Xbox One, TV era over: OneGuide system will be removed in May

Xbox One, TV era over: OneGuide system will be removed in May

Xbox One, TV era over

We all remember how at the time of his presentation there was talk of Xbox One as an all-in-one platform that would involve the whole world of digital entertainment.

Microsoft, whose gaming division was then led by Don Mattrick initially framed his console as a reference point for all those who wanted to enjoy TV shows, movies and video games in one place. The strategy of the Redmond giant, as we know, did not turn out to be the most brilliant at the time, with many users who were interested in the console exclusively for its gaming features, and who, moreover, did not appreciate the mandatory bundle with the Kinect.

Since the original presentation of Xbox One, things have changed radically at Microsoft, starting with the alternation between Mattrick and Phil Spencer, with the latter having managed to give new life to the life cycle of the console and to effectively expand the US company's business within the gaming industry. Microsoft's market strategy now provides for a total focus on gaming, and it is for this reason that starting from May the OneGuide system, which interfacing with the decoders allowed easy access to television content and provided users with the schedule of available channels, will be permanently removed among the features of the known old gen.

"Based on the usage and customer feedback, we are constantly evolving the Xbox experience," said Jonathan Hildebrandt, one of the program managers at Xbox Experiences. "Speaking of which, starting in May we will be abandoning live TV shows for OneGuide on Xbox One." Users will still be able to use the HDMI passthrough feature on Xbox One (absent on Xbox Series X | S) or access a TV tuner, but the programs will be removed along with the OneGuide system.

March Xbox update ends eight years of TV features

Xbox will follow in PlayStation’s footsteps this month by killing off a longstanding TV feature. Just as Sony announced the end of PlayStation Video two weeks ago, Microsoft has announced the end of TV listings in OneDrive.

If you’re not familiar with this useful Xbox feature, you may not miss it once it’s gone. But if you’ve been using your Xbox as a TV tuner since 2013, your console is about to lose a valuable feature.

The information comes from the official Xbox Wire blog, in a post about the Xbox’s latest software update. Starting today (March 10), players can download updates for the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and Xbox apps in Windows 10. The big focus here is on compatibility for the upcoming Xbox Wireless Headset, but the update will also deliver some per-game graphical options, as well as an end to TV listings in OneGuide.

f you didn’t jump on the Xbox One bandwagon way back in 2013, you may not even know that the console had TV listings. Initially, however, Microsoft leaned hard into the “Xbox One as a comprehensive media center” angle, before settling into the more familiar “Xbox One as a game console, first and foremost” paradigm. 

The Xbox One was inseparable from the Kinect peripheral, which let you control the whole system with voice and gesture commands. Furthermore, the Xbox One featured an HDMI passthrough for antenna and cable boxes.

TV passthrough was an interesting feature, and Microsoft still has a setup guide available, if you’d like to learn more about it. The relevant bit, however, is that the Xbox used a program called OneGuide to process channel listings and turn them into a navigable interface. Once you install the new Xbox software update, OneGuide will no longer support TV listings.

While you can still use your Xbox’s passthrough to watch TV, you won’t be able to see any listings for what’s currently on, or what’s coming on next. If you enjoy old-school channel surfing, this won’t be much of a hindrance; for the rest of us, it’s arguably a deal-breaking omission.

While losing a useful feature is always a hassle, it’s understandable why TV listings on Xbox may feel a little less relevant today than they did eight years ago. Back then, you could hook up a digital antenna to your TV, but most TVs didn’t have the necessary interface to show anything beyond a channel’s name. Now, smart TVs can process and compile listings by themselves, without the need for additional, expensive hardware. (You needed a special adapter to get TV signals on your Xbox One.)

Whether you use the TV listings feature every day, or only just learned about its existence, the key takeaway here is that Microsoft’s focus now is very different than it was at the beginning of the Xbox One era. (Remember: the Xbox Series X doesn't have a TV passthrough at all.) Expect to see more gaming features in the future, and fewer focused on streaming.

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