I officially cut the cable cord just a few weeks a go and the combination of Xbox Video, Netflix and Hulu has meant that I have not seen an noticeable gaps in my TV watching. In fact I think it has highlighted that much of my TV watching was based around aimless surfing. The one feature I did immediately miss was the ability to pause and rewind live TV, I found that I missed this feature more than the ability to record live TV. Well thankfully this week Microsoft released an update to Xbox One that allows it capture over the air (OTA) HD signals.
For the folks in the US it has been made available as part of the limited Preview program and uses a TV tuner from Hauppauge. The exclusive US partnership with Hauppauge on the surface is really strange simply because Microsoft already released an official Xbox One Tuner device into the European and Australian market some time ago.
With this device attached to your Xbox One (along with OTA antenna) you can pause live TV for up to 30 minutes and it will even given you a notification as you get close to that limit, the pause function requires an allotment of 4GB of hard drive space. The OTA TV support works along side other apps as you would expect on Xbox One, you you can watch TV and snap Skype, or message friends or even watch some Sling TV!
The feature I have been using most, however, is the ability to stream the OTA signal directly to a tablet or phone on my network via Smart glass. I can still turn channels, pause live TV while someone else is enjoying uninterrupted gaming on my Xbox.
Setting up OTA Live TV on Xbox One
After you have connected your Hauppauge device to your antenna and to the back of your Xbox do the following:
- Click on the hamburger button on your controller.
- In your settings menu click on TV & OneGuide, then select Device Control.
- Under DEVICES select TV tuner settings and then select Setup TV tuner.
- After you have started the scanning process you should see a list of channels start to emerge that your antenna is able to detect.[These channels will vary in quality and variety and will depend on the quality of you antenna, its position and, frankly the position of your house in relation to the OTA broadcasters.]
- Click Next and ensure that you have Live pause: on enabled.
Improvements I would love to see
This is a great start and has been a welcome addition to my post-cable existence. I am hopeful that this is just the start and would love to see full DVR support, although I am sure there is some legal quagmire to overcome (dual tuner support would also be needed). The App Channel could also do with some improvements, things like Hulu, ESPN and Fox are represented in the OneGuide but as a feature for advertising new content. I would like the app channel to connect directly to episodes I am already watching, that way each app channel becomes a convenient feed for episodes I am actively consuming.