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No plans for TV picture-in-picture on Xbox One, but that could change

With the general release of the Creators Update on Xbox One, Snap mode is officially gone without a proper, full replacement in place. For anyone who enjoyed watching a bit of TV via Snap mode while gaming, that's a particularly tough pill to swallow. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like things will change anytime soon, either: Xbox VP Mike Ybarra has confirmed on Twitter that there are currently no plans for a picture-in-picture mode for TV.

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It's worth noting that Ybarra specifically calls out picture-in-picture for TV in his Tweet, leaving the possibility open for other types of content and apps. Indeed, the Xbox One is already using an overlay to display Cortana and the Achievement Tracker after the latest update.

As an effort to free up system resources and speed up the Xbox One interface, the removal of Snap mode has been a success. However, that doesn't come without its costs, particularly if you like to enjoy a little prime time TV while diving into a night of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Fortunately, Ybarra left the door open to TV picture-in-picture, asking that anyone who wants the feature to vote for it on the dedicated Xbox Uservoice page.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

51 Comments
  • Why take something that people already use (I haven't personally) and not replace it with the the new tool that is SUPPOSED to replace it?
  • This, it saddens me a lot as I did like to use this as my wife loves to watch TV while I game. Oh well, I do hope to see this updated in the near future.
  • Microsoft has done this since ever, they took away features and softwares without replacement all the time, the first time it struck me hard was with the discontinuation of Windows Live Mesh, that allowed remote access over the internet and point to point sync of files without size limit. they said SkyDrive would substitute it, but it didn't have neither of those features.
  • I thought I was tripping yesterday when there was no snap as expected but then no other option?! . . . Not happy with that at all.
  • It's cool because we have the People Hub now... or... maybe at some point.... uh... hmm...
  • Maybe they have data that shows people don't actually use the feature?
  • Agreed. Already up-voted the two I could find.
  • I didn't really use Snap because my TV isn't big enough so it made it harder to game if I had TV on the side. I would have loved to get it PiP, though, overtop of an unimportant corner of the game instead of shrinking everything. It's not the highest on my wish list, though. That honour goes to making OneGuide useful. I was sold on the vision of one set top box to do everything, then they promptly stopped caring about media. It got stuck at gaming console with siloed apps to do other stuff.
  • Yeah I see your point. In the UK at least oneguide is very supported. I have a Freeview Xbox one TV tuner plugged in via USB. And my Xbox one controls all the channels right there in oneguide. It's fantastic that I have just 1 box ( my Xbox one ) and can watch all the uks live channels. All through the oneguide. Which also has incredible detail for the programs in the TV list right there. And then i have the NowTV app for Skysports live right there on the Xbox to. As well as Netflix and Amazon. At least here in the UK, the Xbox One is far superior to Apple TV for example or Googles firestick. And even IMO beats out the Sky Q box and Virgins set top box for speed, features, apps and movie buy selection through the MS film store. To get even close to the options for media I have on Xbox One it would cost me £60/£70/month for Sky.
  • My xbone is still the centre of my living room but with each update seems to get just a little worse.
    When they added Cortana using your voice with Kinect to turn on and go to TV became terrible. You went from "Xbox on" to saying "hey Cortana, Xbox on" if you want to pause you went from "Xbox pause" to "hey Cortana, Xbox pause" which half the time she would not hear properly and you would be left with her snapped on the edge of the screen trying to do a web search (with snap going and her becoming an overlay things may get better here) You can disable Cortana and use 'classic' commands but a lot of new apps don't support them, biggest of which is Groove that fails to open with "Xbox, go to music" or even when you name it specifically "Xbox go to groove music" is recognised but does nothing. Its a shame MS gave up on Kinect and the Xbox being the ONE device for your entertainment.
  • No idea how people watch a show and game at the same time, you should respect the game lol. I did use this to have BBC news at the side whilst I leisurely browsed the store so it did have uses and will be missed by me
  • @Kyle Stilkey commented 👆 that he uses it so he can game while his wife watches TV.
  • I'd personally use it to game while keeping up with fellow members of the YouTube Gaming community mostly live streams.
    It was very useful but clunky and slow.
    So I was looking forward to the PiP upgrade, this is a huge disappointment.
