Skip to main content

Xbox Series X reviews show what it means for the future of streaming TV

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Today is a big day in the hardware world because Xbox Series X reviews have dropped. And that's important because what you watch is nearly as important as what you watch something on. 

For more and more folks, that something is a gaming console. And so it was with great interest that I dove into a number of Xbox Series X reviews today to see how it fares as a streaming video setup.

That's not the No. 1 purpose of an Xbox, of course, and XBox Series X is purposefully not the same sort of machine that its predecessors were. It lost some functionality. But at the same time, Blu-Ray has given way to streaming. Cable boxes are slowly dying out. So changes were inevitable.

Jez Cordon's review at Windows Central describes media support as being a mixed bag:

For fans of the old school Xbox vision as the center of your entertainment system, the reality is that the Xbox Series S and X are dropping many of the features that enabled that. HDMI pass-through is gone, along with the IR Blaster. This means that the Xbox Series S and X cannot control your TV/Cable box for surfing channels seamlessly without switching hardware signals. The OneGuide TV app has been completely removed, and perhaps oddly, even the ability to play 3D Blu-Ray has been killed as well. Typically, Microsoft cites low usage as its primary reason for removing features. In fairness, the trends certainly seem to suggest viewership is increasingly moving towards apps like Netflix and Disney+, as over-the-air and cable TV viewership wanes. Still, if you built up your entertainment system around the Xbox One's features, it may sting to know that these are gone.

TechRadar looks at things from more of a UK perspective, which is when they ran into issues with missing services. That's not unexpected at launch, however.

From the review by Vic Hood, Nick Pino and Adam Vjestica:

While all the most popular entertainment apps are available, we did find that there are still some (more regional apps) that we wish we had access to, such as ITV Hub and All 4 in the UK. However, Microsoft has promised that there will be more apps available at launch, so we may see these added eventually.

Games Radar's Josh West wishes the Quick Resume feature also worked on things that aren't games. From his review:

If there's any major failing of the entertainment experience on Series X, it's that Quick Resume does not extend to media. If you're watching a show on Disney Plus or a movie on Netflix, for example, they won't suspend in place should you decide to switch your attention to a game and then back again. While it's fast enough to resume playback, it would have been nice to pick straight back up from where you left off with entertainment, just as you're able to do with games. Still, this frustration aside, the Xbox Series X is a capable entertainment hub – it just isn't the focal point of the entire experience. 

Other Xbox Series X reviews you should check out: