It appears that the Xbox One has no out-of-the-box support to play one's own video files, for example by sticking them on a USB. This is in stark contrast the Xbox 360, which has an inbuilt media player app that plays a limited range of video formats.

What is the most convenient way to play video files on the Xbox one?

For example,

  • Obtaining a PC or tablet running Windows 8 and use the "Stream to Xbox" function touted in reviews?
  • Would you upload your files to a SkyDrive account and use the SkyDrive app on your Xbox?
  • Would you use some other app?

Or is there some other clever backdoor method?

  • Can you just host them over your local network using something like Windows 7 Media Center, and have the Xbox stream them from the media server?
    – Robotnik
    Nov 25, 2013 at 3:22
  • @Robotnik Apparently not. There's no app (either inbuilt or downloadable) to browse and play media as there is for Xbox360.
    – Lisa
    Nov 25, 2013 at 3:24
  • Discussion about the on-topic-ness of this question was moved to meta.
    – agent86
    Nov 25, 2013 at 17:50

8 Answers 8


From what I've gathered after doing a bit of research, the Xbox One supports DLNA but only as a receiver. It won't actively search and find source files, but will happily play anything that is pushed to it via the DLNA protocol.

However, as I don't have an Xbox One I can't physically verify this but a quick Google search for Xbox One DLNA should net you a few solutions that night work for you.

Update to describe example test usage:

  1. Placed own media files on a device capable of decoding and rendering them into video (or still image or audio only). In DLNA speak this was the server. For testing I used an MP4 file on an Android tablet.
  2. Used a product supporting DLNA (for example a DLNA-certified controller device, a mobile device with DLNA software installed or even your PC) as the DLNA controller. This might be the same device as the server. In my test case it was. I used the same Android tablet to both serve and control the media content (mainly to ameliorate local network performance issues). I had to install a free app called Skifta to do the DLNA controlling magic.
  3. In DLNA speak, the Xbox One was the renderer. The controller device's DLNA software identified the Xbox OS as a potential renderer in a list of output devices. My Android tablet was also listed as a possible output device.
  4. Using the DLNA software on the controller device, selected the server as the media source and a list or tree of possible media files appeared. In testing I was able to select and play an MP4 video, scroll through a folder of JPEG images like a manual slide show and also able to play an MP3 audio file.
  • I tested this with great success. It's not perfect but the Xbox One's support for playing DLNA input appears to be excellent. This is, I think, definitely the best answer as it's likely to be the most convenient way for someone without extra specialised hardware to play their own media files.
    – Lisa
    Dec 9, 2013 at 23:54
  • 1
    I would like to add that, since I posted the question, an article has appeared describing how to use Xbox One's DLNA capability to stream straight from your Windows 7/8 PC any Windows-supported formats straight to the Xbox One. gottabemobile.com/2013/12/07/play-content-xbox-one From the DLNA view of the world this is basically using your PC as server+controller and Xbox as renderer.
    – Lisa
    Dec 10, 2013 at 0:46

Microsoft released a new "Media Player Preview" app along with the August 2014 console update.

This recognizes media on USB drives plugged into the console and will play movies, music or pictures in a variety of formats, the interface is fairly bare-bones at the moment, but is in still in beta and they do seem to be actively updating (as a Preview Program member I've already had a couple of updates to this app). The app will also apparently be updated to support browsing and playing from DLNA media shares on your network later in the year.

The current list of compatible formats is:

3gp audio
3gp video
animated gif
avi divx
avi dv
avi uncompressed
avi xvid
h264 avchd
mpeg 1 ps
mpeg 2
mpeg 2 hd
mpeg 2 ts
mpeg 4 h264 aac
mpeg 4 sp
wma lossless
wma pro
wma voice
wmv hd 

Apparently more formats (including MKV) will be added by the end of the year.


The Xbox One does indeed have a Media Player app now, and support has been added for DLNA servers. A lot of these answers are outdated so I thought I'd post some newer information here:

Option 1 (USB):

You can still plug a hard drive into the USB slot on the side of the console and there's no need for DLNA, but I have experienced connectivity issues with USB connected hard drives when using the Media Player app (powered and unpowered hard drives). Basically, they act like they've been momentarily unplugged every so often, with random frequency (see forum post here). Still, it's not a bad method, and you may not see that behavior.


