. this is a biggie for me and THE reason why cable box is not going trough XBOX now.

Also, I'm wondering if they finally allow HDMI TV pass throu if the device is in sleep mode.

 

What is the purpose of using the HDMI TV pass through if you don't want to use the Xbox One interface and features?

I want the default to be TV. With option to say "xbox my stuff" when I want. Not the nuisance of saying "xbox tv" every damn time I turn on the tv.

The way it is every time I want to watch TV i say "xbox on" than wait than "xbox tv" (or something like that forgot now). This is kinda anoying to be honest... especally when kids make so much noise in the living room that yelling at kinetic just doesn't help and you're forced to 

a) Look for controller

b) Turn on controller and wait for sync

c) Navigate to tv and click

The way it is now it's FAR simplier to user XBOX One "old style": Just switch the input when you want to play XBOX (but than what's the point of HDMI pass trough?)

Cord cutters can watch antenna TV on Xbox One! It's one of my favorite things about my Xbox One. I don't have cable or satellite so it's always free, over-the-air TV for me, but, of course, that lacks cool features like a channel/program guide. The Xbox One fixes that by letting you use the OneGuide and voice commands with antenna TV! Check out this post for details: http://forums.wpcentral.com/xbox-one/241339-4.htm#post2255343

 

If I'm not mistaken, its the ability to put games in a 'tombstoned' state and when you go back to the game it'll be right at that position again. And by 'putting them in a...' I mean you just go to another activity on the XBOX One...

Okay, so this must be a feature on by default because I've been doing that since launch. But apparently it was in beta. Interesting. Either way, it's an awesome feature. They need to initiate some type of auto-save, though, if you switch between games (beause it can't seem to keep two games in a tombstoned state at one time.

Basically, if you are on a game, say Battlefield 4.. Your at the end of a really troublesome mission and for whatever reason you need to turn the Xbox off, as in have the game on but power the Xbox completely off. Upon turning the Xbox back on you'll be right where you left. It's like hibernation for your Xbox :)

It's my hope that they'll now focus on some performance improvements , especially UI lag, etc. It's annoying for a new console to not hit 60 fps in the UI.

Finally bringing the Xbox one to the 360 's near perfect friends, chat, situation! It seems very odd why they a) had chat off by default b) made it nearly impossible to accept game invites c) launched the console with the worst party system ever! I wonder if it this and the extra 100$ that's killing the Xbox one sales vs ps4

No mention of the BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH? Hopefully it is fixed. Its getting kind of old resetting the console every day.

Prior to this March update I ran into the black-screen-requiring-reset 3 times in perhaps 10 opportunities. I haven't run into it once since I got the preview version of the March update. Based on my experience with the preview, I'd say it's been fixed.

Thanks for the info.  I'm sure it will be better.  I don't mind it too much, but when it happens to my wife, she throws the controller across the room.

Finally I can try the TV feature! Never bothered trying considering all the things I had read regarding the pass thru in the UK (and EU) with the 50hz issue. Might try it later tonight after work. :)

I never had any problems with th TV passthrough before the update even of Finland was supposed to have the same 50hz issues :D But after update the tv signal quality seems higher

No. That update is for the SDK that developers use. Which - i think - has been given to them already. It (I think) won't affect games out now, but will improve games that are coming down the pipeline...

Huh.  I'm not sure what that list of improvements, while considerable and I'm sure welcome by many, are classified as "massive amount", but I think that's a bit of a stretch.  As for me, this update was "meh".  As I went down the list nothing was of value to me until I got down to the Misc Shell Improvements.  From that point on, most of those will be valuable.  I don't play any games on our Xbox One (PC gaming is many orders of magnitude better), so all that stuff is wasted on me.  I think the next update I really care about is when Cortana comes on board.  It's good, though, that Microsoft is pushing various updates with Xbox as hard as they are with the other two forks of the ecosystem.

The volume step improvement is much appreciated... I haven't found the setting yet though. It must be discoverable when setting up a new receiver/TV?

Hmm, it hadn't occured to me that I might need to troubleshoot. User experience people always used to make fun of "Advanced" tabs in user interfaces... is "Troubleshooting" the new "Advanced?"

Thanks!

"View Game Clips while in snap mode" <-- this is awesome. Means you can watch walkthroughs while you play a game.

"Xbox One stereo headset adapter" <-- what is this? Does this mean I can push all audio output to a headset?

"Volume up/down adjustments" <-- where to do this?

Also, I'm hoping in a later update they make it possible to choose between the volume of the main app and the snapped app (right now it plays both and it's distracting). I'd like to be able to snap TV, listen to TV audio, and play a game at the same time. Or vice-versa.

XBOX One Stereo headset adapter is the new product that they just shipped and is available in stores now. I believe you can get game and chat audio with it as long as you use a 3.5 inch jack on your headset.

In the TV/OneGuide section under troubleshooting-->Audio. You can set it to different intervals now (default is 3).

 

 

BTW - y'all can yell 'XBOX, broadcast' now and it'll just take you to the Twitch app. The twitch app will be updated on Tuesday to allow streaming.

 

In the settings menu (I can't remember off hand now - I'm at work) there is an option to update your controller as well. You'll need a micro-usb cable to do it. If you got the play & charge kit - you're golden. Otherwise just use the cable that charges your Windows Phones ;)

What do you mean by "update your controller"? What is being updated? And why would you have to plug it into the console to do the update? Wouldn't the Xbox OS handle it as it is the thing that interprets the controller input commands?

Ms advertised it as a media center hub with windows 8 interface. I knew tv side we were going to get (uk) later but its a bit of a usless tin. To b honest its worst purchase i can think ive ever done. Me being a true Ms fan since windows 95. seriously made me revalue my allegiance and jump ship. Just hope next update is not game based but interface and usability based. [im a pc gamer]

It probably isnt as the vehicles are limited to Titans. I frigging love TF, but I dont think its strenght would be in replacing a BF game.

funny that "titans" are an integral part of each game :D, though obviously the word is applied very differently. titan mode was so awesome!

What's the OS version number of the update? Or how can we easily tell if we got it or not (once it's actively being pushed out)