Xbox One brings Live TV to life with new Guide and more

Just as they did with the Xbox 360, Microsoft wants the Xbox One to be the all-in-one entertainment device in your living room. But this time the console is designed around that host of functions from day “One” as opposed to having them patched in later. Of course it will play games (and boy, do they look awesome) but like a smartphone it also does so much more.

Chief among these non-gaming functions is the new live TV integration. During the Xbox One reveal, Microsoft outlined some impressive new ways to watch TV and discover video content through the new Xbox. Seriously, the Xbox One will change how you watch TV – for the better!

Watch on the box

During the demonstration, Microsoft showed users watching a simulated live ESPN sports broadcast as well as watching the first JJ Abrams Star Trek movie – you know, the one where people can transport across the galaxy into moving starships for some reason.

We know that users will definitely be able to access their existing cable subscriptions and channels through the Xbox One. Microsoft didn’t reveal exactly how this works during the presentation (does it require specific cable proivders?), but the console will have both an HDMI input and output so that it can receive TV signals and send them to the TV while providing access to the system’s unique guide features as well as multitasking games, etc.

Xbox One Guide

Xbox One Guide

The first thing that makes watching TV through the Xbox One so cool is the new TV-oriented Xbox One Guide. It can be launched at any time simply by speaking “Xbox One: Guide” thanks to improved Kinect voice recognition, and presumably will be accessible without voice well.

The Xbox One Guide does what you’d expect the menu/guide functions on a cable box or satellite to do: list channels and content by time, etc. It’s the voice commands that distinguish this guide. Just speak the name of a channel and jump right to it without bothering with channel numbers. The voice commands represent a leap past what the Xbox 360’s Kinect already offers.

The new Guide will also feature a Trending feature, just like other areas of the Xbox One interface. Here you’ll be able to discover video content that your friends and other users are enjoying. It will be easier than ever to find new shows and TV to watch - as long as you share similar interests as you buddies, that is!

Multitasking it up

Xbox One TV Skype call

On top of the Guide features, the Xbox One’s multitasking really brings the all-in-one entertainment concept to a new level. While watching TV, you’ll be able to use Snap mode to browse the internet, make and answer Skype video calls, and lots more – all without interrupting the show. The secondary function appears in a vertical slice at the right of the screen. This marks the first time a gaming console offered picture-in-picture functions across the entire system.

Users can also switch back and forth between TV and other functions like games without the Snap mode. Think of Fast App Switching on Windows Phone or Alt + Tabbing on a PC. You’ll be able to hop back and forth between a game and show at will, watch a show while a game searches for multiplayer matches (Async Matchmaking), and lots more. The Xbox One will switch back and forth between functions virtually instantly, without the loading times we’d expect from the previous generation of consoles.

