XBMC on my Mac Mini has been the center of my television experience for the past few years. After kicking cable to the curb in 2006, my life has been filled with ripping DVD’s to my computer and streaming it to the TV. XBMC was awesome. I could add and catalog all my local movies and tv shows, while still watching Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime directly through their XBMC apps.
But when I finally got an Xbox One, that all chanced. The X1 became less of a gaming system and more of the primary streaming box. XBMC apps were nice, but still were a bit clunky. Sometimes the services would update their technology and the apps would break. But on the Xbox One, the experience was seamless and (for the most part) always working.
Still, I missed being able to get to my local content effortlessly. True, it wasn’t THAT much of a hassle to switch inputs and grab a different remote for the Mac Mini. But it was still annoying. I’m still chasing that ONE DEVICE TO RULE THEM ALL. According to Microsoft and Plex, that may be happening pretty soon.
Every month, Microsoft does a press release for the monthly updates they do to the Xbox Platform. They’re constantly tweaking the operating system and adding new apps. During the latest press release they announce a lot of new functionality to the system.. but for me, they buried the lead.
Apparently, Microsoft has approved a version of the Plex Streaming Server to be added to the Xbox App Store. This is a huge thing. That means there will finally be a native application that allows you to organize and stream your local content directly through the Xbox One. You can (sorta) do that now by plugging your current media center system into the HDMI passthrough port, but it’s not the same. It’s still treated like a separate device and there are a few display bugs that pop up from time to time. With a native app, it will allow me to control everything with the Xbox controller or the official remote (which works great).
I’m not sure if they’ll allow you to plug in and use USB drives and access the content there. I’m assuming copyright issues will crop up. But there will be built-in DLNA support, so streaming from Network Access Servers will be enabled. I have an old Diskstation NAS that should work perfectly. I’m counting the days until this happen. If history had taught me anything, this solution will not be everything that i’m looking for. But it’ll be one step closer to media paradise. I can live with that.
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