Beginning in October 2014, Microsoft will release a Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One users in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The USB-connected device will allow users in those markets to access free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2 and DVB-C television channels without changing TV inputs. That means they will be able to receive game notifications and invitations and use Snap while watching their favorite shows, or even watch live TV in Snap mode while waiting in game for a multiplayer match to start. It will also take advantage of all the features that Xbox One users with cable television have come to enjoy such as pausing live broadcasts, voice control, and OneGuide integration with SmartGlass.
We reached out to Microsoft to ask about the possibility of this feature coming to U.S. markets and received the following statement:
“Over-the-air television reception varies region to region. A good experience may rely on antennas that not all households have. Consequently, it is more difficult to provide an out-of-the-box consumer solution for over-the-air TV in the U.S. compared to other markets around the world. We will continue to evaluate new technologies and future opportunities to bring over-the-air digital TV to Xbox One in other markets.”
That’s not an immediately encouraging answer, so don’t get your hopes up quite yet if you live in the US. Regardless, it marks another major stride toward the Xbox One’s mission of becoming the only box you’ll ever need to hook up to your TV. You can still go out and buy an HDMI-equipped TV tuner and connect it to your Xbox One if you live in the U.S., but you’ll have to wait (and hope) if you want this first-party tech from Microsoft.