  • You lot sound like my grandparents whenever there's an evolutionary step to be taken. Let go of the old and embrace the new... erm... whatever it is... and whenever it comes. Right?
  • Let go of the old and embrace the new... erm... whatever it is... and whenever it comes. Right? /s
    there fixed that for you. Also i think people would be more accepting if ms gave them more choice. Like whenever one of these ux updates takes away a feature have an option barried in settings that allows users to revert back for a version or two. 
  • There's an option buried at Best Buy called the PS4, and 10s of millions have turned it on. Since the Mobile Strategy team has nothing to do nowadays, they must have moved over the help with the Xbox Strategy. :)
  • How is the removal of features an "evolutionary step"?
  • What in $#&&# are you talking about? That feature was new as no other game console had the feature...Stupid troll
  • Pretty sure he was being sarcastic.
  • It was a little tongue in cheek, but I do believe in the principal that 'streamlining' is an actual thing and it may be that some lesser used features are going to accommodate improved performance and these sacrificial decisions are made all the time.
  • Use your tv's picture in picture feature. Have Xbox 1 in the background and picture in picture your cable (HDMI 1 or 2 whatever ur cable is hooked up to)
  • most TVs nowdays don't have PIP, and when they have it's only between cable/air and HDMI, so if your cable box is through HDMI (like virtually all here where I live and what the Xbox was designed for) it's useless because it doesn't support multiple HDMI as inputs.
  • Dish has pip on the hopper3. And so does my Vizio.
  • As the whining begins, it seems folks forget there are limited resources available on the XBox, or any console for that matter. Running a TV and a game at the same time has to stress a system that is really designed for one thing. Give me a solid game experience, that's why I usually am on the XBox.
  • Those "limited resources" handled it just fine on Day One. It's anti-consumeristic to forcibly remove features that people made purchasing decisions on. Xbox One has alway shad a "solid game experience", but it used to also have a solid UX too. Not anymore. They took what once was an innovative and unique system and turned into a boring PS4-clone.
  • Idk what console you got, but I get stutters after using the feature. Took seconds to load and then seconds to close again. Switching between them also took seconds. It's wasn't as snappy as it could have been like on a pc that has more power. I dont use it because of this, but I do agree with not removing features without a replacement.
  • This highlights part of the problem. You have people going on about it being an used feature, when in fact it wasn't used probably more so because of performance reasons. Which from all accounts is resolved with pip. So they've just out and out removed it, instead of improving it
  • All of those performance issues with Snap came after NXOE. The Day One version of the OS handled Snap mode just fine. I'd still be on that version of the OS had Microsoft not forcibly "upgraded" my console.
  • Way to go Microsoft. Screw people over
  • At least we can say that about Nadella, as much as he screws the remaining Microsoft consumer base, we know he doesn't have E.D.
  • Why should I vote when they will do the same as the OTA TV DVR? "We’ve decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10. We’re always listening to fan feedback and we look forward to bringing more requested experiences on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year. – Team Xbox" OTA TV DVR went from 2,000 to 2,100 and is now over 5,700 within 10 months. Top 35 excluding BC titles. Even if it received 10,000 votes, I don't think they will listen.
  • It's like voting in a Banana Republic, it's only there to make you feel better. Enjoy. :)
  • Ya, I still haven't forgiven them completely for that. More than half of the reason I bought my first Xbox was because they were dropping media center and showcased this ability. I figured "hey, it's working live right there on stage, there is no way its not coming next update". Fool me once...grumble grumble...
  • Sad to hear, guess time to move Xbox to HDMI 2 and only use for games, no longer my entrainment hub, switch is done, will switch to HDMI 2 when I want Xbox, will see drastic money loss from me now since not the primary device in my entertainment now.
  • Good ole Microsoft. Take something that is working, break it, and offer no alternative.   Sigh.
  •     Yeah, especially since the additional speed is abysmal. The guide itself comes fast, but actually selecting different options there comes with stuttering because each option's content has to be loaded from the web before you can select the next one. And once you go to Home it feels even worse than before. Store as well, you are still waiting for pictures to be loaded and that kind of stuff. That's no progress. I actually used Snap for TV and I wanted it to be PiP from day one, it just used a lot of space before and was still very tiny. TBH the whole "everything is an app" initiative of Windows starting with 8 and Xbox is just annoying. You have to wait for loading circles to disappear even for the most basic stuff. It may be good for updating the system, it's incredibly bad for consumers. Everything that was just there within a second now takes five to ten seconds to load.  
