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Xbox One TV Tuner review

Besides gaming, the Xbox One is pretty handy as an all-in-one home entertainment tool. Oneguide and the overall integration with your cable box is certainly impressive, but the key item is the cable box. If you're using free-to-air TV, there hasn't been any integration at all.

Until now.

For selected markets in Europe there's now this, the Xbox One TV Tuner and for all intents and purposes it's designed to provide the same exact experience as plugging your cable box into your console. Only without the cable box.

The device and setting up

There's almost nothing to it, really. You get a pretty unassuming, small, black box with a USB cable coming out of one end and a socket to attach your TV aerial in the other.

The great thing is that as it is so small, if your aerial connector is close to your TV you'll never see it at all. Just tuck it away out of sight.

Set up is simple and swift as you'll see in the video above. There's no trickery involved, just plug it in and your Xbox One will guide you through the process one step at a time. This includes deciding whether or not you want to be able to pause live TV (Hint: You do!)

It essentially involves telling it where you are, your free-to-air TV provider for your area and then letting it scan for channels. The initial scanning can take some time, though, but in our testing we'd say no longer than it takes a TV to do the same job.

Once it's found the channels you'll be prompted to set up Oneguide and then you're all set.

Oneguide and streaming TV

As with plugging in a cable box, the TV Tuner allows you to make full use of Oneguide on your Xbox One. And that means all the same channel listings, programming information and the mini player.

Perhaps the feature that's most exciting is the TV streaming through the Xbox One Smartglass applications. It's a great feature to have and gives you TV in every room in your house, basically. It works pretty well with a solid connection, though I did encounter a little jankyness when at the furthest point away from my Wifi router.

Other points to note

  • The Xbox One TV Tuner is only available in certain markets. Be sure to check yours is compatible before ordering one.
  • You need a good aerial. The reason only 9 channels were found above is because this review was conducted using an internal aerial of questionable quality. But it doesn't pick up less or more channels using the TV Tuner than it does just plugging the same aerial into the TV.
  • You may need to retune a couple of times to get all of your channels imported.

The bottom line

For around £25 the Xbox One TV Tuner is one of those impulse buy items that can really change the experience you have with the console. The integration with your TV is one of the consoles highlight entertainment features and now, thanks to this little black box that's opened up to the huge number of people without cable TV.

But it's limited in support. With only a handful of countries supported right now it's not the product for everyone. But if you can get one, and you can use one, it's definitely worth your money.

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.

