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More about the TV DVR feature coming to Xbox One

Now the dust is firmly settled from Microsoft's big Gamescom presentation it's time to fill out some more of the details. One feature that got some folks excited is the OTA TV DVR capabilities that Microsoft is adding to the Xbox One in 2016. We've had chance to see it in action in a closed (which means no pictures or video) demo and it's pretty much what you'd want it to be.

To recap: It will only work with the OTA TV Tuner available in select markets in Europe and North America. Cable is not supported and this should come as no surprise (licensing be hard). You'll be able to watch shows on your console, stream them to a Windows 10 device using the Xbox app, or even download them for offline viewing.

To record shows, an external hard-drive will be required. Microsoft has confirmed the feature won't be opened up for people to record shows onto the internal drive in the console. The good news is that unlike storing games, DVR only requires a USB 2.0 drive, not USB 3.0. The hardware requirements are less and presumably that means older drives will work just fine.

The feature also allows you to set up series links for recordings. Either while watching a show or through the OneGuide you can press the view button on the controller and bring up a small sub menu. It's here you'll find an option to either record just that show or set the entire season to record. What's also pretty neat is that if you've got your console in instant on mode, you don't have to worry about leaving it on to record your shows. It'll take care of that for you, just like a regular DVR would.

A lot of people asked for it and in 2016 Microsoft is delivering. We'll reserve final judgment until real people have it on real consoles, but so far we like what we see.

Update: We've added a small gallery of official images below provided by Microsoft to show the feature in action.

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Xbox One DVR

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Xbox One DVR

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Xbox One DVR

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Xbox One DVR

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Xbox One DVR

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.

