Updated March 31, 2020: Astro Gaming confirmed to multiple users on Reddit that it was working with Microsoft to make its headsets compatible through USB.
Yesterday, Microsoft blew the lid off the Xbox Series X, giving us a deeper look into the console than ever before (while also confirming the majority of our previous leaks). The Xbox Series X will sport 12TF of graphical computational power, atop some powerful storage enhancements, ray tracing technology, and much more.
A while back, a bunch of photos leaked giving us a proper look at the ports on the Xbox Series X, although there was some confusion over what some of them were. Now we know the long strip is for expansion cards, but we've also learned that the prototype ports weren't final. In a bad way.
Some users noticed in today's footage of the Xbox Series X that the SPDIF optical audio port was missing on some of the pictures. We reached out to Microsoft for comment, and a spokesperson confirmed to us that indeed, the SPDIF optical audio port will not be available on the retail units.
No. Xbox Series X will include ports for Networking (Ethernet), HDMI out, Seagate Storage Expansion Card and three USB 3.1 ports.
We also asked if the Xbox Series X will feature an IR Blaster, given that some accessories like the Xbox Media Remote use the IR Blaster to send commands to compatible television sets. Unfortunately, Microsoft confirmed that this too, has been removed. Microsoft will opt for HDMI-CEC controls instead for the Xbox Media Remote. HDMI-CEC stands for "Consumer Electronics Control," and allows devices to send signals over a HDMI connection for things like power and volume control. Different TV manufacturers use a variety of different names and brands to describe HDMI-CEC, but most modern sets are capable of using it.
For those of us with speaker systems and headsets that have SPDIF optical audio connections such as the Astro A50 wireless dock and certain audio controllers, it looks like our headsets and accessories won't work with the Xbox Series X, despite Microsoft's prior statements that all existing accessories will be compatible. There's a chance some of them could be updated via firmware to work via USB instead, as many of them have PC configurations designed to work that way instead, but it remains to be seen whether or not manufacturers will offer those capabilities as an alternative.
Microsoft probably has data that only a small portion of users were utilizing the IR Blaster and the SPDIF port on the Xbox One consoles, leading to their ultimate demise. Removing them may shed a few pennies off the final cost of the Xbox Series X, but it's a bit sucky if you're someone who picked up a SPDIF device hoping it would be forwards compatible.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Review: Surface Pro X (2020) gets a tiny processor bump, but fresh colors
Microsoft's Surface Pro X (2020) now features new color options and a slightly faster processor. What does that mean in terms of overall improvement in performance? Not a whole lot. But luckily, Surface Pro X still has an unmatched design and feature set that makes it utterly unique. Here is our full review.
These great Thunderbolt 3 docks turn your laptop into a desktop
Looking to make the most of your super-fast Thunderbolt 3 connection? The CalDigit TS3 Plus is our top pick thanks to plenty of ports and solid construction, but there are a bunch of other options that might better suit your needs.
Join us LIVE for the Windows Central Video Podcast today at 3:30PM ET
We're LIVE with the Windows Central Video Podcast today at 3:30pm ET, make sure you're there!
Best Xbox Series X, Series S Accessories 2020
Are you grabbing an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S? These are the most essential accessories you need to complete the experience.