106 Comments
  • So how is this better than the Wii u TV remote? Combine them, and you get an ultimate game console.
  • If you're such a big Wii U person them this doesn't apply to you because as you've basically pointed out you use another solution to meet your needs.
  • I have a wii u, and I don't have cable, it doesn't work either with my tv or the aerial tv, when I chose the channels it shows a blank page. Anyways, the wii u doesn't record what's on tv, and can't stream to a smartglass. I can't wait for the TV tuner to become available in the US!
  • +920
  • Yeah, really wish this would come to the US. Wii U doesn't work with my provider either, clear QAM channel numbers are wrong. I've actually never seen a guide that listed the correct clear qam number.
  • With the reign cable companies have, I wouldn't hold my breath. Set up a PC or Raspberry Pi with XBMC and the project free tv app instead
  • USA?
  • As it says in the article, Europe only at the moment. I have zero idea how American free-to-air TV does and doesn't work so I can't tell you it will or won't work.
  • Free to air TV has a different broadcast standard in the US, but Microsoft could totally make a US variant of this dongle. (And I really want one!)
    But we'll likely never see it because of American broadcast companies. "You can record and watch live NFL games on your phone in an easy way without paying?" *All of them collectively click the sue-Microsoft button*
  • I don't think there'd be much interest in such a device for Canada. Cable penetration is high and availability of over-the-air channels is low. Likely the more sparsely populated areas of the U.S. would be similar.
  • Wrong. This is the only way I would ever watch broadcast TV.
  • Your feelings don't make me wrong. I didn't say there'd be no interest. I said I didn't think there'd be much interest. The majority of people have cable here.
  • You do understand that it supports cable? Or don't you use DVB-C over there?
  • Read the article, and the comments that proceeded you. No, North America does not use DVB-C.
  • I don't know about that. Among my generation and younger (30-35) there is definitely a LOT less cable subscribers. People are coming to realize that paying $30(bare minimum)-$100+ a month to watch a few shows is insane. With Netflix, DVD seasons and iTunes/Xbox Video, combined with OTA (6 HD channels, which have the majority of shows I watch) that I can get with a cheap $20 indoor antenna, there is no reason to consider an expensive cable subscription. Since this is the same demographic that Xbox One appeals to most, I doubt it would be a bad decision. Why do you think HBO is going to subscription only required, rather than cable+subscription?
  • Unless you have a really high quality over the air antenna, likely one outside that cost about $89 and above...plus live in a large city. If you don't meet all those standards then over the air TV is useless, because all you would get is a constant no signal and digital signal not strong enough.
  • I'm in Sacramento, I bought an antenna from channel master, $20,gets everything. I cut the cord over a year ago permanently. Never again. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So glad my $24 mohu leaf metro can't read your bogus post. You are right, location matters. External doesn't mean squat. I had the metro in my basement and it still worked. I did ultimately swap it with our metro leaf that is on our main floor since channels furthest from me had some slight jittering, but now it has none in my basement.
  • Can you send one to someone in USA so they can test it out?
  • No. This tuner works on the DVB-T broadcast standard. In the US, we use the ATSC beoadcast standard. Quite incompatible.
  • My question is just support DVB-T or also the newer standard DVB-T2?
  • It supports DVB-T2 as well.
  • Some of the options in NA are tivo or if your not into that iView 3500TB(with modded fw). I wonder if you were to put something like a silicondust prime in between the antenna & this usb tuner it might work aswell
  • im using HD antenna on my xbox one.......works awesome!
    im able to change, screen channels too.....with voice! im using an HD digital converter that i got from newegg for $28, an so far it the only one that works with xbox one. i found this idea on youtube thru someone who did it step by step.....give it a try.
  • hahahaah EU ONLY
  • That's rather rare so time to celebrate ;)
  • Yep the first time ever :D. At least now USA people know why we whine about everything MS does. Office (including Outlook.com) is probably the only online service MS has available here the same way they have in USA.
  • Great bit of kit had it since UK release The HD channel's that you get are as good as Sky's picture quality wise, well worth the money if you want to watch telly on your XB1 shame you cant record shows, fingers crossed that might come in an update.
  • How many HD channels do you get?
  • You get 13HD channels Ota in my area
  • Wow. In Canada with our wide open spaces we're lucky to get 2-4 channels over-the-air in most places. Whereas on cable I get hundreds of channels.
  • That's HD.. SD channels Ota I get 150ish
  • 150? Unreal. I don't think the number is any different been HD and SD in Canada. It's a population density and topography issue. And it's common for people in the UK to use an arial, whereas that's long since not common here.
  • Yeah we get around 60 OTA channels where I live in Maryland, USA. About 1/3 are HD. I would pick up two of these in an instant if they were available stateside.