But, you're just connecting a hard drive to the xbox; why can't other devices get in on the fun, either to stream from or to stream to? Wouldn't it be crazy if you could just broadcast your hard drive across the air to any other device that knew how to listen for it? You can!

Option 2 (DLNA):

This has been the optimal setup for me, and I recommend it to everyone I know

My DLNA solution so far is pretty simple, I have an app called Kodi running on my computer (a Mac Mini). Kodi used to be XBMC, Xbox Media Center, which was basically the same software that xbox 360 used to play your USB and DLNA media files, just wrapped into a nicer desktop friendly format. A good alternative for the Xbox 360 was an app called Rivet, which was simple, stable, and supported a surprisingly large list of formats (but not everything, by a long shot).

Kodi, Rivet, and legacy versions of XBMC, as well as many other apps out there, support broadcasting a DLNA server. This means I can plug my (multiple) hard drives into my Mac, open the Kodi app, and a DLNA server immediately starts running on my local network; any device on my network that can render a DLNA service will see Kodi as a "source", including the Xbox One Media Player app. I also use the ArkMedia app on my iPad Mini, and that is able to stream a video from Kodi while I'm streaming a video to the Xbox from Kodi, which is pretty cool.

So, when I open the Media Player xbox app, it shows a source named [email protected] or something similar. Kodi knows where I keep my movies (I told it so on my computer), so when I click on that source, my files immediately appear in their original folder structure. I can access a huge amount of filetypes, including .m2ts 1080p files (which the 360 could not handle). You can't move/delete/copy files or anything like that, but you can navigate folders, look at images, play audio, etc.

The only bug I've found so far with Kodi (and maybe DLNA on Xbox One in general) is that if you pause a file for a long time, like more than 15 mins or so, it will restart whenever you want but it will throw an error after a few seconds, and you have to restart the file, fast forward to where you were watching, etc.


Maybe that's a lot of setup though, and you don't have an enormous library of 80's movies to sift through; you just want to use a handheld device to put a media file onto your TV/Xbox One's screen. All you want to do is show Grammy your vacation pictures, or show your friends a new game, but your tiny phone/tablet makes that hard. Well, you're in luck (sort of):

Option 3 ("Casting"):

I'll just call this "casting" for simplicity's sake, since Chromecast, "Play to", and "Screen Mirroring" are all used almost interchangeably by different devices and software. It is the most unstable way to stream media, since devices, software, and filetypes can all affect how it works (or, cause it to not work at all).

For example, I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 Android phone running Lollipop. When I open the Netflix app on my phone and start a movie, there's a symbol at the top that looks like a TV screen and little wifi radials coming out from it. There's no word for it on my phone, some devices call it "Play To functionality", but it just "casts" Netflix to another device on the network (and Xbox One shows up in the list of devices for me).

If I hit this button, the Netflix app opens on the Xbox, and my phone turns into a weird kind of remote for Netflix that's unavailable in any other scenario. So I'm not streaming Netflix, or my phone's screen, my phone just told the Xbox One to start up Netflix, on this particular movie/episode, and continues to sync remote-based commands like pause, play, rewind, etc. The ArkMedia app on my iPad Mini also does this, it will send a video to the Xbox Video app (not the media player app), and while the video plays on the Xbox, the iPad becomes a weird remote again, but the ArkMedia remote is much nicer, has volume, a timecode scrubber, etc. This is what I'd call "Play-to", but it doesn't really matter, the point is that everyone does it a little differently.

Regardless, this technology has now been adopted by Xbox natively as part of the new "Screen Mirroring" Xbox One app, which I believe is only available to Preview Program members at the time of this post. As an added benefit of having an Android running Lollipop, Screen Mirroring is also built into my phone OS out of the box. I turn on Screen Mirroring in my phone's settings, turn on the Screen Mirroring app on the Xbox One, and after a few seconds of syncing, the TV screen is now a mirror image of my phone's home screen, completely interactive. I can do anything, use apps, make calls, not to mention watch videos recorded from my camera, as well as any I have on my device (I always keep a few X-Files episodes on the SD card in case I'm bored without service somewhere).

