Microsoft is finally answering a question shoppers have asked ever since it unveiled its current generation entertainment console back in 2013. The new Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One is how users can watch TV on their Xbox One completely free from service fees and monthly charges.
Microsoft announced this morning on its Xbox Wire news blog that it and hardware partner Hauppauge were finally releasing a dedicated Xbox One Digital TV Tuner for use in the United States and Canada. The Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One launches today in Microsoft’s own retail stores. The first bundle costs $59.99 any extras. The second bundle that Microsoft is carrying beginning today is a $99.99 kit that gives users everything they need to get started. It includes the digital TV tuner itself and a Mohu Leaf 50 antenna. Users who have cable right now or don’t already own a digital antenna are definitely better off picking up this bundle from the Microsoft Store website. Microsoft says purchasing the bundled version saves Xbox One owners a whopping $30.
To understand why the release of the Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One is important you first have to understand the vision Microsoft shared with those who watched its Xbox One reveal event back in 2013. The Xbox One is a very competitive gaming console, but it was also built to do more than just play games. In fact, the reason it’s called the Xbox One is because it’s intended to be the single place where users can enjoy all sorts of entertainment. For games there’s a spacious hard drive, robust graphics card and lots of processing power and RAM.
For television lovers the Xbox One has a dedicated HDMI pass-through port that allows users to plug in their cable box. Once it’s set up correctly, the Xbox One has a built-in guide that breaks down what’s airing currently and what’ll air in the future. With just a voice command users can switch channels or check to see what’s coming next. Microsoft made it easier to enjoy this functionality for millions last year when it released a dedicated Xbox One Digital TV Tuner that allows users to watch over-the-air broadcasts on their television without a cable subscription, something that was still pretty much required to use the TV app here in the United States until today. Many people who purchased the Xbox One at launch weren’t too happy when they realized they needed a separate converter box to make use of the TV app.
The Xbox One Smartglass app for smartphones and tablets lets users stream video from their Xbox One around the house too.
Suddenly, the Xbox One is the best option for anyone who is considering cutting cable or satellite from their budget. Besides letting users watch broadcast networks like NBC and ABC using this new Digital TV Tuner, there are tons of apps for television lovers who don’t want an extra bill. The Xbox One is the only video game console to offer Sling TV, a dedicated internet subscription service that gets users cable channels starting at $20 a month. Sling TV users can add-on packages for different services. Besides Sling TV, there are dedicated apps for on-demand video services that people use every day. Netflix and Hulu Plus are both available on the Xbox One complete with voice commands for those who have a Kinect sensor.
To be clear, the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner that launched last year is still compatible with Xbox One consoles used outside of North America. Only this new Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One works in the United States and Canada.