When Microsoft launched its Xbox One console in late 2013, the company emphasized that this was more than just a gaming system – it was a full-on entertainment hub. The console includes an HDMI pass-through which lets users connect their cable or satellite set-top box so they can use Microsoft’s superior digital programming guide.
Oddly enough, Microsoft neglected to include what is perhaps the most basic television aspect of all – an over-the-air (OTA) tuner. The Redmond-based company remedied the situation for European users last summer with a custom USB tuner accessory and now, they’re preparing to do the same for North American users.
Since the Xbox One doesn’t have the necessary hardware to pull in OTA signals on its own, it’ll need a TV tuner and an antenna. Microsoft is currently working with Hauppauge to create a custom tuner for the Xbox One but in the meantime, it recommends using this one.
As for an antenna, any should work as long as its range is within the distance you are from broadcast antennas. I recently tried the Mohu Leaf 50 as part of my cord cutting experience and was able to pull down most of the major networks although you will need to consider things like range and topography beforehand. AntennaWeb is a great place to start.
You may be asking yourself why it’d be worth running your antenna through the Xbox rather than just connecting it straight to your television. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft has a great programming guide but that’s only the start. There’s also a 30-minute buffer which, while not a true DVR, is better than what you get with just a TV and antenna – nothing at all. You’ll also be able to watch television and play a game simultaneously using the Snap feature and even stream channels to your mobile device.
The new feature is available right now to Xbox One Preview program members. Everyone else will have to sit tight as Microsoft says it’ll be available very soon.