The Xbox division announced Tuesday morning an update of its SmartGlass app that will add control of the DVR found inside the Xbox One video game console through smartphones and tablets, enabling new recordings to be set and watched remotely.
Starting this week, however, the console will enable users to rent or buy a movie on Xbox Video, begin watching on one screen, then pick-up right where they left off on another, according to Ben Smith, Microsft’s director of program management for its Windows Embedded division. Timing comes as Xbox Video has begun offering “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” as well as season passes of the first three seasons of “Game of Thrones,” before the fourth bows Sunday.
In addition, Microsoft will make the OneGuide, Xbox’s electronic program guide, available through SmartGlass, as well.
The updates will only initially be available to a select group of Xbox Live members, with the functions rolling out to all users later this year.
SmartGlass is a free app for phones and tablets that already let users access a variety of second-screen functions.
That will soon increase with SmartGlass adding the ability to navigate game options to access achievements, challenges, and game clips without having to switch screens. ; view recent players to find people you recently gamed with; sort friends lists by online status; view activity feeds; launch an app in Snap; and receive Xbox Live messaging alerts.
Additionally, Microsoft will expand the ability to control your Xbox One using voice commands and the Kinect in Europe and Canada. That function has already been available in the U.S. since the console’s launch. It will also bring elements of the OneGuide to new markets.