HDHomeRun is a solid alternative to the Xbox One TV tuner

The Xbox One is a phenomenal piece of home entertainment equipment as well as being a top notch games console. OneGuide, built right into the console, brings your live TV channels right onto your console.

But OneGuide requires either a connected cable box or an over-the-air (OTA) tuner plugged into the console. But if you're thinking of cutting the cord, in particular, the HDHomeRun is a great alternative.

Setting up is easy

It takes about 15 minutes from start to finish to get your HDHomeRun up and functioning, and only requires the contents of the box and your PC.

To show just how easy we'be got a full start-up guide for you linked below.

How to set up the HDHomeRun tuner

Consistent experience across Windows 10

The HDHomeRun app available on the Xbox One is universal across Windows 10. As such, the basic experience is virtually identical to that which you'd find on your Windows 10 PC.

The only real difference is controller input versus a mouse. But the controller works in much the same way a mouse would, scrolling through channels, selecting, viewing what's on next.

It's consistent with its PC-based counterpart, which is a good thing.

HDHomeRun is a terrific way of watching live TV on Windows 10

The HDHomeRun app on the Xbox One also supports background audio, with volume controls built right into the main guide menu. If you need to switch out to another app, it'll keep working in the background, and you can still at least hear everything that's going on.

Viable alternative to the Xbox OTA tuner

Whichever of the HDHomeRun boxes you get, it'll cost you more than the Xbox OTA TV tuner. The biggest advantage is that the Xbox tuner will only put TV into your Xbox. The HDHomeRun will do that plus any other compatible device on your home network.

And since Xbox seems to have discontinued its own branded tuner in favor of the Hauppauge branded one, the price difference isn't even that steep. The HDHomeRun Connect costs $99 in the U.S., the Hauppauge Xbox tuner around $69.

The only slight inconvenience is having to use an app versus OneGuide. The HDHomeRun app is decent, but OneGuide is better, that's for sure. It'd be swell if Microsoft and SiliconDust could get together and get HDHomeRun integrated into OneGuide.

The Cablecard version of the HDHomeRun can be used in the same way as the OTA versions, too, though naturally costs a little more and requires a pay TV subscription as well.

The bottom line

If you're looking for a way to integrate your Xbox One into your home entertainment setup, then the HDHomeRun is a great alternative to plugging the Xbox tuner in for OTA TV channels. The app is virtually identical to the Windows 10 PC client, which is no bad thing, and background audio support is most welcome.

And if you have more than one Xbox in your house, it's a no-brainer.

It's mildly inconvenient using an app versus using OneGuide, and we'd love the two to get together in the future. That might never happen, but we can live in hope.

