In my quest to consolidate the devices attached to my TV, and cut the ever increasingly expensive cord from my satellite TV provider, I was excited to report last month a new digital TV tuner coming to the Xbox One. Hauppauge, a long time manufacturer of digital TV tuners, teamed up with Xbox to create the Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One, which went on sale in late May.
Not long after the announcement I decided to purchase one from the online Microsoft Store. The Hauppauge TV Tuner for Xbox One sells for $59.99 but I decided to go with the Live TV Bundle for Xbox One, which includes a Mohu Leaf 50 HDTV Antenna for a total of $99.00 (a $30 discount).
The Hauppauge TV Tuner comes with its own standard antenna to receive over the air broadcasts, which may be just fine for some situations, but I'm happy I ordered the bundle as I live in a multi unit building with thick walls. The Mohu Antenna, which is amplified by a power source, did increase the number of channels I received from my living room by over 100.
The TV Tuner is easy to setup. One end plugs into a USB port on the back of your Xbox, while the other end connects to the Antenna's coaxial cable. The process of plugging it in, letting the Xbox scan for channels, and setting up the pause live TV feature takes as little as 5 minutes. Finding the right spot for your antenna is the only part that can be time consuming.
Once the setup is complete you will have the ability to peruse over the air broadcasts through Xbox's OneGuide which provides listing, times and other info in a scrolling format similar to digital TV boxes provided by cable companies. Those who purchased a Kinect for their Xbox One will also be able to switch channels and navigate OneGuide via voice commands.
The TV Tuner's integration with the Xbox One does give the option to enable pausing live TV for up to 30 minutes. However, there is no true DVR capability for recording any show whenever you want.
One of the more innovative features is the ability to stream your TV broadcast to any device connected on your home network through the SmartGlass app, which is available on multiple platforms. It's a nice addition to be able to walk away from the living room and continue viewing TV through my phone or tablet.
After I found a way to connect the Mohu Antenna through my old coaxial cables up to a window, I was able to receive over 150 channels. But I live in a major metropolitan area and within a relatively close distance to many broadcast towers, so I might be in the best case scenario. And finding the right spot for my Antenna did require some trial and error, which led to one disastrous experience trying to watch live sports. But now that it is in the right spot, with the Mohu's power amplification my Xbox receives perfectly clear HDTV.
The Bottom Line
The Hauppauge TV Tuner's integration with OneGuide, and SmartGlass, Kinect, as well as the ability to pause live TV, is intelligently designed. It provides network TV broadcasts that are on par with cable or satellite, as long as you get clear reception. But while the Hauppauge TV tuner is a smart and effective part of an overall strategy for replacing your cable box, the tuner in itself isn't a substitute. The lack of full DVR functionality is disheartening, and of course this TV Tuner only receives over the air network broadcasts.
If you are interested in purchasing this as just an add-on to your Xbox One, and not replace cable TV, this specific tuner is an ideal option because of it's OneGuide integration. But if you buy it to replace other sources of TV broadcasts, carefully consider what you'll be missing out on. You should weigh the loss of certain DVR features and channels from your cable box, against how much you save by not forking over $40, $75, or $100 dollars to Kabletown every month.