The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S still have IR receivers, will work with Xbox One Media Remotes

Xbox media remote
Xbox media remote (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Xbox Series X and S are the next-gen powerhouses heralding a new era of console game.
  • Both are impressive machines, but it was believed the several features, including the IR receiver, from earlier consoles was axed.
  • Today, it was confirmed by Larry Hyrb (Major Nelson) on Twitter that both next-gen consoles cleverly hide the IR receiver.
  • This means all Xbox One Media Remotes will be backwards compatible with the console, allowing for easy media control.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are undoubtedly impressive next-gen gaming machines, but Microsoft's newfound focus on power and pure gaming led to some concessions in other areas, notably the omission of an IR receiver, and HDMI In and Optical ports. This makes the Xbox Series X and S amazing for gaming, but less capable as all-around entertainment centers. Larry Hyrb, also known as Major Nelson, took to Twitter today to reveal a very sneaky piece of Xbox Series X and S design information that shows not all of those axed features... are actually gone.

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As it turns out, both the Xbox Series X and S still have IR receivers, meaning they're still fully backwards compatible with the best Xbox One Media Remotes for easy and powerful media controls. The Xbox design team very cleverly hid the IR receiver behind the Bind button present on all Xbox consoles for pairing with wireless accessories, leading to many people believing at first that the feature was flat out missing. Instead, we still get to enjoy the benefits of an IR receiver, as well as a cleaner and more attractive look for the Xbox Series X and S. However, the IR Blaster has been well and truly removed, meaning that you'll have to rely on HDMI-CEC to send signals from your Xbox to your TV. Most modern TVs support HDMI-CEC, but some older sets may not.

If you still intend on using your Xbox Series X or S as the hub for all your entertainment needs, an Xbox One Media Remote is a fantastic investment, with the best of them being none other than the PDP Talon Media Remote, by far the most superior option around, and at a surprisingly fantastic price.

Xbox Series X/S


Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • This is great! I was worried my media remotes would be useless.
  • I saw earlier that PDP has a new number-pad-less version coming out that's up for preorder on amazon. Also, since this was clearly announced now because of the PS5 media apps news, is anyone else concerned that PS4 apps don't just carry over and have to be rewritten? Because my takeaway from that is "UWP isn't dead" and "disney will build a whole new PS5 app but can't tweak the existing xbox one for PCs"
  • Oh glad to hear they are making a new version. I have a couple, and they seem to have poor response time. You have to push the buttons down for a while for them to register. Hope they fix this with a new version.
  • I have the same problem. Hopefully Microsoft makes a new official media remote. My kids literally chewed up mine, and I had to replace it with the shotty PDP remote. :(
  • Which means my logitech remote will also work, this is fantastic news.
  • I love my Xbox One Media Remote. Glad it will be compatible! Love the small size and that the keys lit without touching a button.
  • Kinda wish hardware manufacturers would get off the Line-of-Sight IR technology train and embrace a technology like WiFi or BT for their peripherals regardless of who they are... I own a SONY KD-77A1 TV which I have mounted to my wall and it's remote is absolute pure hot garbage - With no obstruction between it and the TV, just slightly angling it away from the TV and it won't recognize any input which is AGONIZING considering the price of the TV it launched at ( I paid less than half of that when I bought mine new ) AND the fact that the remote HAS Bluetooth but ONLY for the in the remote built in Mic for Voice Navigation. Same for the Xbox Consoles whose Controllers NOW all have Bluetooth connectivity so they can be hooked up to a PC/Tablet/Phone instead of requiring the Dongle for use with the proprietary Wireless System used between the Console and the Controllers. The lack of built in BT though makes it impossible to hook up BT Wireless Headphones, like the Surface Headphones, to the Consoles - It really couldn't have hurt for Microsoft to add suc ha BT Module to the Consoles for this to be a thing *sigh*
  • I thought the xbox one x didn't support HDMI CEC, or I'd be using my TV remote to control the xbox when playing a movie disk.
  • It does, but it might be limited in the control it can actually recieve.