Download HDHomeRun from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • You can also use the built in Media Player app on Xbox One to watch channels from the HD Home Run network tuner.
  • Oooh good tip, thanks. Will add that in, did not know that!
  • How about satellite?
  • Nope. Works with OTA only in some locations. U.S. has a cablecard version but I'm not in the U.S. so I don't know the absolute details.
  • CableCARD option pretty much went away once media center was canned. 
  • What do you mean by "pretty much went away"? The HDHomeRun app mentioned in this article replaces Media Center for the purpose of watching live TV with this device, for OTA and cable card. And there are many other apps like Kodi and Plex that can be used also. There is nothing about Media Center being canned that makes the cable card version less functional than the OTA version.
  • The cablecard version works perfectly with the HDHomeRun app. It's a similar setup, but much simpler than Media Center.
  • I doubt that very much. I mean...Plex is just one alternative to Media Center. HDHomeRun is building its own DVR software and their free viewing app lets you watch all the channels it receives.
  • Updates to software have kept up with RS releases and the Support Staff are excellent. I have an older model that is local network connected for all of my PC's - up to 2 on different channels. Top quality pictures for OTA TV. Only 28+ channels in the Toronto area (;-)) for free!
  • A major benefit to the HDHomeRun not mentioned in the article is you have the option of adding a NAS or another computer on the network to be used as a DVR. The DVR functionality is available in the HDHomeRun app. So you can pause and play live TV, as well as play recorded shows on your Xbox One and other devices!
  • isn't that true only if you enter silicon dusts beta program for $60 otherwise you have no drm encrypted channels or dvr support?
  • Nope. Plex DVR is one alternative for starters. We'll be looking at that soon as well.
  • I think that is accurate. If your cable company DRM encrypts your channels then recording only works with the either the HDHomeRun subscription or Windows Media Center. The subscription will only be $35 per year once it launches. Plex currently can't unencrypt the DRM channels.
  • Dang I was hoping I was wrong. I tried plex, mythtv, and a few others I went back to running windows 7 in a virtual machine running media center, mce buddy, mychannellogos and server.wmc for streaming live tv, recordings, show and channel artwork and the EPG to kodi's built in interface and use the hdhomerun app on my Xbox and phone. Until Microsoft kills WMC it's the best free option out there. Hopefully kodi comes to Xbox one soon so I can ditch the hdhomerun app. Kodis tv interface is x10 better than silicon dusts app
  • Re: s13dayday,
    Yes, Windows Media Center still works. Glad to hear you set it up again. We have it set up in a Whole House configuration.
    Another great feature of Window Media Center is the closed captioning subtitles. I read on another forum that the Silicon Dust HDHomeRun doesn't have the closed captioning subtitles feature. Can anyone confirm this?
    Best Wishes
  • That is not true anymore. The HDHomeRun app has closed captioning. At least that's my experience with the HDHomeRun Prime (the cable card version). It even enables automatically when you mute the audio. You can enable closed captioning when watching recordings also.
  • For DVR features yes you need an annual subscription once it's released from Beta. There is a different between encrypted and DRM almost any device can stream encrypted channels because the HDHomerun Prime decrypts the channels for anything to view. DRM is a bit more complicated. Win10/Xbox app works with DRM whether you have a subscription or not. I have been using the HDHomerun DVR for over a year now and we now use it across our house on Xbox, Win10, Android TV and iOS.
  • That's right. The whole purpose of the cable card is to decrypt the encrypted channels. But with my cable company (Verizon FiOS), all the Fox channels and the paid movie channels contain DRM. But even with those, the HDHomeRun app is able to record and playback those channels. I'm just getting started with my HDHomeRun Prime, as of last week, but It's working out great! I bought a NAS to act as the DVR. And I've found that using the HDHomeRun software is the way to go.
  • try Tablo
  • Does anybody test this outside the USA?
  • I'm in the UK. So yes :)
  • Been using HDHomeRun as my DVR this entire TV season. Works great, but needs some polish. The only feature I really miss right now is pause and resume later or on a different device. Other than that it has been reliable at recording. Some people have a problem with their guide since it isn't the standard time grid format. I don't mind it since I never really used the grid anyways. I knew what I wanted to watch and searched for it to record. If I am browsing for something now, their guide is fine. It sorts by time, I don't care what channel it's on, it's the content I am looking for. Their guide fee will be $30 a year when they reach GA. Until then, you can pay $60 to be in the beta and have 1 year of service after GA. I do however agree that MS should step up and integrate this with OneGuide. SD has an open API, they could have full DVR and TV capability with minimal effort.
  • Better yet, if you have an HDHomeRun PRIME you can view all your cable channels on your Xbox One too, as the XB1 apparently has DTCP-IP support.
  • I was checking out HDHomeRun PRIME and it makes its case to replace DTAs in the home, but how would a standard TV be able to view channels if devices like Xbox One or Windows 10 need an app and Internet connectivity? In other words, we have non-smart TVs in our home that use Spectrum-provided DTAs, and HDHomeRun advertises that those TVs should also be able to access Prime's signal...but how would that work if they don't have built-in Internet connectivity?