  • Fabulous....looks like win10 will definitely work for microsoft
  • It will.
  • We have to see for phone I don't see enough difference from 8.1 to impress people who weren't already not impressed....:(
  • Difference: People hate Windows 8 ( low adoption). So no interest at all on a phone with that. IF people like Windows 10, maybe MS will have a chance with Mobile.
  • I'm hoping that will be the turn around. Along with the universal app system, that does seem to be getting promoted. 
  • And to top it off, I have an external HDD for my Xbox One! I'm set early!
  • I think you can add up to 3 hard drives to Xbox One. I would probably get a 2nd drive just for this if the DVR worked with cable TV.
  • Wasn't it 2 x 3.0 external support?
  • Xbox has 3 USB 3.0 ports. Of course one of these will be needed for the Tuner so that will leave 2. for me, that will be 1 HDD for Games and one for the DVR
  • For those who want to maintian the look of their XBox One, might I recommend you try this?  
  • Thnx for this :)
  • That's pretty sweet
  • Now only two left in stock :)
  • Now THAT"S a thing, if only there weren't so many negative reviews with it :(
  • Love it can't wait to use it. Love windows 10 and now the phones, and have been loving the Xbox one since day one. Microsoft has finally turned things around and is definitely a strong contender now.
    Come on and keeps things going like this Microsoft,
  • It's unfortunately in Zambia we don't enjoy this
  • Add third party cable tuner support, and you might have a serviceable Windows Media Center replacement.
  • One would think this is something of a Win10 app. Wish they would allow it on PCs so I can continue to have a solution for my HTPC. Not using an Xbox for my theatre.
  • You may want to check this out for Windows 10:
  • As long as they offer manual channel entry(like wmc did in the last major build aka fiji) as ota is night & day reception-wise
  • Not sure I understood....I have Verizon FIOS. Will I be able to drop my existing DVR? I dont like paying $12 / mo for a feature if it will be duplicated by my console.
  • No. You can only use this with the TV Tuner dongle for the Xbox One. Over the air TV only. No cable. Cable is a licensing nightmare. Especially since this allows you to offline content.
  • Licensing wouldn't be any different than for CableCard support for WMC, in fact it would be easier since the system is locked down. They could approve one specific CableCard box (Ceton, for example), get it certified by CableLabs, and you have a simple plug and play system in a box.
  • Works for that one market. What about everywhere else?
  • We already have this today. In the EU I can buy one device for tuning (Xbox One Digital TV Tuner) in the US I buy another for tuning (the Hauppauge 955Q). CableCard is US specific and is supported only by US cable providers, so there is nothing to license outside of the US. CableCard was caused by an act of the US Congress (TeleComm Act of 1996), and the cable companies got together to create CC to comply with that law. The EU has their own standards enforced by their own governments. I guess we need to blame Microsoft because the rest of the world doesn't support the CC standard? Odd how the EU has had a tuner for a while, and nobody in the US was whining about how it was unfair that they don't get tuning like is available there. But then talk about supporting CC in the US only, when CC is US only, and it is unfair that Microsoft is doing something that excludes other countries.
  • We have the same boxes in Canada but with cc disabled(though im not sure if its still used by cable companies to service major hotel chains)
  • I wonder if there is OTA tv in Athabasca Alberta.. Lol
  • I agree with where you are going with your idea BUT " get it certified by CableLabs" is the one problem that doomed Media Center from the beginning. The Cable Co's have their heads so far up their other end that getting something approved takes something greater than an act of God. Like Media Center and CableCard tuners the Cable Co's have no interest in approving them as it will take money out of their pockets. They can't see how it will keep them relevent but at this point they would rather keep a crappy cable box DVR rental fee and at the same time drive their customers away with poor customer service. It's now beyond explainable. Maybe ATT/DirecTV will partner with MS and come up with a better solution. Hey, it could happen.  
  • They did certify cable card readers for any Windows PC, it took them a while, but they did. And maybe that is what doomed WMC since it was approved long after QAM tuners (like the Xbox One tuner which is just a Hauppauge 995Q, I was using 990Qs for years before using a Ceton CC tuner). But for a device that supports CC that can be plugged into a X1, since it is not something that can be added to a PC, the ecosystem is locked down. And as long as any issues are addressed by MS, then CableLabs must approve the device by law. This would be no different than a Tivo, except the box attaches to the device rather than being built in. So as long as Microsoft follows the protocol, shows that they use the encryption where required (copy once), etc. then CableLabs has to approve it. No, the cable companies will not be happy, but there is not much they can do about it. As for AT&T, don't forget they once owned a cable company, TCI. They then sold that to Comcast. AT&T also runs U-Verse, and has shown no history among those two providers of being open in any way. Not sure they would have a change of heart with DirecTV. DTV has even shown to be closed off, one time wanting to support WMC, and then changing their mind and backing out.  
  • Microsoft made a billion dollar investment in Comcast decades ago.  It's too bad more didn't come out of that relationship.
  • "But for a device that supports CC that can be plugged into a X1, since it is not something that can be added to a PC, the ecosystem is locked down." But the XBox is a PC, for all intents and purposes, and soon will be running Win10 so what's the difference between the XBox 1 and a PC? Honestly all they need to do is strip the movies/music/pictures/DVD out of Media Center on Win10 PC, support network tuners with recording and streaming to the XBox1 and you make the XBox1 everything it should be. In the mean time I am seriously thinking of moving back to the 360. Anyone want to buy an XBox 1?
