Gaming

Feature erosion watch: Xbox One loses broadcast TV streaming

This little-used Xbox One accessory will get a little less useful in the next 30 days.
This little-used Xbox One accessory will get a little less useful in the next 30 days.

Microsoft is removing an Xbox One feature that let users stream over-the-air TV broadcasts from a USB antenna to the Xbox app on iOS or Android.

Reddit user icecreamman37 was among the users to receive the following message from Microsoft on the Xbox One:

You may have streamed TV content using a USB TV tuner from your Xbox console to the Xbox app. In 30 days, the Xbox app on iOS and Android will no longer support this functionality. You will still be able to watch TV content on your Xbox One console and via streaming to the Xbox app on Windows 10.

Microsoft first introduced the streaming feature in late 2015, shortly after the release of Hauppauge’s $ 80 WinTV-HVR stick, which let the Xbox One (or a PC) easily receive over-the-air antenna TV signals. In Europe, Microsoft went so far as to release its own branded Digital TV Tuner in 2014. The decision to remove in-home streaming antenna support suggests that not too many Xbox One owners are actually using the feature on these mobile platforms and that Microsoft no longer wants to spend money supporting those few that do. Still, it’s always odd to see a console maker removing features from the hardware rather than adding them, as Microsoft did when it killed the Xbox One’s Snap multitasking in early 2017.

(See also: The removal of a Linux installation option on the PS3, which eventually led to a class-action settlement).

More than that, though, the move is a reflection of how much the Xbox One’s once-ballyhooed media functions have faded in the system’s value proposition. When the system was announced in 2013, the potential to change TV channels with your voice via Kinect was a major selling point. Now, the Kinect itself is a largely vestigial part of the Xbox One package, requiring a special USB adapter on new models of the system. Could the system’s HDMI input eventually share the same fate?

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Gaming & Culture – Ars Technica

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