  • Kinda like android, wp, and iPhone. iPhone is just butter smooth compared to the other 2.
  • I always wanted PIP on my tv, I thought it was always cool back in the 90's.
  • What happened to my TV trending section in the one guide? It's been blank for months.
  • Yea... how is it a feature is obviously broken for so long with no one at Microsoft seeming to care?
  • Pretty sure they looked at how often that this is actually used before they pulled it. Of the 30 million consoles out there I'd be surprised if more than 100k (0.3%) actually used the feature on a regular basis. I tried it once and it wasn't a great experience. I occasionally played Threes in snap while watching TV though. By occasionally, I mean about 4 times in a year. Snap was great but nothing ever really scaled well. Works better on a monitor when your up close, but for a living room setup you just ended up with a lot of wasted screen.
  • This sounds like a soft confirmation that Scorpio won't have HDMI in.
  • How do you reach that conclusion, I don't suppose you can elaborate?
  • It's the Microsoft way. Zune, Windows Phone, Band, now Xbox.
  • I thought maybe he had a more in-depth explanation/rationale... I don't get how; "No plans for PiP (at least for now) = confirmation of no HDMI-in". "It's the MS way" isn't a rational basis for feeling no plans for PiP =  no HDMI-in.  
  • I wonder if at least in part this has to do wth the audio system changes to allow bitstreaming audio for things like Atmos support.  Supporting multiple simultaneous audio streams (e.g. from a game and from TV)  requires decoding and mixing the audio internally, which can't be done when outputting the straight bitstream. I was disappointed when I first realized that snap is going away, but honestly, it never worked all that great.  So now if I want to watch something while playing, I just run the video on my phone or a tablet here.  Simpler in a lot of ways and frankly I get a larger video "window" that doesn't shrink or obscure my game window.
  • Was looking forward to the overlay pip that was to replace the original pip...First the Galaxy S8 gets all the w10m features and now this...At this point I'd prefer they discontinue Windows mobile and put those resources toward making the Xbox brand the best it can be.
  • I'm glad with the new dashboard. Yes, they stipped features, but it's much cleaner now and finally it's responsive! Gone is the 2 to 5 sec wait when you click the xbox button. Gone is the wait time when accessing your achievements during gameplay. Also switching to the community feed and party options are almost instant. Also finally the bitstream is added (love to see dolby digital in my reciever display instead of 5.1 channel out).  I did watch tv in snap mode, while gaming and watching a football match, but the speed upgrade in the core functions is more important for me. What I really miss is spotify on my xbox for background audio.
  • I didn't use this, but it sucks for others that did.  And this update cause my console to "reset" itself twice with no warning.  I say "reset", but really, it just turned itself off, and stayed off for several minutes.  Once during the update, and once while trying to open an app.  Both times I had to unplug, because the power "button" was unresponsive.  I see no added benefit to this "update", and it still sucks compared to the old 360 dashboard. Between this, lack of empathy for W10M users, and a host of other blunders, I'm close to dropping EVERYTHING Microsoft in my house.  Unless they get their heads out of their rears, in the next 2 yrs, the only Microsoft product I will use is my work laptop.  They seem to forget we have other options.  Xbox can be replaced with Playstation.  WM can be replaced by Android.  And my home PCs can be replaced by Chromebooks.  They shot themselves in the foot with putting Office apps on the other OS's out there.  With Google dominating mobile, it gets their foot in the door for PC, and it's only a matter of time before they catch up, and Microsoft is business PC only.  Huh... kind of like their mobile strategy, which has worked so well...... Microsofts Board of Directors needs to wake up, and s#!tcan Nadella before the entire company gets an "update".  They need to learn a thing or two or 20 about customer service.
  • I won't even use this, but I'm gonna upvote it anyway for those who do.
  • The removal of this hasn't really sped things up. Seems just the same. Still has the same delay when going to start screen and opening apps. So what's the point of removing this?