UPDATE: Microsoft in the coming months will release a digital TV tuner that will turn European Xbox One game consoles into free-to-air TV set-top boxes. However, the device won’t be coming to Ireland at the same time.
The tuner, which costs about US$40 (€30), will be launched in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in October and will plug into a USB port to pick up channels using free-to-air DVB-T, DCB-T2 and DVB-C TV standards.
Until now in order to enjoy digital TV on the Xbox One in Europe, console owners would have had to have a cable or satellite TV set top box running alongside.
This would have to be connected via HDMI in order to unlock features such as voice commands for pausing shows or switching channels.
After connecting their free-to-air TV with the Xbox One gamers will be able to receive game invitations while watching TV, watch TV in snap mode as a box off to the side of the game or apps like Skype and pause live TV.
The feature will also enable see what’s on by saying “Xbox show guide, what’s on BBC One?” to quickly navigate directly to that channel’s listing.
The Xbox One Digital TV Tuner will be available beginning late October in the UK for ₤24.99, and France, Italy, Germany and Spain for €29.99.
We reached out to Microsoft in Ireland about whether the tuner will arrive here. However, a spokesperson explained that the technology is not currently supported in the Republic of Ireland.
“Unfortunately the device is not currently supported in the Republic of Ireland. Unlike games where you can create a single technology that largely works around the world, the delivery of TV is very complex and we are working through the various technologies and policies in order to make live TV available in as many markets as possible,” she said.