Microsoft could demonstrate cable strength with Xbox One over-the-air tuner

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) may actually be doing cable operators a favor by adding over-the-air tuning capabilities to its Xbox One platform because it may reveal how difficult it actually is to be a Community Antenna TV (CATV) provider.

An Xbox Wire blog posting said that interested members of the Xbox One preview program in the U.S. and Canada can get the OTA capability by buying a Hauppauge tuner for around $79.99 at Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Best Buy, GameStop or Micro Center and an HDTV antenna, for around $60. For those who can wait, Microsoft is promising an integrated Xbox One tuner in the "next few months" for $60; the HDTV antenna would still be an add-on.

And while that sounds nice and competitive with cable service, it ignores a founding principle of the cable TV industry: using a personal antenna is not necessarily the most efficient way to receive local broadcasts. Even the Xbox Wire staff blog post conceded that not everyone will be able to access local broadcasts in HD because "every location is unique in terms of local terrain that may affect channel availability." The site suggested that interested buyers first check out antenna maker's Mohu's site for guidance on channel coverage.

Current Xbox One units give viewers more cable-like programming with on-demand access to HBO GO, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Comedy Central and Hulu Plus; live streaming from Sling TV; or live TV through a cable or satellite box. Adding the OTA tuner "means access to broadcast networks available in your area, like CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS, with no subscription cost," the blog added.

If the signals can be received.

For more:
- read this Xbox One Wire blog post

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