the problem with XboxOne HDMI passthrough

I love the idea of the XboxOne integration with Television services. The options for creating a more interesting television viewing experience by having my cable box (not available yet in the UK) running through the Xbox. Fast switching between gaming and TV, showing TV broadcasts in the snap view so i can continue playing whilst my special lady waits for Home and Away to start all ticks boxes for me, or at least it would if it weren’t for one fatal flaw.

The HDMI passthrough on the XboxOne does not work without the XboxOne being turned on. Some of you might say, well yes this makes sense, and I would be inclined to agree except that in doing so presents a flaw in Microsoft’s intentions.

The XboxOne is not a discreet and passive device in your living room – yet. We’re only in week one and over the next 12 months Microsoft are going to learn a lot about their machine and its place in the home. Hopefully that will include disabling the two things which for me mean I will not be using the XboxOne integration with TV – It has two great big white glowing orbs.

The On light for the actual box itself, and the matching power light on the Kinect sensor (which is most likely obtrusively under your TV screen) are actually very bright. Whilst this makes sense at launch it’s going to grind my gears if it is there in 6 months time. Along with these two mystery power orbs the Kinect’s 3 red infrared blocks are always visible (not totally sure they’re supposed to be) meaning the Kinect itself is far from blending into the background.

So that’s my take on the HDMI passthrough issue, it’s not just the technology behind it and the ‘always on’ functionality, the aesthetic is not going to work with the average living room.