Microsoft has announced TV for Xbox One, bringing a long-rumored live TV system to its next-generation console. Saying "Xbox, watch TV" will turn on live TV, and it's possible to switch between TV and other Xbox systems. The new Xbox "snap mode" can also pin things like Internet Explorer to one side of the screen, allowing users to watch TV or movies on the other side. Naturally, it includes SmartGlass integration, which allows it to be controlled with a smartphone. There's some integration with extra "smart" features, like the ability to watch a basketball game while tracking the players' stats. Overall, the system sounds much like what we heard before launch. A cable or satellite box can pass its signal through the Xbox via HDMI, then to the television, where you can choose to either use the provider's own interface or opt for Microsoft's own version.
The Xbox One will include all the features you'd expect on its own interface for television, including a list of favorites and a guide of TV listings, which can be navigated by voice. "Watch ESPN," for instance, will bring up the sports channels, while "What's on MTV?" will tell you what's on right now. A "trending" section" shows the most popular shows among friends and the Xbox community, as well as what's popular with video on demand offerings. During the demo, these features all appeared to work well — but we imagine having a voice-controlled remote will cause even more havoc than the Kinect's usual voice options.
Above all, we're being promised that the Xbox One social features will be truly integral. "Only on Xbox will TV become social in ways unknown to us today," said Microsoft's Nancy Tellem, saying the new Xbox would become the "next watercooler" for discussion — apparently Microsoft doesn't believe Twitter already occupies that niche. To heighten the profile of its television service, Microsoft is announcing new partnership projects, including a Spielberg-produced Halo TV series and an exclusive deal with the NFL.
Check out our next-generation Xbox Live Blog for the latest updates!