There’s lots more to learn about the Xbox One’s video functions. Expect Microsoft to demonstrate those functions and explain their technical details at E3!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Where is Halo?
    Where is Illumiroom?
    Where is the TV DVR Capabilities?  <<< That was a weird omission. 
    Other than that - Amazing... 
  • that is the TV Channel Guide
  • Sorry I meant DVR Capabilities
  • Yes, gimme DVR!!!
  • Same here. Completely dissapointed. I was hoping to rid myself of my tivo, roku, wii and blu-ray player with one solution.
    Looks like I'll be buying a Ceton InfiniTV 4 for my HTPC instead and just go with that as my one solution. Shame because I wanted to control my living room with a Surface and Lumia 920.
  • The Xbox One has 500GB of storage. Thats alot of storage just to install games on your Xbox. Im sure they are going to try to do that with the addition to controlling your tv.
  • I bet the set-top box is connected thru HDMI INPUT in Xbox One and controled thru HDMI or IR output. This means there will be no DVR because Microsoft can't simply go and record HDMI signal.
    Other choice is that they will have some ugly Digital TV box add-on.
  • This is just the beginning...just wait, we have more stuff coming..
  • The TV stuff they showed off appeared to be powered by Xfinity IPTV so I wonder which cable/satelite providers they are making deals with (currently there are only 2-3 providers doing it on xbox 360).
    I hope that they didn't remove Media Center Extender functionality from Xbox One (but I bet they did)
    Would have loved if this "live tv" would work with ATSC and ClearQAM broadcasts but I am pretty sure it's all IPTV.
    I know that the idea they have with the IPTV service will be great in the future but I only use cable tv for broadcast channels. I'd love the functionality they showed off and the ability to use the Xbox One as a cable box if it will actually work without me paying the cable company a fortune for stuff I don't want/use.
  • yes and did they explain any DVR situation?
  • They won't have to make any deals with the broadcast company's. It's probably just like the Boxee TV. It will have an internal tv tuner and just overlay the new guide on top of the screen using OTA programming or from your existing cable box. The DVR is the tricky part, check out Boxee TV on it's limitations, will probably be similar with the Xbox.
  • I am curious what type of setup it does require.  At home we have brighthouse for our cable and a DVR box on the main TV.. if i put the XBox One in a different TV that just has regular cable, will it have the guide features?  Will I be able to record as if it had a DVR? If so then that alone would make me preorder one.. So i can get the DVR in my bedroom TV.
  • My body is ready
  • Curious how this could work with antenna
  • its epic but now what do i do with the app i have on my 920 i keep it or uninstall it
  • SmartGlass will work with the Xbox One as well.
  • If your referring to the video streaming app, keep it, they will use it at E3 as well.
  • Oh nice, did not know that. I have already uninstalled it, but I'll download it again. Hopefully they use this app to make announcements in the future. It would be convinient to have them in one place.
  • They better have DirecTV support.
  • This... I'm sure they will though... 30+ million households in the US have it (myself included) I'm just wondering if I can drop NFL Sunday ticket for their NFL offering... Really curios about that!
  • You mean Directv better have XBox One support. I just got the genie system, but I'll throw out that sluggish tech for the XBox One on Comcast in an instance. Sunday ticket is the only reason people in cities put up with Directv anyway. I'll lose that and it comes to XBox/Comcast I'm the future.
  • My question is - how this is going to integrate with a cableco box/dvr without being kludgy?
  • I bet for cable tv and FIOS, cablecard support..
  • OT, but kinda funny :D
    Looked in on the verge and Engadget... Thought I'd pushed wrong on favorites and was on WPcentral...
    Every article Microsoft and Xbox... lol :P
  • Can I assume this is the end of Windows Media Center ? With what they showed here, just think what they could of done with a dedicated Home theater PC with just the TV/PC parts.  I have 12 tuners in my Media Center HTPC...and just think what you could do with a interface like that with using the current Kinect....
  • No news on that *yet,* so we'll see later this year, maybe at //BUILD//? Not sure. They have been known to scrap ideas though (Zune anybody?). :\
  • Media Center was basically abandoned after Vista. I love Media Center but it never really cought on. It was dropped from Win8 and then put back at the last minute. MC8 is the exact same as MC7, with the same bugs in it since Vista MC :(
    I just wish they would have fixed it so that recordings use the unused tuners first instead of defaulting to the active tuner and then failover to the next one (with their method it causes overlapping recordings to not overlap even if you have enough tuners)
  • Really hoping for an Xbox TV or Xbox media center (not for playing games).  Current Xbox hardware is probably overkill for playing video, but re-engineer that a little bit, add a tuner, and you have a great xbox media center!
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • what are the dvr capabilities?  
  • Nor entirely sure, but they said it DVRs your gaming, so at any time you can clip a segment and post it in the cloud.
  • who the hell cares about that?  I am talking about live TV
  • Not a very polite response, Christian.
