Skip to main content

Confirmed: The Xbox One will gain TV DVR functionality starting in 2016

XBox One
DVR functionality is coming to your Xbox One! But is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Much to the chagrin of the hardcore gaming community, Microsoft heavily emphasized the Xbox One’s television integration in its late 2013 launch. Sales suffered sharply as a result of that and other missteps, but the console’s prospects are finally looking up: This quarter, the Xbox One began to close the sales gap behind Sony’s blockbuster PlayStation 4. That’s thanks to a major shift in priorities — in monthly firmware updates,  TV and movie features have largely played second fiddle to gaming improvements — but with crises mitigated, the folks in Redmond are pivoting back toward the media side of things.

Updated on 08-04-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added details from Microsoft’s Gamescom press conference.

At an event today at Gamescom in Germany, Microsoft officially announced TV DVR functionality for the Xbox One. So long as you have the requisite hardware — a Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner (or Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in Europe and Australia) and an external hard drive — you’ll be able to record live over-the-air television broadcasts even while you’re playing a game or watching other videos.

Microsoft says you can schedule recordings from the SmartGlass app for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. The console will automatically wake up to record bookmarked shows and movies so long as it’s in Instant-On mode, and you’ll be able to stream those recordings to the aforementioned apps or any Windows 10 PC on your local network.

Microsoft said OTA DVR will hit the Xbox One starting in 2016.

Rumors of Xbox One’s DVR feature prior to its official announcement follow. 

According to Microsoft guru Paul Thurrott, the Xbox One will gain the ability to record live television later this year.

“The console currently only provides live TV watching, but not recording,” Thurrott wrote recently. “My sources tell me that will change, and most probably this year, to include TV recording.”

It’s unclear how the Xbox team will achieve DVR — the method by which the Xbox One supports live TV viewing, HDMI passthrough, has built-in protections that actively prevent recording. But Microsoft could potentially sign agreements with pay-TV providers for specialized access. A partner-by-partner approach would be invariably difficult and slow, but it’s one of few viable routes barring a cloud-based platform like Sony’s Vue TV.

Alternatively, Microsoft could limit recording to over-the-air content. The company launched a TV tuner in Europe last year, and recently announced support for a stateside equivalent supporting network bands in the U.S. and Canada. Unlike cable and satellite boxes, the adapter connects to the Xbox One over USB, which would allow completely unencumbered recording (it currently only buffers up to 30 minutes).

However it’s implemented, DVR functionality would make the Xbox One an even more attractive media hub than it already is. The console supports some streaming of live TV to SmartGlass devices, and last year gained a dedicated media remote for launching and navigating streaming apps. Updates in the meantime have added live trending programs to OneGuide, a “boot to TV” setting, and a media player with support for a wide range of video formats.

DVR recording on Xbox One may not be the answer Windows users upset over the demise of Media Center were hoping for, but it’s certainly some consolation. And with the incredibly palatable price of some Xbox One bundles, it’s hard to go wrong picking one up.

Editors' Recommendations

PS5 themes: Can you customize your homescreen?
A person plays Crash Bandicoot using a PS5 DualSense controller.

The PS5 launched with many features we loved from the PS4 missing. Over the years, a few have come back, but one that many aren't sure about is themes. These could be earned, downloaded, purchased, or come included with certain games that gave your home screen a new look and background soundtrack related to different games or concepts. This made customizing your home screen that much more fun and personal. However, is this feature on the PS5? Here's whether or not you can put custom themes on your new console, or change the background.
Does the PS5 have themes?

No, the PS5 does not have any themes. Instead, whenever you highlight a game or app on your home screen, the background will change to art related to that game, as well as show more information on it. While far from ideal, it is the closest we are likely to get to the themes we had on our PS4.
Can you change the background on a PS5?
Again, due to the PS5 dynamically changing the background depending on what you're currently looking at, there's no way to alter your background at this time. Since the background is constantly changing, even if you had a custom image, it would always be changing as you cycled through games. There are a few other ways you can customize your PS5, however, unless Sony gives us the option with an update, there's no way to set a theme on your PS5.

Read more
How to know if you’re actually getting Dolby Atmos sound
pioneer elite dolby atmos enabled speaker system review insitutoplogo

With its object-based sound system, Dolby Atmos is the most immersive version of surround sound you can get at home. Though it took some time to catch on, the format is now supported by Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+. So, if you’ve got Dolby Atmos speakers, a Dolby Atmos-compatible AV receiver or soundbar, and access to Dolby Atmos content, you should be hearing Dolby Atmos sound, right?

Well, as it turns out, no, not necessarily. To understand if your Atmos system is delivering true Atmos sound -- and not just really good surround sound -- you need to understand how Dolby Atmos works with all of your media sources and components. It’s a bit technical, but we’re going to make it as simple as possible.
What exactly is Dolby Atmos?

Read more
UFC PPV: How much is Edwards vs. Usman 3?
A UFC championship belt sitting on a table.

MMA fans are getting treated to two UFC pay-per-view events this month, with UFC 286: Edwards vs. Usman 3 being the second UFC PPV in March following Jon Jones' return at UFC 285. Since it's a pay-per-view, you'll need to hand over some cash to tune in. ESPN+ is the only outlet for streaming live UFC pay-per-view events like these in the United States, so if you're looking for a way to enjoy all the action online, read on. We've got everything you need to know about UFC pay-per-views on ESPN+, including how to sign up, how much it costs, and how you can save.

ESPN+ is a premium streaming service for all things sports, from MMA and boxing to soccer and much, much more. Since launching its streaming platform in 2018, ESPN has continued to develop a very close relationship with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and in 2023, ESPN+ is the go-to app for streaming UFC content. It's also the only outlet where you can watch UFC pay-per-view events online. ESPN+ is compatible with virtually all modern PC web browsers and streaming-capable devices, which includes smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles.

Read more