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Microsoft Xbox Courts Cord-Cutters with Broadcast-TV Tuner

Microsoft’s latest innovation for its Xbox One videogame console: rabbit ears.

The tech giant, in a back-to-the-future move, has launched an over-the-air digital TV tuner and antenna option that lets users funnel free broadcast television programming to their big-screen HDTVs via their Xbox One devices.

Starting Wednesday, Xbox One customers in the U.S. and Canada can buy the Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for the console, which provides access to broadcast networks in their local area. Microsoft is selling the tuner bundled with a Mohu DTV antenna for $100. For those who already have an antenna, the Hauppauge tuner for Xbox One is available for $59.99 from Microsoft and Amazon.com.

See More: Cord-Cutting Alert: Pay-TV Business Declines for First Time During Q1

Microsoft’s strategy has been to cultivate Xbox as the singular entertainment hub in the home — so, the thinking is, adding the ability to watch free, over-the-air broadcast TV will be appealing to the youth-skewing customer base.

Xbox One already provides a slew of TV-viewing options, including access to Netflix, Dish Network’s Sling TV, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and more. Users also can configure their Xbox One to access cable or satellite TV set-tops.

Microsoft said the Hauppauge TV Tuner for Xbox One, coupled with an HDTV antenna, provides features including pausing up to 30 minutes of live TV; watching TV on the right side of the screen while playing games; and navigating channels using the Xbox Kinect voice controls. Additionally, users can stream over-the-air TV to other devices within the home using the Xbox app on Windows 10 devices or the Xbox One SmartGlass app on Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android, even while someone else is playing a game on Xbox One.

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