The Xbox One gaming console is getting a new function added to it, Microsoft announced today. As of this fall, the late-2013, next-gen, still-new gaming and media device will also function as high-tech rabbit ears for your TV.
Of course, it’s a little more than just being a TV antenna: owners of the Xbox One will soon be able to use their consoles to capture and stream live TV signals to their Windows, Android, or iOS devices. Microsoft made the announcement today during their press conference at the Gamescom event in Germany, The Verge reports.
All it takes is buying and hooking up an Xbox One digital TV tuner adapter. Then that tuner captures the signal, turns it around, and zips it across your home network to a phone or tablet running the Xbox SmartGlass companion app.
American Xbox owners probably shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for this feature, though. That TV tuner accessory that makes it all work won’t even launch until October. And when it does, it’s starting out in five European nations only: Italy, Germany, Spain, and the U.K.
It’s not at all hard to blame Microsoft for treading lightly in the American market, as slinging live broadcast TV signals around on internet networks and connected devices is still a bit of a murky area under U.S. law at the moment.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled against startup streaming service Aereo, finding that the way their tech violated copyright law and constituted illegal retransmission. Broadcasters have also been going after Dish Network’s stream-to-device service Dish Anywhere, but in July a federal appeals court refused to issue an injunction and instead allowed Dish to continue operation until a trial actually takes place.
Microsoft could easily argue that attaching a TV tuner to your Xbox is basically the exact same as attaching one to your PC, which is perfectly legal. So is playing back the video you recorded at home on a different device, like your iPad.
But court battles and legal arguments cost both time and money. For now, American Xbox owners will have to get their broadcast TV fix some other way.