Despite the fact that I use it constantly, I’ve always questioned Microsoft’s decision to stick an extra HDMI port on the back of the Xbox One. We’re in an age of cord cutting – people are migrating to Netflix and Hulu for their television needs, even as cable providers do their best to hamstring the video streaming service while boosting up their own offerings. European gamers have the official Xbox One digital tuner, but those of us in the US are still out of luck. If you still enjoy what network TV has to offer or share a household with someone with questionable taste in television and a tight wallet, though, you still have an option for enjoying what the Xbox One adds to TV without having to pay for a cable subscription.
In a post on the Microsoft Developer Network, SharePoint consultant Corey Roth explains how he matches up the separate concepts of cutting cords and using the Xbox One’s TV features.
While those of us with subscriptions are stuck paying monthly for our boxes, you can pick up a tuner for under $40 that will get you started. Roth suggests the HomeWorx HW-150PVR, since he was able to get it working. As a side note, this device can also function as a personal video recorder if you plug a USB hard drive into it. Note that not every variety of antenna tuner will work. If you don’t have a Kinect hooked up, you’ll want to pick up some IR Transmitter cables as well. These plug into your Xbox One and will allow you to control devices via the Xbox One without the Kinect (see image below).
Once you have the hardware, you’ll connect your HD antenna to it, and then plug the HDMI cable into the Xbox One. Then, just as you would with cable, you’ll go through the One Guide setup process and tell the Xbox that you’re using Over the Air TV. Roth says that in his case, the Xbox One did a fairly good (but not perfect) job of pulling down channel information.
As I look for ways to cut down on spending, options like these become more and more tempting.