Xbox One’s Live TV Will Not Be Available In Australia At Launch, Requires A Separate Device

Xbox One’s Live TV Will Not Be Available In Australia At Launch, Requires A Separate Device

Small print is a terrifying thing when you actually sit down and read it. A global press release sent out heralding the announcement of the Xbox One has a few small details hidden within it. First off: all that TV stuff Microsoft were proud to show off in its conference? You actually need to buy a separate device in order for that to work. Second? Most of it will only be available in the US at launch, and Microsoft currently has no fixed schedule for the global roll out and only commits to “global scale over time”.

Specifically, the press release states, in the small print that…

At launch, Live TV will require a supported receiver device with HDMI output (sold separately).

And, before that:

Live TV with Kinect navigation, Live TV with OneGuide, Trending, and NFL on Xbox available in U.S. at launch; anticipating global scale over time.

I have numerous broad complaints about the conference itself, not enough games being shown is the most obvious, but this news strikes me as slightly dishonest. The press release refers to the Xbox One as “the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system” but not one person on stage mentioned the fact that another device would be required for Live TV.

This dishonesty is compounded by the distasteful US-centric nature of the conference itself. Whilst watching I was very aware this was not only tailored specifically to a western audience, but more specifically to a US audience. The fact that Microsoft spent so much time focusing on functionality that will only be available in the US without making mention of the fact that said functionality won’t be available at launch outside of the US is, again, dishonest.

This was a global announcement.

We’re speaking to a local Australian Microsoft representative this morning. We’ll report back when we hear any further details about the launch of these services in Australia.

UPDATE: We spoke to Microsoft about more local details here.


  • To be honest this isn’t a surprise… I doubt they have a tuner in there and they are likely talking about a supported cable TV box. Looking forward to the aussie relevant news because a lot of what was said there was likely irrelevant for us.

    Pretty disappointed with the whole US focus as well. But then again their announcements are always like this so shouldn’t have expected this to be any different.

    • Yeah I glean the same from this. They are talking about your cable/DTV box as a requirement, not trying to sell you a hardware bolt-on.

    • Yeah, given that 360 currently doubles as a Foxtel box, I’m guessing that there’ll be some interplay between Foxtel and Xbox One, and they’re talking about needing Foxtel or a Foxtel subscription when this is applied to AU. I also think they’ll have a Play TV style peripheral to allow you to have the same functionality over free-to-air.

  • But hadn’t you heard? The United States IS the world.

    Ugh. Disappointment, I was expecting, but not quite so much contemptuous disgust. Fuck these guys. I’m out. Boycott city, population me.

      • You got that right – I’m on the train to Boycott myself. I hear it’s nice this time of year.

      • I’m already scoping out mold-ridden, leaky and thoroughly un-insulated studio apartments in the hipster district. Trying to beat the rush, you know?

    • Yep, won’t buy – this is pretty much exactly how it felt to own a 360. There was heaps of content that was never delivered anywhere outside of the US.
      Also the RROD issue was pretty bad too, a lot of people will be sitting on the side line for a while to see how things pan out.

      One thing that both players have neglected to do, is integrate VR into their console. I was sure that Sony were going to go down that route, with their personal video viewer, but neither did.

      Surely it wouldn’t have been hard to get a dev kit for the occulus, would it?

      • These guys play it safe with games stuff, Ninty’d be your only bet for Occulus support built in. Unless it takes off, ‘course

  • Seriously, does Microsoft even want to be in the next console generation?

    They seem to be doing everything they can to get themselves thrown out of it.

    I personally do not care about the technology nor the social media integration nor TV features. I’m a gamer for crying out laud and I just want to sit down and freaking play games (new or used).

    • How’s the battery life on your Nokia 3315? I assume you don’t have anything newer, seeing as phones are only for making phone calls right? Regardless of whether new features can be implemented without impacting said performance as a phone?

      They are catering to the demand of a market…. you might only be interested in a device for gaming, but a lot of other people sure are interested in a home media device.
      I’ve got a PS3, and it gets used more as a media centre device than for gaming. PlayTV, bluray player, iview, streaming shows from my media server. Oh yeah, and none of this takes away from the gaming abilities of the console either.

