Back in the day, if you wanted to watch broadcast television on your Xbox 360, all you had to do was build an entire other computer, complete with TV Tuner or capture cards, lots of storage, and network connectivity, and then you could watch TV over Windows Media Center. Simple right? Apparently not simple enough. Today Microsoft is taking the wraps off of a new feature coming to the Xbox One which will allow it to receive Over-the-Air (OTA) broadcasts and play them directly in the TV interface.

To be honest, this seems like an obvious addition to the Xbox One, and one that has been available in some parts of the world for some time with the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner. Now those of us in North America will also get access, but for the moment only through OTA signals, and this time, Microsoft is not supplying the tuner.

Instead, Microsoft has partnered with Hauppauge (a big name in the PC TV Tuner business) and owners of the Xbox One who want to be able to watch their broadcasts through the Xbox just need to add this device to their Xbox, and they will be able to watch any channels that broadcast OTA in their area. At the moment, this is only available to people in the Xbox One preview program, so expect this feature to roll out to all owners soon. The program currently works with the Hauppauge WinTV-955Q tuner which has a MSRP of $79.99, and Microsoft will be launching a lower cost Hauppauge TV Tuner for Xbox One, retailing for MSRP $59.99 in the next couple of months.

Also, the aforementioned Digital TV Tuner is having its rollout expanded to eleven more countries today, adding Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland to the already supported countries of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The Xbox One was positioned as a digital media hub when it was first announced, and though that did it no favors with the gaming crowd, Microsoft has delivered a good experience here. It could still use some work, but features like the Xbox OneGuide will be available using the new OTA service. You can snap the TV into a smaller screen if you want to watch something while gaming. While the Xbox Tuner does not allow DVR functions in having recorded shows, it does let you pause live TV.

What of course would put this over the top would be the addition of cable support, and using the Xbox hard drive for an actual DVR. It would be pretty great if they would add this in a future update, but I will not hold my breath.

Just to reiterate, this new feature is available to people in the Xbox One preview program now, and will be coming to all users in a future update. And also, I miss Windows Media Center despite how complicated it was.

Source: Xbox

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  • kpb321 - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    Only allowing you to watch live TV without any actual DVR like scheduled recordings makes this pretty poor IMO. You can watch live TV over an antenna with the integrated tuners in any modern TV. Sure you can pause and you get some other minor benefits but that hardly seems to justify the $60 or $80 price tag for a single tuner. Now if it had DVR functionality that would be a whole different story.
  • medi03 - Thursday, April 9, 2015 - link

    Actually, many modern TVs allow you to have DVR functionality too. (although quite restrictive, thank's to all the HDCP shit)
  • coburn_c - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    Cooler than just buying Hauppauge, a staple in the PC world that deserves some love.
  • lorribot - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    So in order to watch TV using and XBOX you pay $60, surely turning off the XBOX and watching the TV it plugged in to is the cheapest option? If you stick a USB stick in the side of the TV most will act as a DVR as well.
    Do the dev staff and marketing people at MS live on the same planet as real people?
  • auralcircuitry - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    I use a projector, which doesn't have a TV tuner. There are also people with A/V systems that don't support HDMI, and people with TVs that don't have proper audio output, these people are stuck haveing to manually switch a bunch of inputs or use the built-in speakers to watch TV. There people that simply want to use the OneGuide and Kinect to watch TV, and to have it all be integrated properly. TVs do not have HDMI outputs, so there's no other way to do "snap TV" and other Xbox features with the setup you describe.
  • Operandi - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    LOL, and in other news, nobody cares about that crap.

    Seriously, I'm rarely if ever at home watching TV live so this is completely useless to me and I'm guessing most of the market as well, total failure. I also give 0 cares about Xbox in general, I don't game a lot but when I do its PC only.

    MS needs to wake up and get back to work on Windows Media Center for those of us that want high-end HTPCs. More importantly though they need to imbed it in set top style box with some decent hardware (which should be easy enough these days) so it can hit the market penetration that software is capable of doing.
  • kingpotnoodle - Thursday, April 9, 2015 - link

    What you have basically just said there is:

    "Microsoft should not bring out this XBox/Hauppage feature with niche appeal because I don't want it and am too narrow minded to think anyone else might be different. Instead what Microsoft should do is return to something else [WMC+Extenders] even more expensive and with an even more niche appeal because that's what I want".

    Do you not see the contradiction there?
  • Operandi - Thursday, April 9, 2015 - link

    An expensive add-on aimed a dead paradigm (live TV viewing); if that's how its going to function they should not bring it to market.

    As to WMC its only niche because its complicated, expensive, and OEMs completely blew it terms of form factors (tower PC in the living room???), its certainly not niche due to how it functions as its far more powerful than this joke.

    Apple has been going after the other side of this market for years with Apple TV, and with constant rumors circling about physical Apple branded TV on the horizon, this is certainly big and lucrative market. MS has everything they need to compete in this market with WMC and the ARM program experience; how long do they really want to neglect this market? WMC is certainly a stagnant product there is no reason it should be, MS has everything they need to go after this market. WMC is already a excellent DVR, all it needs is updated streaming support and to be rolled it into a settop box with a powerful SOC and support for external networked storage and they would have a very successful project.

    Oh, and keep it and add-on for full Windows as well so us enthusiasts can keep building our high-end HTPCs.
  • kingpotnoodle - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    A dead paradigm? There are a hell of a lot more people watching live TV than using WMC, so if live TV is dead that must make WMC a fossil.

    I used WMC once, I had one of the Linksys extenders, it sort of worked but it was far from flawless, very expensive and firmly an "enthusiast" product, it would need a LOT of work to become anything else at this point. An appliance box would be great but I can't see it being cheap enough to compete with streaming catchup services or other PVR products. A DVR server with client boxes at each TV will always be a very, very niche solution.
  • Operandi - Monday, April 13, 2015 - link

    WMC is "product" live TV viewing as a means of serial video content is a "paradigm" and yeah its pretty much dead. My grandparents watch it live (but they also have Netflix), luddites watch live TV as do poor people with no other means but its pretty much the worst way to consume the content.

    The great thing about WMC is that it can do pretty much everything and its quite good at most of it. The DVR functionality is best in class. Steaming is/was quite good as well, the interface to Netflix is very slick and responsive (of course now it has major issues due to lack official support), there is also a 3rd party Amazon app (plugin) that works quite well. All it really needs is official support and to be updated.

    Then there is the support for local movie and music content for those enthusiasts that wish to do it that way.

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