Xbox One February Update Adds Game Hubs, Transparent Tiles

Xbox One preview program members received the February update tonight. Everyone else will have to wait until sometime next month to check out new features like the Game Hubs, custom backgrounds, and tile transparency — and various updates to the TV functionality.

Tile transparency has been a requested feature for the Xbox One since custom backgrounds were introduced in the November 2014 update. Most (but not all) tiles on the home screen can be turned transparent so that you can view the background you set for your Xbox One better.

Game Hubs is a new concept that find out what’s going on with your favorite game. You’ll be able to check out leaderboards, game clips, and game broadcasts. It sounds like an extension of the ideas introduced with the last Twitch app update in December. However, it includes the option to start playing a game with Achievements showing, with a party, or to broadcast on Twitch.

The TV updates are primarily focused at European countries that support the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner. There’s added support for more TVs, set-top boxes, and other devices plus fixes to issues with some models. It makes sense though that Microsoft would continue to focus on TV features. Microsoft did win an Emmy for this part of the Xbox One, after all.

Xbox One OneGuide
The OneGuide for Xbox One.

The details of the February Xbox One update are below. What do you think of this first update of 2015? Sound off in the comments below.

  • Game hubs – New in preview this month, game hubs are the go-to centers for all sorts of interesting content around your favorite games. Every Xbox One game will have a game hub where you can see which of your friends are playing the game, compete with your friends in game leaderboards, dive into the coolest game clips and game broadcasts, and follow the game’s VIPs and top players.To get to the game hub for your favorite game, find a game in your pins, recently played list, or My games and apps, then press the Menu button and select View game hub. You can also search for any game in the Xbox Store and click on the game hub tile from the game’s store page.

  • Custom backgrounds and tile transparency – We listened to your feedback and added additional tile transparency to the Home tiles to make your background images more visible. As a reminder, to set a custom background, go to Settings > My Xbox> My background. Note: some items can’t be made transparent due to usage rights/restrictions for certain images.

  • TV updates – We’re releasing a lot of updates to the live TV experience and features are being released to additional countries in preview this month:

    • OneGuide for the Netherlands – Support for OneGuide will continue in preview for the Netherlands and the missing channels for the Netherlands OneGuide listings will become available over the next few weeks.
    • TV trending in OneGuide – As you scan the detailed OneGuide TV listings, you can see which shows are trending by a “Trending on Xbox” note and associated icon. Xbox – live TV trending is based on the number of Xbox One owners currently watching that show in each country, pulled from anonymous data collected at a national level. Currently, Xbox TV trending is available to all members in the U.S., UK and Canada.
    • Live TV trending (new countries) – France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico will begin seeing live TV trending data in Xbox OneGuide.
    • Improved control of TVs, set-top boxes and audio/video receivers – Xbox One will work even better with more devices. This month’s preview release contains updates to the IR blasting database for new models and addresses issues reported by our fan community.
    • “Trick play” with Xbox One Digital TV Tuner – Preview members with the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in supported countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) will now be able to see video frames when fast-forwarding or rewinding paused TV on your Xbox One consoles.
    • Live TV streaming on Windows Phone and Android – We are continuing the preview of live TV streaming on Windows Phone and Android devices for Xbox One Digital TV Tuner owners in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

[Images via Xbox]