Microsoft announced this week that it will ship a unique hardware accessory for Xbox One users in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK in October. The Xbox One Digital TV Tuner is a USB-based TV tuner that works with the free-to-air television content that is common in those countries. Best of all, it's cheap: About US $40.
"Our fans in Europe have been asking for more entertainment features and live TV through Xbox One," a new post to the Xbox Wire blog notes. "We're pleased to announce that Xbox One users in the France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK will be able to experience premium live TV features on Xbox One, such as the ability to access your favorite shows and channels with the sound of your voice through the OneGuide, with the new Xbox One Digital TV Tuner."
According to Microsoft, the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner will provide the following features:
Access to free HD TV on Xbox One. With the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, you can watch free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2 and DVB-C television channels without changing TV inputs. You can receive game invitations and notifications while watching TV and even watch TV while you wait for a multiplayer match to start.
Snap Mode support. You can watch live TV with Xbox One's unique Snap mode, leaving the main area of the screen available for games, Skype, or other apps.
Pause Live TV. You can pause live TV when you need to make a food run, take a bathroom break, answer the phone, or whatever.
OneGuide-based TV listings. TV listings will be available in the OneGuide, and they can be controlled by voice with a Kinect-enabled Xbox One. (You can say, "Xbox show guide, what's on BBC One?" or similar, Microsoft claims.)
OneGuide-based channel favorites. You can create your own personal favorites in OneGuide so you can easily choose what you want to watch.
Change channels by voice. With a Kinect-based Xbox One, you can speak the name of your favorite TV channel to navigate to that channel instantly.
SmartGlass support. You can access OneGuide on Xbox SmartGlass on your mobile device, letting you change channels, see what's on now and later, and so on.
On Demand TV shows. OneGuide's TV listings will indicate which shows are available on demand from installed video apps.
The Xbox One Digital TV Tuner will be available in late October. It will cost €29.99 in France, Italy, Germany and Spain and ₤24.99 in the UK. (About US $40.)