Xbox Series X|S tests new features over HDMI-CEC like TV remote support, input switching

Xbox Series X The Original Dynamic Background Live
Xbox Series X The Original Dynamic Background Live (Image credit: Zachary Boddy | Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft constantly tests new features and additions to the Xbox experience weeks before public release.
  • Today, in the Alpha and Alpha Skip-Ahead Insider branches, Microsoft is testing brand-new Xbox Series X|S features.
  • The update enables new HDMI-CEC features, meaning Xbox Series X|S consoles will be able to talk to your TV more.
  • New features include being able to control your Xbox using your TV remote, and letting your Xbox automatically switch the TV input with the controller.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are in a constant state of improvement, as Microsoft works tirelessly to add new features and improvements over time. The Xbox Insider Program is picking up new builds today, as both the Alpha branch (opens in new tab) and Alpha Skip-Ahead branch (opens in new tab) are being lit up with new builds, both of which include new features for Xbox Series X|S owners.

The builds enable additional features for Xbox Series X and S consoles connected to TVs over HDMI-CEC, which effectively allow a greater level of communication between the devices. With the new features, users will now be able to control their Xbox Series X|S in the Dashboard or streaming apps using their TV remote, which helps mitigate the dwindling list of best Xbox Series X|S media remotes for many. Additionally, users will be able to automatically switch the input on their TV by pressing the Xbox button on their controller, which is useful for users with multiple devices connected to their TV.

HDMI-CEC is already partially in use on Xbox Series X and S, depending on your TV, and is also present on older Xbox One consoles. However, it's great to see the feature improve on Xbox Series X|S. For the best experience, pair your Xbox Series X or S with one of the best Xbox Series X|S 4K TVs, many of which fully support HDMI-CEC and can take full advantage of your console's capabilities.

In case you missed it, the same Xbox Insider flights that include the aforementioned HDMI-CEC features also include a firmware update that adds new features to older Xbox controllers, including Bluetooth Low Energy and Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) support.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • I can already control almost all features on the Xbox Series X with my LG TV remote. Not sure if the Netflix implementation is on mine though.
  • I miss the functionality of kinect ir blast... wish they would have spent 3 bucks to add an it blaster so I wouldn't have to replace my still working non cec tv.. oh well
  • Any word on deploying a fix for the BSOD the last upgrade inflicted on some older XB1s?
    The "bricked" boxes work but display no video.
  • Which update was that?
  • My Series X and my TV are fully integrated. I can use my TV remote as a media remote for my Xbox.
  • As I (briefly) mention in the article, Xbox Series X|S can use HDMI-CEC features with some TVs. This should more widely enable the features. It's definitely more inconsistent than on Xbox One right now.
  • I have no idea why but my Series X doesn't turn on my TV when I switch it on like my One X used to.
  • I had issues setting this up with my Xbox Series X as well (it does work for me, so it's worth going through your Xbox and TV settings again). It's definitely more inconsistent with what works than it was on Xbox One, but hopefully, this update will help sort things out a tad.
  • Thanks for the tip, I'll play around with the settings when I get home.