Although it is easy to think of Xbox One as a standalone gaming platform, it is possible to use Xbox One to control your home theatre system. For example, Xbox One can automatically power up or power down your TV and other components, and you can watch TV right through the Xbox One console. Now I will show you how to make it all work.
How does It Work?
Before I show you how to use the Xbox One to control your home theater setup, you might be curious to know how it is possible for Xbox One to control external devices such as your television or your satellite receiver. The Kinect sensor includes an infrared emitter, much like those found in universal remote controls. When properly configured, Kinect can control your home theater devices by remote.
The HDMI Pass-Through Port
One more thing that you need to know before I show you how the setup process works is that the Xbox One is equipped with an HDMI pass-through port. If you plan to watch television through the Xbox One, you need to route the HDMI output from your cable or satellite receiver into the Xbox One’s HDMI pass-through port.
The Device Configuration Process
The first step in the configuration process is to make Xbox One recognize your home theatre hardware. To do so, navigate from the Xbox One home screen to My Games and Apps | Settings | TV & OneGuide.
When you arrive at the TV & OneGuide Settings screen, select the Devices option. Upon doing so, you will be taken to the Devices screen. This is where you make Xbox One aware of the devices that are in use in your home theatre system.
The first thing that you need to configure is your TV model. To do so, select the TV Model option. Upon doing so, you will be prompted to select your TV’s manufacturer from a list. When you are done, click Next, and you see a prompt asking you if you want to automatically set up your TV, or if you want to manually enter the TV model. Unless you have the model number handy, it’s a good idea to try the automatic configuration option.
If you choose the automatic configuration option, Xbox One attempts to mute your TV as a way of testing to see if it can properly communicate with the TV. If the test works, you can move on to the next step. If the test fails, you may have to manually enter the television model.
When you have made Xbox One aware of your television, you need to make it aware of your cable or satellite receiver. To do so, choose the Cable or Satellite Box Model option. Upon doing so, you will be taken to a screen that asks you to use your Xbox One controller to type in the receiver brand. After doing so, you again have the opportunity to either manually enter a receiver model or to have Xbox One attempt an automatic configuration. If you choose to perform an automatic configuration, the Xbox One attempts to change channels as a way of verifying that it can control the receiver.
The last device that you need to set up is the audio receiver. You have to perform this step only if your Xbox One is connected to a home theatre receiver. To configure the audio receiver, choose the Audio Receiver Model option.
Upon doing so, you see the now familiar screen asking you to enter the device’s manufacturer. Unfortunately, there is no automatic configuration option for the audio receiver. You have to enter the model number. (Although you may get away with entering only the first few letters.) The odd thing about this process is that even after you enter a model number, Xbox One makes you scroll through a list to choose your device model. Furthermore, Xbox One doesn’t do anything to verify that it can control the audio receiver.
The next thing that you need to do is to configure OneGuide. OneGuide is a feature that displays a guide (similar to your cable or satellite guide) through the Xbox One console. OneGuide makes it possible to select programming.
To configure OneGuide, navigate from the Xbox One home screen to My Games and Apps | Settings | TV & OneGuide. When you arrive at the TV & OneGuide screen, choose the OneGuide option. On the following screen, choose the TV Lineup option. Upon doing so, you will be prompted to enter your ZIP code. The following screen asks you to choose your TV provider. (The list is based on the providers that service your ZIP code.)
Technically, these are the only steps necessary to complete the OneGuide configuration. However, the OneGuide configuration screen does contain an option that you can use to hide duplicate standard definition channels if you like.
One more thing that you can do from the TV & OneGuide Settings screen is to configure power settings for your devices. To do so, choose the Power Settings option. You can now see options to have Xbox One turn your devices on and off automatically. Xbox One is configured by default to turn on your devices when Kinect hears the Xbox On command, but you can use a series of check boxes to automatically turn off your TV, cable or satellite receiver, and audio receiver when the Xbox Turn Off command is given.
As I alluded to in the previous section, there are a number of voice commands that you can use to interact with your home theatre system. Some of the more useful commands include
- Xbox Watch TV
- Xbox Watch (channel)
- Xbox Show Guide
- Xbox One Guide
- Xbox Mute
- Xbox Unmute
- Xbox Volume Up
- Xbox Volume Down
As you can see, Xbox One is designed to be more than just a gaming console. You can use it to watch television, and you can even use the Snap feature to watch TV while you are playing a game. Don’t throw away your cable or satellite remote yet, though. One thing that Xbox One can’t do is provide access to your DVR.