The best part, IMO, is that if I watch a Youtube video, play a game, or get a system alert the sound comes out of the TV! It's perfect for playing games that are just too clumsy for a tiny phone, or showing off your phone in general, or watching a video without crowding around the phone screen.

BUT! The success / failure you have "casting" depends on your device, the software you use to cast, and the file/media type you're trying to cast. Certain things just don't play well together, or at least play together differently.

On my specific version of Android, the phone is MIRRORED to the Xbox "Screen Mirror" app, meaning you see your entire phone display on the TV, and the TV screen swipes as your finger swipes the phone, showing your background and status bar, etc. Certain phones (i've personally seen this on an iPhone 6) can only use the "Play to" style of casting to put something like camera photos on the Xbox Screen, using the Screen Mirroring app. E.g. when you "cast" a photo from an iphone to an Xbox One, when you swipe your finger to show the next photo, the Xbox screen doesn't swipe. It shows a spinning load icon, and then the next picture appears. It's casting each file, one at a time, like a DLNA server would, and not streaming the phone's entire display output (like my awesome Android does). It seems every device has its own rules about what files / apps it is willing to cast/stream/play-to.


I'm sure I missed some methods here, please feel free to add them in comments and I'll update this answer any time.


I used Skydrive to play movies on my Xbox One. Upload your media to your Skydrive account, and it will be available to play through the Skydrive app on your Xbox One.

Depending on the speed of your internet connection, this may not be the most convenient option, but frankly, there isn't one right now.

Skydrive accounts are free and provide your with 7GB of storage, I believe.

  • I have tested this and it does work but the playback is jerky, presumably because buffering is problematic due to our modest Australian internet speeds. Uploading own videos to American servers and then back down to Australia seems like a terrible anti-solution to the problem but I understand this would be valid for other countries/situations.
    – Lisa
    Dec 9, 2013 at 11:15

In the movie player on my Windows 8 pc is a "play to" button, I hit it and it started playing on the xbox. Ideally I'd like to browse a shared folder on my pc, but it does work fine. I played a blueray file with no issues so far.


if you have an Android samsung phone you can turn on your all share cast and then just push the button while watching in a movie It'll be pushed your Xbox1 automatically and start streaming. I did it accidentally while watching a FB video on my phone. Then i tested it with the videos stored in my phone then movies. now you just have to worry about getting the movies on your phone which is just a drag and drop by plugging your phone into your PC

  • I don't have an Allshare cast dongle so was unable to test.
    – Lisa
    Dec 8, 2013 at 4:03

Microsoft have said that from release the use of the USB 3.0 slots will not be supported for local storage flash drives, external hard drives and such, but they have said that this isn't a permanent thing. They haven't given a date but it will be supported after an update which will allow you to use flash drives and plug external hard drives in to expand the memory of the console as the internal hard drive can't be replaced (well replaced easily).

Here is a link to people complaining that this feature hasn't been enabled.

Here is a link to the XB1 support page for using USBs which indicates they aren't currently supported.

And here's a link about Microsoft removing support but saying it will be available in the near future. May be crap but we just need to wait.

  • This is not an answer to my question. I'm not concerned about use of USB. Sure, USB is one of the possible sources for one's own videos but not the only.
    – Lisa
    Dec 3, 2013 at 22:30
  • Well it does, I haven't included DVD/BlueRay because that is obvious and if you look through the links in includes articles on Streaming from PC to XB1 so the only other option is local storage (USB etc) and there is no other option. What else did you want to know?
    – Popeye
    Dec 4, 2013 at 19:33
  • Not how to read from external media... How to play videos. That's the question.
    – Lisa
    Dec 5, 2013 at 0:12
  • What? The only options on XB1 are Disc/BlueRay or Local Storage (Currently not Supported) what else are you expecting to play video off?
    – Popeye
    Dec 5, 2013 at 8:17

it seems you have an answer for your problem, I did just want to post a very very helpful link answering the question you had in hopes of making your future streaming experience better!


check that out, it has a guide for windows 7 and 8.

  • I already posted that link in a comment on accepted answer but thanks.
    – Lisa
    Dec 14, 2013 at 5:22

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