Microsoft has just helped Xbox One owning cord cutters take another step away from the cable company.
In an announcement at the Xbox News Wire website the Xbox team has revealed that Xbox One Preview program members can start testing getting TV over the air on their consoles. This follows the release of a digital tuner for users in Europe late last year.
Harrison Hoffman, the Xbox Program Manager for TV and Entertainment, has confirmed for me that if you are a preview program member then your console is ready to use the OTA tuner and that no extra updates are required.
Here is a quick run down of the features with this new capability:
- 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.
If you watch the embedded video below you will see them using the Live Pause feature and also hear Harrison say that they have reserved 4GB of hard drive space on the console for it. That is a very clear indication, in my opinion, that we are just a step or two away from adding a recording feature to the OneGuide and having the Xbox One as a DVR.
Makes sense actually.
Here is the video with a complete demo of the features mentioned above: