In June 2014, Microsoft will release a system update that they claim will include “two of your most-requested features will be here soon: external storage support and real names for identifying your friends.”
While both of these changes add value, neither address one the most frequently requested features: which is to bring back Media Center Extender functionality.
Microsoft’s Windows Media Center was introduced in 2005 as a means of using your PC as a DVR. The Xbox 360 was the best Windows Media Center Extender. It offered an excellent way of streaming media stored from a central location on your home network.
Enthusiast like myself, adopted these solutions as an affordable and practical way to centralize photos, music, and video on a single storage repository (desktop, server, NAS) that would be easily accessible from multiple Xbox 360s. Years of created, recorded, and purchased content has been organized and retained.
The Xbox One, however, doesn’t offer an easy means of accessing any of this content on home networks. Instead, it focuses on streaming content from the internet; leaving those of us with our private cloud no means of consuming our content off of devices on our home network.
The Xbox Video team maintains a xboxvideo.uservoice.com forum that makes it easy for customers to make feature requests and vote for features suggested by others.
Care to guess what is the most-requested feature? It’s “Media Center Extender Support” with more than 8,800 user votes. The second highest request has only 1,600 votes.
Microsoft, please listen to your users. For those of us who use the Xbox One for media consumption, we desire Media Center Extender Support most of all. And while direct-attached external storage is helpful, more users want external storage support over the network so that we can access the large media libraries of photos, music, and video that we have created or purchased over the years from a central storage repository on our home network.