01/10/2020

It’s the end of an era: When the next Xbox arrives this holiday, it marks the end of Microsoft’s big push into TV.

Microsoft’s Xbox has been losing to Sony’s PlayStation for a full console generation, starting in 2013. 
With its next-generation Xbox video game console, the Xbox Series X, Microsoft seems determined to erase the mistakes of the past.
The company’s Xbox division, led by longtime Xbox employee Phil Spencer, has been on a years-long charm offensive with video game fans. Somewhere between buying a gaggle of beloved game studios, the wild success of Xbox Game Pass, and the refreshingly open discourse about the next Xbox console, Microsoft managed to earn back some of the good will it had lost among gaming’s most hardcore evangelists.
And now, thanks to a leak depicting the not-so-exciting rear of the new Xbox Series X console, we know that yet another shoe has dropped: Microsoft is killing off its ambitious TV functionality for good.
—Brad Sams (@bdsams) January 22, 2020
Unlike the Xbox One generation of consoles, the next Xbox is removing the HDMI-out port — the crucial port that enabled cable boxes to connect with the console and be controlled directly.
Notably, Microsoft has yet to officially show the rear of the next Xbox. The image above was leaked on the gaming forum NeoGAF, and later corroborated as legitimate by Thurrott’s Brad Sams. It depicts a prototype Xbox Series X console, and it’s always possible that the final unit will contain more ports — possible, but unlikely, given how close the launch of the console is.
When we asked Microsoft for an official comment on the photos, we were given a boilerplate response by a representative: “We’re excited to share more details on Xbox Series X, which will be our fastest, most powerful console and set a new bar for console performance, speed and compatibility. However, we have nothing to announce at this time.”
Though Microsoft has yet to officially say whether or not the next Xbox will support any form of cable TV, it’s clear from the photo that it won’t support HDMI passthrough in the same way that the Xbox One did. Simply put: No port, no passthrough.
The Xbox One “OneGuide” is a service intended to show all TV viewing options in one place.
Microsoft
More than just removing a port, the move is the final nail in the coffin for Microsoft’s ambitious plan to turn the Xbox game console into the “Complete All-in-One Games and Entertainment System.” 
When the Xbox One was initially announced in May 2013 alongside the slogan above, Microsoft executives touted a number of non-gaming features: cable box passthrough, an application named “OneGuide” (seen above) that was intended as an interactive TV guide, and the creation of an all-new TV and movie studio in Xbox Entertainment Studios.
The reaction from gaming’s early adopters was as swift and strong as it was negative, and Microsoft spent the next several years slowly walking back much of its early messaging with the Xbox One. Xbox Entertainment Studios was shuttered and its projects were killed. Executives spoke less and less about non-gaming features of the console. 
And now, nearly seven years later, the final vestige of the company’s ambitious push into TV on Xbox is coming to an end: Microsoft is outright removing hardware support for cable boxes with the next Xbox generation.