This might be a fairly specific scenario, but if you own an Xbox One and are on the fence about signing up for a cable subscription, Microsoft might have just made the decision for you. On Wednesday, the Xbox team announced that it would be bringing over-the-air TV functionality to Xbox One owners in the United States and Canada.
“Starting today, members of the Xbox One preview program in the U.S. and Canada can get over-the-air TV by purchasing the Hauppauge WinTV-955Q (MSRP $79.99 at Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop and Micro Center), and an HDTV antenna,” writes the Xbox team.
In the coming months, Microsoft plans to partner with Hauppauge to bring a more affordable $59.99 tuner to market as well. It’s not exactly a cheap alternative to simply avoiding cable altogether, but the additional features might be enough to sway some users:
- Watch Over-the-Air TV on Xbox One: With the supported TV tuner and antenna, you can watch free, over-the-air television channels available in your area without changing TV inputs. TV interweaves itself seamlessly with your gaming experience on Xbox One, enabling you to watch TV while you wait for a multiplayer match to start or even receive game invitations and notifications while watching your favorite show.
- OneGuide for TV Listings across Sources: OneGuide provides a full-screen view of all of your TV listings. In addition, MiniGuide allows you to quickly browse the TV listings and see the latest Tweets about the show you’re watching in the U.S. You can use your Xbox One Controller or the Xbox One Media Remote to navigate the OneGuide and MiniGuide.
- TV Viewing in Snap: Snapping TV allows you to watch TV on the right side of your screen and leave the main screen for games, Skype or other applications.
- Pause Live TV: Need to take a break? Pause whatever you’re watching and Xbox will cache for up to 30 minutes so you can catch up when you get back.
- Favorite Channels: Easily build your own customized OneGuide by marking channels as “favorites,” so that you can easily see what’s on the channels you care about and tune-in.
- Changing Channels by Voice with Kinect: The OneGuide allows you to set up and call out your favorite TV channel by name and start watching it instantly. Simply say “Xbox, watch NBC,” to quickly switch between channels.*
- Stream Over-the-Air TV to Xbox One SmartGlass: Now you have access to your full OneGuide in the Xbox One SmartGlass app with the ability to tune channels on your TV and stream TV within your home from your Xbox One to one or more of your devices. Xbox One SmartGlass is available on Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.
Before you start shopping, be sure to visit gomohu.com/xbox and enter your address to see which channels you’ll be able to pick up with a tuner. Depending on where you live, there might not be enough channels to make this a worthwhile investment.
If you’re intrigued by the notion of your Xbox One turning into a makeshift cable box of sorts, watch Major Nelson’s instructional video below: