Gaming Windows Media Center

Using the Xbox One with Windows Media Center

The Xbox One is finally here, and we’ve had time to setup with a Windows Media Center PC. You can watch our video walk through of the features below. At a high level we can definitely say that Windows Media Center does work with Xbox One’s TV features, but we wouldn’t give it much more praise that just working. One of the problems is that Windows Media Center isn’t always sending live TV out through its HDMI port in the way that most cable boxes operate. When using a Media Center setup you often end up stopping the live TV, and that really throws a wrench into things. We never really expected to be able to use Windows Media Center through an Xbox One without needing to grab a remote control, but you may need it even more than you had originally planned. The other problem comes from a lower “spouse acceptance factor.” This is due to the fact that in order to watch TV at all you’ll need to turn the Xbox One on, and then go to TV (or say “Watch TV”). This might be one too many steps to ask of other family members, babysitters, etc.

Despite the problems, pairing Windows Media Center and an Xbox One does still offer some nice features. If you’re just casually watching TV while playing a game, looking through the latest Netflix options, or checking out what your Xbox Live friends are doing, then being able to snap TV off to the side is a really nice feature! Fortunately many of the shortcomings can be fixed with software changes, and Microsoft has a history of making many revisions to the Xbox software. Keep an eye on the DMZ as we’ll be sure to let you know if/when TV updates are released for the Xbox One.


About the author

Josh Pollard

Josh has been writing software since his parents brought home their first computer. His love for gadgets and technology eventually spurred a passion for home theater technology. After starting the DMZ, he received Microsoft’s MVP award for Windows Media Center. Even though the beloved home theater PC platform is all but dead he continues to tinker with consumer entertainment technology. He’s a life-long gamer and DIY smart home enthusiast. He co-hosts the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Richard Gunther and the DMZ’s gaming podcast, Story Players, with Joe DeStazio.


Click here to post a comment

  • I first hooked up my Xbox 360 (MCE) through the Xbox One but shortly changed it back to a separate input on my receiver. I didn’t like having to turn both devices on. I can see the added benefit of being able to snap the TV app but I usually have my tablet in front of me anyways.

    I considered getting a digital adapter from Comcast, to play around with the TV features of the One, until I discovered there would be an additional charge. Not really worth it to me. Hopefully Microsoft or a third party will somehow integrate DVR functionality into the One. Hey Ceton, an Xbox One app combined with a box that acts as a server (provides storage and a cable card slot) would surely interest me:)

  • how did you set this up on the xbox one? did you have an option in manufacturers of your cable box for this.

  • What did you do to pair Windows Media Center and an Xbox One? Is there any steps you can share?

  • Just go through the standard DVR setup, but when it asks you what manufacturer you’re using, search for Windows Media Center.

  • What did you uses as the model of receiver? After it ask for the manufacture (the place you put Windows Media Center) it ask for a model. I have an IR receiver (it came with vrc-1100 remote) but can’t get past this step in the setup. Thanks