  • There's a surprising thing I had found out that some like ctv tsc still operate on a c band satellite now theres far few stations for that kind of thing then there are terrestrial stations
  • I live in PA, USA. I get 15 HD channels and 51 SD channels OTA. I would love one these set up for the ATSC system.
  • When this comes to The United States. I am upgrading to XBOX ONE
  • I have one, it's pretty good, would be nice if they added remote viewing and DVR function :)
  • My digital TV provider requires using a conditional-access module (CAM, there are slots for them in all modern TV sets). Is there any way to insert the module into the tuner or maybe into Xbox itself?
  • Microsoft should make a dual tuner for the US market with full function DVR controls.
  • Using a HomeWorx HW-150PVR at the moment for OTA TV on my XBox One. Works really well and with the addition of an external HDD I even have DVR functions.
  • That's what I use too and it works great with my OTA
  • I second this. I have the same HomeWorx box and OTA works fine with my Xbox One.
  • Same here. The HomeWorx HW-150PVR is also a DVR if you have an external USB drive plugged into it. Works great for a $36 dollar device (on Amazon) + $50 or so for a USB drive.
  • Well that would have been a heck of a lot more cost effective than my solution - Tivo Premier XL (I think...can't quite rcall) w/ Lifetime subscription.  Looks like the new Tivo Roamio is cost effective, but you get stuck w/ the annual contract.  DIdn't look to see whether you can purchase a lifetime subscription w/ it as well.
  • I have a question as I've never used one of these types of boxes. I get free basic cable (biproduct of having cable internet), do you know if I could still use this box even though I'm pulling cable and not an antenna? I'm pretty sure I can, but if hate to spend the money not knowing and definitely don't want to upgrade my cable to get a cable box.
  • Yup, it would work for you.
  • Con: Not for the américas.
  • This sounds awesome. Pair this with silicon dust HDHomerun devices across the home network
  • This is what I have been using.  Works great, but this new device would obviously be sleeker and intergrate channel changing as oppposed to using the IR repeater.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qt6qqNyJXw
  • Same device I have.
  • Since it's DVB-T, I can probably import one of these into Australia and have it work perfectly. That would be awesome. One thing I do need to know is if it's able to record TV shows to the hard drive. I use my PlayTV with my PS3 to do this and if the Xbox One with this tuner can do it my PS3 can finally go away.
  • Anyone know if/when TV streaming is coming to the US?? I'm guessing if you already have a cable box here, this thing would be useless, right?
  • America?
  • I bought one of these last week. It's an amazing little device.
  • When for America
  • When Aereo gets resurected....
  • Two things strike me about this device. The fact that the connection is USB and not through the HDMI input, and that you can stream the video to a Smartglass device while playing a game and not see a disruption to the game. I'll have to test that one for myself when it hopefully comes to the US, but because it uses a USB3 connection, the question fo whether or not a multituner version would work comes to mind. If they got a multituner version (say 4 or more) and added the DVR functionality to the Xbox One, It could become a really wonderful cord cutting device for the livingroom. I already have two Xbox Ones, and upon seeing the abilitiy to say"Xbox watch ABC" and seeing it automatically tune to the channel, my father got one. That experience alone without having to know the channel numbers is a huge step in the right direction. Hopefully when Cortana/Windows 10 comes to the Xbox One consoles, we'll see even more advances to that ecosystem.
  • This one issue here was what changed my mind from going a TV+XBOX to just getting the LG WebOS SmartTV. :/ I'm in Australia
  • I have and use it in Germany. Great device for me. Combined with the Xbox One Media Remote and Kinect Voice Control an incredible Live-TV experience. "Xbox on/off" command> Xbox AND TV turns on/off and other commands are just great. You can even pause a live program and Xbox One is recording automatically up to 30 minutes for you so that you can continue where you left. One thing though everonye should consider: You cannot watch encrypted Pay-TV with it.
  • Does it work in Ireland I wonder? Same TV signal type as Freeview but Microsoft have said nothing and havn't released it in Ireland at all.
  • Quite possibly. You guys even use the same wall plugs as us, right?! :)
  • Yep, the good ol' 3 prong foot destroyers
  • Destroyed my feet again just this morning coming into the office bare foot. I should really learn to wear shoes...
  • If it works with Windows Media Center, that would be great; but knowing Microsoft it probably doesn't; hell we still don't even have wireless connection for the Xbox One controller to PC, what a joke.    
  • Anyone know about hd channels? How many in uk?
  • www.freeview.co.uk/what-we-offer/freeview-hd
  • I get 13 HD channels in London
  • Ho boy, do I hope they develop an ATSC version for North America. Licensing is going to be more expensive, but with the dearth of quality OTA tuner options out there, I think they could price it between $40-50 and still get a lot of takers.
  • If they cut the smartglass streaming feature, any licensing coat would the same as all of the other dirt cheap, no name, OTA tuners. The only issue may come from streaming to a tablet, but even then it would be the equivalent to what Slingbox pays.
