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Xbox One Media Center Solution

Posted on December 24th, by Shaun Merrigan in News, Tech. Comments Off on Xbox One Media Center Solution

Xbox One Media Center Solution

I have been learning the ins and outs of my new Xbox One over the past couple of weeks and here are some of my observations:

  • I like the tiled menu interface, and the look and feel of the menus
  • The entire system feels very fast and responsive
  • The integration of kinect seems to work well
  • No TV integration (guide or satellite/cable box) in Canada
  • Some games available, but nothing I am interested in as yet; let’s see what happens at E3
  • No Media Center (like the Xbox 360)

The last point is really critical for me.  I want to use my Xbox One for my own music, pictures, videos, recorded TV, etc.  In other words, I want Media Center functionality on my Xbox One.  This is right in line with Microsoft’s vision for the Xbox One :

“The all-in-one entertainment system. Where the best games, multiplayer, and your favorite movies, music, sports and live TV come together in one place.” 

Well, this is not exactly true at the moment, at least not in Canada with no tuner or TV guide support and no way to browse my own music, video, recorded TV or pictures.

I have tried to set up my Xbox One as streaming device (for music only) on my home network, but that seems hit or miss, and does not address any of my other content (TV, Video, Pictures).  The solution I have found is is simple but not obvious: set up the output of my existing Windows HTPC as the TV input to the Xbox One.   The result is that Windows Media Center becomes the TV input, which gives me access to all the live and recorded TV, music, videos and images within WMC.  Although this is not a perfect solution, it is a big step in the right direction.  I have to wonder why MS did not give the Xbox this functionality right out of the box.

Windows Media Center on Xbox One

Windows Media Center on Xbox One

This solution is very easy to implement provided you have a working Windows Media Center HTPC in close proximity to your Xbox One:  Just connect the HDMI output of  your HTPC to the Cable/Sat input of the Xbox One.  Then connect the HDMI output of the Xbox One to one of your TV inputs (via an AV-Receiver in my case).  It does not matter which “brand” of TV you select when you run through the Xbox One TV setup.  You will need to use your Windows HTPC remote to control the WMC in any case.  I use a Harmony One remote to take care of all the input and output switching and selection.  But this setup really works quite well.

Shaun Merrigan

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