Xbox One controller

Xbox One update brings DVR functionality to SmartGlass

All’s been quiet on the SmartGlass front for the past few months. While Microsoft pushed its second-screen tech hard in the run-up to the Xbox One’s launch, the company’s been mum on its future SmartGlass plans ever since. We’re not even seeing a lot of game integrations like we did with Dead Rising 3 (where you could, for instance, call in an airstrike from your tablet).

But lest you think Microsoft finally abandoned the tech, on Tuesday we got word of a new beta going out to select Xbox One users that enhances SmartGlass functionality.

On the TV side of things, you can now use your phone or tablet as a remote to interact with DVR recordings or control the OneGuide. Recorded content is also available for playback on mobile devices, though there’s no news yet which DVR providers the Xbox One will support when the feature goes out to the public.

Xbox Video

Xbox Video gets “rent once, play anywhere” functionality with the new update.

Xbox Video also adds some basic functionality, with “rent once, play anywhere”—start watching content on one device and resume playback at the same place on another. Like most of these early Xbox One updates, this seems like basic functionality that should’ve been around at launch, so hooray that it’s getting added in now, I guess.

And on the game side of things, SmartGlass will be used for all the side-content you might want to check out without taking up part of your main screen—achievements, clips, and the like. It’s not a huge reason to use SmartGlass, but if you have your phone or tablet around anyway...

Either way, Microsoft’s SmartGlass features still seem half-finished. If this year’s E3 is at all similar to the 2013 conference, we’ll undoubtedly be regaled with more uses for the second-screen tech during Microsoft’s press conference in June. Right now, though, it’s just not all that compelling.

This update is in the preview phase as of Tuesday; it will be released to the Xbox One community at large “later this year.”

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