  • OK. Let's review. I downloaded an app from Microsoft (live video player) for my phone so that I could watch the new Xbox reveal. The app didn't work. None of the sites had blogs or video feeds that worked well enough to know what was going on. About 1/2 hour into the reveal, I see the app has an update in the store. I update it. It adds the Xbox logo to the app name, but still doesn't work! Now the reveal is over, and I see the MS spent a lot of time telling everyone that the Xbox One will change the way we watch TV, but didn't provide much in the way of specifics. I can only conclude from the last frustrating hour that that, if MS can't write an app for their own phone OS that will work in showing their own reveal of their own new gaming system, the new way we will be watching TV and playing video games will be at a neighbors house! COME ON MICROSOFT! JESUS F-ING CHRISTOPHER ROBBIN! WHAT THE HELL?!?
  • Same thing here, I tried to watch on live video player app Microsoft own app but it didn't work at all, so I watched on PC , missed the beginning
  • I didn't have one problem whatsoever...
  • hey I think is is maybe your first release stream ever... The app update was already there this morning and it was working on my phone. The problem is you aren't the only person streaming this, the world is so if you haven't started your connection at bit before the event you will have problem connecting to it. I had those problem with apple events too sometimes or even nokia's 
    I was streaming it on my xbox for 50 min then lag and i had problem to continue the stream. I checked on but website was slow as hell... lol couldn't access it so time to hit the live blog   
  • Part of the HDMI specification lists remote control passthrough... Is this something that all newer HDMI cable boxes already have enabled? Is this how it will control the box and/or will there be an infrared dongle that has to go in front of the cable box???
  • Sounds like MS hoping everyone else gets in board with their tech without having anything nailed down... again. Hope I'm wrong but...
  • We are screwed with the TV functionality outside US for sure.... Gotta hate living in latin america
  • Pray or the UK aswell mate .  If it gets sky cable heck free view support then we are in business
  • Need Sky integration or a waste of time for me, well the TV aspect anyway
  • Looking forward to more info on the NFL stuff. As a FALCONS fan living in Texas alot of games don't play in my market.. It would be awesome to stream live games from other markets like Sunday ticket but for free or alot cheaper than cable.... I hope its not just exclusive interviews and press conferences ...
  • The integration with tv is fine, so long as all of the major providers are covered.  Will Xbox be partnering with satellite providers (Dish & DirecTV)?  No way that I am going back to Comcast, just to integrate tv to my game system.
  • If it means not having a crappy, sluggish DirecTV box that needs replaced after 1-2 years, I'll switch.
  • I don't have any experience with DirecTV.  I use Dish with the Hopper devices, and I am pretty happy with it.  Dish has DishAnywhere that allows you to stream live tv to any device, so I wonder if there is a way that XBOX could integrate with that.  So many questions!
  • Anyone know how this would work with Google Fiber TV?
  • Google making war on Microsoft leaves that question with a answer of.. "somewhat". Just a guess.
  • Satellite companies had better jump on-board with this. I'll be pushing hard to switch to ComCast if DirecTV doesn't join this party.
  • Since I don't have/need cable....don't watch tv...use primarily Netflix for movie watching...together with the fact that they say this new console won't play games for the previous console...its a no go for me and my family. I will just go pick up a blue-ray and I will have all that I need. On a side note. I hope they bring a version of the new voice recognition software to windows phones with either updates or with new well as some Kinect type sensor technology maybe...
  • What about games? TV and video watching isn't the only thin gthe Xox One has going for it.
  • I agree. I have a smart TV and a blue ray device, both of which do enough to cover all the basis. Heck, the TV even has cloud gaming with xbox360 quality games (works with Bluetooth controller). In addition I use xbox360 for all the current games and ps2 for the old ones. I don't think Xbox One is doing much for me here. Not interested in TV at all.
  • I hope this feat don't stay in U.S and gets wide world recognition. If they do, they be striking hard at PS4.
  • So you actually have to say "XBox One" instead of just "Xbox"?
  • I assume it will work with uverse like the 360 does
  • How does it work with uverse? I have Xbox 360 and uverse and I have been searching for some way to get them tow ork together.
  • Let's hope the cableco's don't screw this up by foisting an ugly cable box on us in order to watch tv. Sure, just plug this ugly piece of crap into that sexy Xbox One and you have tv. Uh ... you just ruined the whole point of ONE box dude.
  • Nothing officially official from MS but digging around in the xBox One stuff on the xBox dash I found the following thanks to Family guy: "HDMI pass-through enables you to watch TV through your Xbox. (small print) Supported television tuner or cable/satellite set top box with HDMI output and HDMI cable required (all sold separately)." So yes, the One will require Another box. No word on support for Media Center or access to Tuners that are on the local network but we can hope ....
  • I doubt this tv capability would function in canada with our cable providers but i really wished it would.  I would have loved to watch a favourite tv show with skyping with someone to discuss it.   Plus my cable box crawls at a snails pace which flipping channels and menus   
  • Live TV feature looks nice, but only available in US market, and not everyone lives in the US.