If you can’t decide between an Xbox One (Pre-Order (Affiliate)) or a PS4, or are just feeling flush, Microsoft has some good news. It’s not going to put a block on hooking the two devices together.
One of the most touted features of the next-gen Microsoft console is its HDMI pass-through. The idea is that the Xbox One is the only thing you need to hook up directly to your TV and you then use it as a ‘skin’ for all your other entertainment devices including cable and satellite boxes. You can then use the main controller, physical gestures or voice commands to control what’s on the screen at any particular moment, or set-up picture-in-picture.
Folk of a more cynical persuasion had assumed Microsoft would try to block the PS4 signal from being passed-through. That was always technically questionable but now Microsoft has confirmed it is not the case.
A company spokesman talking at the Tokyo Game show was asked about the issue and, while not quite able to bring himself to bill “supporting the PS4″ as a feature, did note you could use the Xbox One for display “if you wanted to be playing Ryse and [PS4 exclusive] Killzone at the same time.” (Or rather, you would presume, if two people in the same room wanted to use the TV for gaming simultaneously, at least one with a headset.)
It’s only going to affect the presumably limited market of people who want both consoles and are either short of HDMI ports on their TV or lack a picture-in-picture feature on the TV set itself, but for those folk it could make things a little easier without the horror of having to reach behind the set to change HDMI plugs. Realistically the more important note is that Microsoft have passed up a potential opportunity to irritate users just to take a knock at Sony.
On matters more likely to be practical issues for the majority of users, Microsoft has noted it will only support the XBox One being used horizontally rather than stored upright. The company says there’s no issue with cooling, but the slot-loading drive is only designed for horizontal orientation, so standing the device vertically is “at your own risk.”
Whether Microsoft would actually deny a warranty claim or support request because of vertical storage — and how it would actually know, unless that’s the real purpose of Kinect — isn’t so clear.
[Pre-Order the Xbox One on Amazon.com (Affiliate)]