Xbox Won’t be Getting TV Picture-in-Picture
Today Microsoft surprised us by releasing the Creators Update to all Xbox One owners. It brings Beam streaming, many user interface enhancements, and the death of Snap Mode to the entertainment console. None of the new features or changes were surprises as many people have had access to Insider Preview builds of the new operating system for months.
With the death of Snap Mode (the ability to devote about 30% of the side of the screen to a secondary app) Microsoft has shown how they plan to display extra apps and features on-screen while gaming. For example, the new update adds an achievement tracker that will float a small list of achievements over top of the main game screen. Similarly, when streaming with Beam there is a small information bar that is displayed over top of the game. This can also be moved around the screen so as not to obstruct key interface components within a game.
This lead us to hope they would extend this concept to television and other video applications. Unfortunately, Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of Xbox, tweeted the following:
So it looks as though Microsoft may not be bringing picture-in-picture support for TV after all. There are a few different ways to look at this announcement. The first is to consider that they are asking users to voice their feedback, and Microsoft has really done an excellent job lately when it comes to listening to their customers. Another way to examine this is to note that Ybarra was pretty specific in naming TV as the feature that won’t be getting picture-in-picture support. He didn’t mention video apps. Microsoft is known to strongly consider usage data when determining which features to work on. We’d be willing to bet that video apps like Netflix and Amazon get far more usage than the TV features which require either a separate OTA TV tuner or the user to connect their cable box through the Xbox’s HDMI input.
If you’d like to see Microsoft add picture-in-picture support then your best bet is to head over to the Xbox User Voice site. To vote for picture-in-picture in TV check out this post. To throw some votes toward video apps you’ll need to vote on this and this.