This week Microsoft launched a new digital TV tuner for the Xbox One, available in Europe the tuner is DVB-T2, DVB-T and DVB-C compatible so here in the UK that means Freeview HD. Freeview HD gives you free to air UK TV channels many of which are in HD, so that includes BBC One HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD.

The adapter connects to the Xbox One via USB and you plug your aerial cable in to the tuner. Once you connect up the tuner the Xbox detects the tuner and walks you through the setup. The setup asks you if you have an aerial or cable connection and then ask for your postcode, this reminded me of the Windows Media Center TV setup. It asks you your channel line-up (in my case Freeview HD) and then it scans for TV channels.


After the scan was complete it found just over 100 channels including the HD channels, it then asks if you want to enable a live TV buffer so you can pause live TV. If you do enable buffering it takes up 4GB on your Xbox One drive.

So once you are up and running what can you do with it?

The first thing you can do is view the OneGuide with a channel line-up including HD channels and then you can start watching live TV. You can pause playback and select channels via OneGuide or the updated TV mini guide that overlays over the bottom of the screen. You can also snap live TV to the right hand side and use the Xbox One to play a game or another app while continuing to watch live TV. You can also control it via voice  say “Xbox, what’s on BBC One” and it show you the EPG data for that channel, you can also change channel via voice. I prefer to use the Xbox One Remote control but its good to have the option. In OneGuide you can favorite channels and then view your collection of favorites, you can also view trending TV shows on Twitter and then switch to atrending show if you want.

I also found it can be used in conjunction with the HDMI input and a set top box. I have my Sky+ box connected to the Xbox One via the HDMI input, the Xbox can control the Sky+ box and you can watch Sky though the Xbox One. Now with the live TV tuner I have two channel line ups available in the OneGuide, I have the Freeview EPG and my Sky EPG and selecting a TV show from the Sky EPG switches to HDMI input and selects the channel. If you then select a show from the Freeview lineup it switches back to using the TV tuner. I think most people are going to use one or another system and not a combination of both but it can be done and it does work well.


The Xbox One Smartglass apps enable you to view the OneGuide on your device and now with the tuner you can stream live TV from the Xbox One to the iOS or Windows 8.1 versions of the apps. When you tap on a currently playing TV show there is a stream button and tapping that starts playback of the channel in the app. As it’s a single tuner one can only watch one thing at once, if you change the channel from the app and you are currently watching live TV on the Xbox it will change the channel on the TV but you can stream to a device without having live TV active on the Xbox One, the Xbox can be in standby and not active. So you could be playing a game on the Xbox One and still stream TV to your mobile device.

Missing TV Recording

There is one major feature that is missing, you can’t record TV its only for live TV. This stops you using it as a replacement for a Freeview recorder or Windows Media Center. The addition of recording and then streaming recorded TV to a SmartGlass apps would give you Windows Media Center functionality with Softsled, long time Media Center fans will remember the word Softsled the code name for a PC based Windows Media Center Extender app that Microsoft never released but was much requested. With live and recorded TV and streaming to apps you would have a very powerful TV solution. You have to think that Microsoft would look at adding recording in the future.


Even without recording at £24.99 from the Microsoft Store it is a nice to have addition to the Xbox One if and it gives you another reason to leave the Xbox One on HDMI port one.

For a live TV experience the TV tuner works very well, it’s pretty simple to setup and live TV to app streaming is very cool. So the combination of live TV from the tuner and an apps like Plex and the new media player almost get to the Windows Media Center experience on the Xbox One and if recording is added it will really be the system we want.





One thought on “Review of the new Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, almost Windows Media Center”
  1. 1. Add TV recording
    2. Make it possible to have multiple Xbox One’s sharing each others tv tuner and recordings
    3. I’m swapping my 3 x Xbox 360 + Windows Media Center with 3 x Xbox One
    Now THAT would be awesome

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