Bridging the Gap with Hauppauge
In the late 90s, Microsoft had the reputation of being an anti-competitive bully that stifled innovation. They were, in a lot of ways, just like the cable companies of today. But in the last 15 years Microsoft has turned away from monopolies and instead focused their attention innovation, many of which have helped usher in the cord cutting revolution; like the Xbox.
All-in-one Media Center
Although nothing quite compares to gaming on the PC, the Xbox One has become much more than a gaming machine. Not only can you play the latest and greatest gaming titles, but you can also watch Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, listen to music, or purchase and download movies for later. Instead of being the gaming platform we’ve come to expect, the Xbox One has more or less become an all-in-one media center.
All-in-one Cord Cutting Solution
In fact, with just a few modifications you can now upgrade the Xbox One from an all-in-one media center to an all-in-one cord cutting solution.
Here’s how you do it:
You are going to need three things; an Xbox One, an over-the-air antenna, and a Hauppauge TV tuner card. While the Xbox One makes a great media center, it lacks the ability to play over-the-air television; which leaves out a huge swath of television.
Don’t get me wrong, I love streaming television; but I also like live television as well. I don’t want to have to wait for the next day to watch The Flash on Hulu; I want to watch it when it airs. And I definitely want my Sunday Football Live if at all possible. Luckily for us, there is a solution and this little flaw can be easily fix.
Hauppauge TV Tuner
Using the Hauppauge TV tuner, you can enable your Xbox One to connect with your over-the-air antenna. Making this little change to your Xbox One will open you up to untold possibilities; DVR functionality, the ability to stream to any device, and more.
The One Guide
As an extra bonus, when you hook up your antenna and tuner to your Xbox One, the device will scan and find all the stations / channels that are available in HD. Once the scanning is complete, the Xbox will update what is called a “One Guide”, providing show times and descriptions.
Xbox One OTA DVR
As for the DVR options, when you connect an Antenna to your Xbox One, you are given the option to pause live programming for up to 30 minutes. This is a must have for anyone who hates commercials or simply needs to pause their favorite shows from time to time.
Can you use the Xbox One as a true DVR? No, unfortunately not at this time. Or at least I have not found a way to do it. If you happen to know a way to accomplish this please share the knowledge in the comments section. What I will say, is to be a bit patient.. as I expect Microsoft to offer this feature very soon.
Multiple Device Streaming
In most situations an antenna will only allow you to watch it’s broadcast on the TV you have it hooked up to. However, when you run the antenna signal through the Hauppauge Tuner and Xbox One, you can then stream live content to your mobile devices using an app called Xbox Smartglass. So as an example, if you need to get some house cleaning done on Football Sunday, you can stream the signal to your phone, and work around the house while you watch.
Over-the-Air Antennas by Mohu
As far as antennas go, there are a countless of models to choose from; but perhaps the best designed, and most popular antennas are the ones made by Mohu. With a background in designing military antennas, Mohu has used their experience to create a ridiculously small antenna that can deliver 1080i HD picture while staying out of the line of sight.
How Much will all this Cost?
Now let’s talk about price. Your brand new Xbox One is going to cost on average $350 (Amazon pricing). You can purchase a cheaper refurbished Xbox; but let’s assume you want something new.
For the Mohu Antenna and Hauppauge TV Tuner, Microsoft has a bundle deal for the two for $99; which is $30 cheaper than purchasing them separately.
One thing to keep in mind however is that this deal only offers the Leaf Indoor Antenna. And as I have stated in previous articles it is always better to use an Outdoor Antenna when possible. To purchase these devices separately see below:
Adding everything up, the final cost of your all-in-one cord cutting solution is $450 – $550 (depending on the type of Antenna you purchase). Now some may balk at that price, but when you break it down it’s an incredible deal.
Let’s start with the obvious; $450 now is far cheaper than the thousands of dollars you’ll spend on cable television this year.
Second, there are a few extra devices that are being absorbed by the Xbox One. A DVD player capable of playing HD is going to run you at least $50; maybe more. A streaming device will also cost you at least $60-$100. If you want a media center, you’ll spend another $100; and that’s if you just buy an old computer.
Finally, you’ll be confronted with the fact that you still need a device to play games on; and even a decent gaming PC will still run you $500. The bottom line is that if you want a complete cord cutting solution; the Xbox One and Mohu/Hauppauge combo is your best bet, hands down.