  • If licensing is so cost prohibitive, they could make Smartglass streaming part of Xbox Live Gold in the US. Everyone can use the adapter, but if they want to stream it over the internet, get a Gold subscription.
  • I paid $50 for my very unimpressive DTV box, so I wouldn't mind paying the same (or maybe even more) for something integrated very well with the Xbox that records and streams TV to my phone.
    Heck, make a $100 dual-tuner version so we can record one show and watch another at the same time. Still cheaper than a month or two of cable.
  • I'd get it as I refuse to pay for cable TV when ota is still available and I use streaming services. Hopefully they launch a US version soon.
  • We probably need to make out voices heard on the Xbox forums for a North American release.
  • I always forget to ask this, does OneGuide support indian cable?
  • Where's the flood of people whining, pissing, and moaning about this being EU only?!
  • This NEEDS to be available in the US!!!
  • also I wish could be or be made for the ISDB-Tb system or Japanese system modified by Brazil also which standard is used in many south American countries also .
  • Anybody been game enough to try this in Australia? Technically it should work but I wonder if it locks you out depending on your location
  • Love my tv tuner. Use it all the time.
  • Nice to know. Would you care to tell us what kind, how it is installed and what it is? Similar to saying, you like cold drinks and drink them all the time? Are you saying you hooked up your TV to an antenna?
  • What I am waiting is for the twc app for Xbox one
  • When will tho hit the US? I plan on dropping directv soon.
  • I'm really pissed this isn't available in the states. I cut the cord a long time ago and would love to use this.
  • now you know how we feel by all the us exclusives :)
  • I agree with soap92
  • Just purchased the homeworx unit. Will be cutting to chord as soon as i have it in hand and setup.
  • I don't think This will sell well in The Netherlands. Perhaps 4 Channels can be received.
  • I want one in the U.S., even if I have to special order it
  • It wouldn't work. Microsoft would have to make an ATSC version.
  • Need to know if this would work in Sweden..
  • Me 2.
  • Ah, to live in Australia. Completely and totally compatible with our market. No options enabled in our region by Microsoft. Thanks arsehats.
  • I think should be compatible with all the DVB-T tunneling . The spectrums used by DVB-T and both compressions MPEG2-MPEG4 H264, digital TV unlike the ancient pal TV may work in any country which be the same standard and same or different spectrum in MHZ, there is not an a DVB for France or for Spain if a tuner use the European standard must be able of work at 6-7-8Mhz and at 25-50-30-60fps because is all there in a chipset, in the standard pal existed variants so an Iranian TV was not compatible with a French TV broadcast but with the digital system got straight up the diversity
  • I pre ordered one, I'm watching it right now. But I have to be in UK region and set my oneguide to a UK post code. If I change to Australian region all the settings dissapear and I lose all channels.
  • I think should be compatible with all the DVB-T tunneling . The spectrums used by DVB-T and both compressions MPEG2-MPEG4 H264, digital TV unlike the ancient pal TV may work in any country which be the same standard and same or different spectrum in MHZ, there is not an a DVB for France or for Spain if a tuner use the European standard must be able of work at 6-7-8Mhz and at 25-50-30-60fps because is all there in a chipset, in the standard pal existed variants so an Iranian TV was not compatible with a Italian TV broadcast but with the digital system got straight up the diversity and only the RF connector can differ only
  • If Microsoft releases an ISDB-T variant for the Japanese and South American market (hopefully, the Philippines too), I would be interested to get one. There are countries where many of their viewers rely of free to air TV and the DTV dongle of Xbox One.
  • I might get this next year July - August, that is when my current sky sub runs out. I have a ridiculous offer that is too good to bail out on, one good thing that came out of Sky's acquisition of O2's Home broadband & landline division.
  • The idea is good but we do need a second version with smartcard support to watch encrypted channels. Here in Germany most of the cable providers encrypt every digital chanel and only analog TV is free. HD TV is even worse, private channels are encrypted on every provider. It also need's satelite support, cause most people use that.
  • why isnt this US???
  • What about connecting more then one tuner to Xbox? What about recording and seeing two different channels at the same time? Regarding the country limitations, I live in Denmark, what will prevent me from using it? Can you pick Denmark as a region during setup?
  • If you imported one of these would it work with NTSC or is it only QAM/PAL?
  • 1) QAM works in the US too. 2) NTSC/PAL is irrelevant. The US uses ATSC now and I think Britain uses DVB-T. 3) It wouldn't.
  • I also left cable years ago. If this lands in the USA I would hop on it and make the XBox One switch finally.
  • To all you people moaning about this box not being available in the USA. You can do what this box does NOW. As some have previously posted, and I've done myself, buy a Homeworx tuner. Hook it up to your antenna and to the HDMI throughput of the One. You can use voice commands to change the channels. Hook up a USB external HD to the Homeworx and now you have a DVR. It's as simple as that and probably a lot cheaper.
  • This is a lot cheaper then the homerun.