  • I know licensing is hard, but I wish they would just work with 1 or 2 cable providers for now. Get the ball rolling and show all of the cable providers that this is a feature that consumers really want. Also show that Xbox One is as safe as a TiVo or any other recording device and there's no reason for content providers to be afraid. 
  • Depends. Do you have an over-the-air (OTA) antenna, Hauppauge Xbox tuner, and an external hard drive you can use? Also, are all the shows you record on basic television stations? If you record shows beyond those channels, then you cannot, even if you have all the right hardware for the Xbox. If you are looking for a solution for your PC, you can use Silicon Dust's HD Homerun Prime. It has 3 built-in tuners and runs on the network. You must have a cable card from your provider. Not sure if Verizon FIOS provides that (is it cable?).
  • So, it appears some of the Windows Media Center PVR capabilities are being ported over to the Xbox. I like being able to record a series as opposed to single episodes. I'm excited to have the connectivity to the phone. Saves me the hassle of converting my current Media Center recordings to mkv or mp4 and copying to the phone. Two of the remaining issues I have with using the Xbox as a PVR device are 1) limited to a single tuner and 2) it cannot record to network storage like Media Center.
  • Honestly I don't want Media Center on my XBox One BUT MS has yet to come up with a better solution than the Media Center 360 combo. The addition of OTA onto an XBox One is so 15 years ago. Come on guys you can do better than this.
  • Are they releasing a digital tuner for the US?
  • They're already here. Check their store website.
  • Can I use a 16gb USB stick. And will the drive be for games and tv or just tv ?
  • If you have an external drive already you can use it to store both (USB 3.0 only). Games won't save on a USB 2.0 drive and TV won't save on the internal drive in the console.
  • No, it would fry your flash stick.
  • I guess playing a Xbox 360 game off a USB stick is not that demanding. Seems like a game would be more demanding than video.
  • HD games are just for games, right? Xbox does a thing on it.
  • can it work with sat coax ? i mean can i get nilesat/hotbird channels ?
  • "To recap: It will only work with the OTA TV Tuner available in select markets in Europe and North America. Cable is not supported" Seriously? lame.
  • They would have to license every cable company to allow it. Public OTA feeds come with a certain amount of freedom (and restrictions) for viewers that is not present with cable.
  • No they wouldn't. CableCARD exists. Microsoft just needs to support it (easier said than done but they did it with Windows Media Center soo....)
  • What is about licensing issues people don't understand? As far as availability, give it a chance I bet it will be available elsewhere as time goes on.
  • Write a letter to your local congressional representative and let him or her know.
  • Now they need to expand that to record more than one channel at a time. Perhaps, record two while watching a recorded show. (More tuners, please.). Also, make it smart enough to add extra time, if needed, for shows that run long (sports).
  • Did you get to see two tuners working?
  • This is what I need to know, only being able to record 1 show at a tine is no replacement for a media PC.
  • They need to make the Xbox App be able to stream games while someone is watching the TV on the Xbox One, so that I can play in my office as my gf is watching a bunch of crappy singing shows.
  • I think that is in the pipeline...
  • LOL so did you just wake up from a coma? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You can stream the tv to a device and you can play games on the xbox simultaneously. I think you need the digital tuner though? Not sure, but I know you can stream tv to another device and play games at the same time.
  • Coincidence they also announced the new 1 or 2 TB Seagate/xBox external drive at about the same time. (I doubt it)
  • Though you can use the newly announced HDD for this purpose, my guess is that this is merely two announcements that are unrelated, announced at the same event.
  • Probably a silly question but is the OTA TV tuner the regular one they're settling already?
  • Yes it is. Not a silly question btw
  • I just picked up a Hauppage TV tuner & Winegard FL550A HD antenna 2 weeks ago after dumping my cable provider (cough *Rogers*). Excited to see this feature is on its way.
  • Good luck it isn't all its cracked up to be if you live in central ont.
  • I knew it was impossible MS would be able to pull this off with cable and satellite, but just offering this for OTA is pretty crappy. So instead of all the headlines reading "Xbox One now Has Built-In DVR" it should be "Xbox One can only DVR if you use an antenna" There is a pretty big distinction there and a large variance in the number of XB1 users that can use this new function.
  • Honestly it's just about making deals. I would be happy if they just partnered with AT&T and Verizon for now and then tried to roll out to more cable providers over time.
  • It really isn't impossible. They need to add either support for usb cablecard or internal CC slot for the same, especially since they killed media center.. OTA is useless in most places.
  • I would be more excited if television was actually good. That's why I play Xbox.
  • AMC has a lot of good shows. The problem is that AMC doesn't have an app like HBO Go or Showtime and it takes a very long time for AMC shows to appear on Netflix.
  • This is awesome, but there isn't a single show on Network tv that I watch regularly.
    I do understand why it currently cannot be done with cable, but this is still a near useless feature for me personally.
  • Hmm, some kind of hdmi/coax to USB adapter could trick the Xbox one into thinking its plugged into an antenna and not cable box?
  • It won't see the QAM channels at all.
  • I wonder about dual tuner support.  I get OTA here in the USA, and I had to get two tuners for my PC to record all the shows I watch.  After WMC went away, I set up MediaPortal and it works well enough.  And although I seriously miss WMC, I am not sure I can justify the nearly $500 upfront cost for Xbox One, tuners, and external hard drive.  However, those that would use this feature likely already have existing tuner cards for their PCs, and have probably moved on since Microsoft killed WMC.  I know I have.  So I'm not sure where the market for this is since it seems geared towards existing Xbox One owners who also watch/record OTA using a single tuner.  That seems like a pretty small group of people to me.
