Microsoft's Xbox Wire blog was recently updated with news that owners of the Xbox One can now purchase over-the-air TV tuners that are compatible with the console. This should be good news for gamers looking to "cut the cable" and rely on other sources such as Sling TV and Hulu Plus for their TV entertainment.
Currently, the over-the-TV programming is only available for participants in the Xbox One preview program in the United States and in Canada. At press time, only the Hauppauge WinTV-955Q TV adapter is compatible, which costs $79.99 at Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon and Micro Center. Xbox One owners will also need to purchase an HDTV antenna.
Setting up the over-the-air tuner is designed to be extremely easy. First, the antenna needs to be placed where it can receive a good reception, such as a window. Next, take a coaxial cable and plug it into the antenna and the TV tuner, and then plug the tuner into the USB port on the back of the Xbox One console.
Once the tuner is plugged in and the Xbox One console is booted up, a notification will pop up. Users simply hold down on the Xbox button, and the console will start setting up the over-the-air access. Microsoft will then request a few pieces of information including the user's zip code and what channels are locally available.
Microsoft's Harrison Hoffman, Program Manager of the TV and Entertainment division, suggested that Xbox One owners should visit gomohu.com/xbox to see which Mohu antenna will work best for that user. As an example, the $24.99 Leaf Metro (opens in new tab) may only pick up 15 channels whereas the $69.99 Leaf 50 (opens in new tab) may receive up to 22 channels.
Xbox One owners may be spending between $104.99 and $229.99 on hardware just to get over-the-air TV access (combining the cost of the adapter and antenna). Is it worth the cost? The Xbox Wire blog reported that Hauppauge will be releasing a lower cost version of the WinTV-955Q that will retail for $59.99, but the end cost still seems rather steep.
In addition to watching over-the-air TV, Microsoft indicated that Xbox One owners will be able to pause live TV. Hoffman said that the Xbox console sets aside 4 GB of space for this feature, which allows live TV to be paused for up to 30 minutes. Other features include changing channels using voice commands via the Kinect sensor, streaming over-the-air TV to Xbox One Smartglass, adding channels in a "favorites" list in OneGuide, and more.
To see over-the-air TV in action, check out the video below, which features Hoffman and Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb explaining the new over-the-air Digital TV solution.