  • Basically local news, sports and other network shows on NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS, and public television, some independents like religious and ethnic tv stations. Good first step I guess.
  • I haven't dumped WMC yet. The way I see it is I have a year to decide before I take or give up the free upgrade to Windows 10. In the meantime, I'm sticking with WMC. Microsoft stopped supporting it, but they haven't killed it. I have messed around with MediaPortal in the past. I like it. In your opinion, and knowing you're using it for OTA, in what way is MediaPortal lacking? I'm seriously considering doing what you did.
  • Media Center also started out with just OTA television support and they eventually added CableCard. Hopefully this will come sooner rather than later on the Xbox One.
  • If MS adds Network Tuner support to Xbox One (Ceton InfinityTV, SiliconDust HDHomeRun series), I would be happy and could upgrade my last 2 PCs to Windows 10. Until then, those two PCs remain on 8.1. I hope they do add support for network tuners after Win10 comes to the Xbox One. I use it mostly to record shows I am interested in, local news, and two local shows you just cant find online, but having to keep two fairly new PCs on 8.x kinda sucks. :)
  • I'm also of the opinion that one tuner DVR is not enough for me to change to Xone for tv recording, MC and 360 still outweighs the planned improved Xone with DVR. Still in despair.....
  • I likes this. I likes this a lot.
  • So close to cutting the cord! Now if only had FOX sports, NBCSports, and ESPN al la cart
  • Is that screenshot from a WP10 app?
  • Yes. The Xbox app for Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Damn I only have Cable available in my (Swansea) county
  • So would this work in Australia for OTA content?
  • Great! Dual-tuner support would be important for me to completely get rid of Windows Media Center in my home. Next would be some apps that will work like Emby/Media Browser which can grab files and meta-data from my home network. 
  • In Germany this sucks. DVB-T is awful, because there are only a few channels available. Only in larger cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich. are private channels available. Cable Support would be much better. Because of the missing CI+-slot you only could see uncrypted channels so why should it be a problem to record this channels (in Europe).
  • Microsoft Xbox TV DVR needs to support:
    1) internal hard drive storage;
    2) multiple tuners;
    3) recording from USB tuners, network tuners, Cable Card tuners, and set-top-box on HDMI pass-through;
    4) integration with Xbox Video app, Xbox Smart Glass, OneGuide app
  • 5) game streaming to pc/laptop/tablet/phone and watch TV on the TV the Xbox is connected to at the same time.
  • Yes but where is the dual or quad tuner function?
  • WOW, big freaking deal, I live not too far from a major city but, I would need a roof atenna about 60 feet tall to get even 1/2 of the channels(and this is just local channels)OTA. A LOT of people live like this.  Oh, yawn, let's get a DVR setup for 2-4 channels that I would never watch. Support Cablecard tuners and it might be usefull. Seroiusly Windows Media Center was a awesome product and still seems better than the Xbox one's version, that had full cablecard (With protected content), up to 32 tuners is possable, DVR, Movie library, streaming services and all the content could be extended to other TVs in the home with a simple 360, that can boot directly into WMC. With a very simple, still best in class interface. Something that could be as simple as a desktop/office machine as the PC (running WMC in the background) and using 360's around the home, or as complex as you want, NAS, RAID, 20+ tb of storage, Extenders of 10+ (5 in use at a time, unless a hack is enabled. They should still put Windows Media Center in WIndows 10 and maybe even the xbox one for compatabilty.  
  • As fully dynamic and polished as it is, Windows Media Center is archaic and Microsoft should have built a DVR app from scratch to replace it. Now that they are focusing on Xbox to be the living room entertainment system it should've been from the begining of release, cable card support would be the killer app for the Xbox one. Having the ability to download recorded cable shows on your mobile devices as well as the ablility to stream it live is a leap forward to what Media Center and it's extenders ever did. Also to be able to do the same on your pc will make the Xbox one the central hub or TV server that Media center couldn't be. The idea of having a dedicated box instead of a fully speced out pc just for recording cable tv and still have the same features as media center makes me think ths is a better alternative. Just as long as the xbox one is cable labs ceritified sign me up!
  • I have a four tuner tablo. Works very well for me. I wonder if the Xbox will be able to compete with it.
  • Microsoft needs to make a cable card version of this feature and allow xbox 360 to have access the same way it does for the defunct Media Center but a more modern take of this. Having the ability for offline playback on devices and pc is great but limiting DVR to OTA TV is a half baked idea especially when so many Media Center users had so many options in the past. There is 6 tuner addin cards for pcs and recent ethernet tuners changed the way to watch Cable tv, it's a huge oversight not to take advantage of these potential consumers. The obvious hurdle is licensing costs but hey if cable card DVR was avaible for Xbox Live subscribers only then this would be a reasonable way to cash in.
  • Does anyone know if the new Xbox One w/ Windows 10 will support the Xbox 360/MCE passthru option like the current version of the Xbox one does?  If so, that's what I'm staying on until MS get's their act together and supports CC on XB1.   That and the ability to stream games to Win10 PCs while being able to watch TV would be awesome.
  • Does anybody know if the Xbox one formats the external drive in a certain way? Can I still store other files on it or does it become dedicated to the Xbox?