      And here’s the kicker…… a lot of the conversations regarding the console go like this……
      “Oh wow honey, the new PS/XB is released. I’m going to go pick it up”
      “How much is this thing?”
      “Oh… $XXX hundred dollars….”
      “$$$ for some thing to play more games on? Yeah, lol, sure you’re getting it” /cold stare

      Replace it with…
      “Oh wow honey, the new PS/XB is released. I’m going to go pick it up”
      “How much is this thing?”
      “Oh… $XXX hundred dollars…. But it’s going to let us record TV, watch blurays, stream movies/TV shows, get live weather, check facebook etc etc etc…”
      “Oh that could be cool, let’s go check it out” /smile

      Yes, that’s a stereotyped situation, but that situation [ie: a gamer living with another non-gamer] certainly does make up a significant proportion of the market.

      • That being a stereotyped situation is an understatement. Jeez.

        Tell me, how is that conversation going to go when those features aren’t actually available in this country? Or when you realise that the streaming features are already available on current consoles and have already been anounced on both next-gen consoles? The difference is that MS is taking the TV market with its cash, it is buying exclusiveness.

        • I don’t think I understated it….

          Just as much as I can say that everyone making comments along the lines of “I only want to play games dammit, I only ever want a games machine” are still living at home with the parents and clearly currently or have never had a serious girlfriend [oh yes, because their all straight males too btw].

          What I was highlighting was that the comments coming across seem *very* narcissistic, as if not even considering for a moment that the machine may be targeted at people other than themselves as well.
          Or heck, even the belief that this machine simply *must* be targeted at their demographic.

          For all I know, MS are talking out of their arse and all of the features will suck. All I was trying to illustrate to some people [whom clearly need some perspective] is that it is possible that a different demographic exists other than their own.

      • “How’s the battery life on your Nokia 3315?”

        The battery life is fine. Except it is in a temporal rift thus exists as an iPhone 5. So while it is stuck in that state, I also play the odd casual game, surf the Web, and even check my work emails.

        I do not mind if there are extra features (hence the use of my temporally mis-aligned Nokia), but I do have a problem when the optional features are given significant focus and attention while the core functionality is crippled to the point of qualifying for a disability allowance.

        In terms of market, the only market Microsoft is catering to is its own employees. The real market is occupied by games who do not want the Microsoft equivalent of Big Brother following them all around.

        • I agree with you that extra features are ok only as long as they don’t detract from core functionality.

          But, who’s to say what “core” functionality is? Why does it *have* to be a gaming machine? Sure, in your eyes an xbox should be a gaming machine. But if there is a greater market for a box with as equal focus on home media capabilities as gaming, then why shouldn’t they make their box cater for said market?

          Again, I’m not saying Microsoft is right in their decision. However it seems many people are being very self-entitled in their attitude that the system *must* be what they want……
          If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. But be aware that you may very well be in the minority [and also be aware that the confines of a gaming site or internet forum form a nice protective shield which will make you feel like the majority]

  • It would be nice if some of these deals with the NFL or UFC could break out of the 20th century and become global, I would love to be able to buy ufc pay per view or an Nfl network subscription without needing Foxtel. All of this media hub hype is zero sum to me until we know exactly what Australia gets, which leaves us with about 18 minutes of press conference.

    I also completely agree with the lack of honesty here, why even push this as a global event when it is tailored to the unique us cable market? It does fit in line with their recent press conference form though, multimedia and sports, minimal games.

    • You buy them on the internet. It’s about $45 for a UFC event. Or you can watch at Hoyts for $25. Or you can spend a nice day at the pub for the price of a couple of drinks.

      Not sure about NFL.

      • Hoo-Ra! $50 to watch at home or $50 for a counter meal and four drinks… I know which one I choose.

  • “This dishonesty is compounded by the distasteful US-centric nature of the conference itself.”

    Ohhh pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    It’s a US product, unveiled in the US, for, primarily, a US audience.

    What exactly about that is “distasteful” seeing as though North America is its biggest market?

    What an irresponsible thing to say.

    And every company ever has done this. Every E3 is “US-centric”. Regions always eventually get their equivalent of the US’ television services.

    What a smug statement.

    • E3 is a US event. It’s designed for that market. This is a global announcement. They spent at least 50% of their time discussing features that won’t actually be available in Australia — or any other territory — at launch. What is acceptable about that?

      • I could let it slide if it were this one time, but it’s pretty much the go to stance for American production and companies like Microsoft really need to be called out on it more often. Even the European market struggles to get recognition.
        It doesn’t matter if they’re selling it globally, if you speak English you get the North American version. It doesn’t matter if it works as advertised or not. Think about how many multiplayer-centric shooters you’ve played this generation that have had their multiplayer reduced to barely functional status thanks to match-making assuming you’re playing in the US.

        It’s a very frustrating attitude you encounter when dealing with American companies on a regular basis and it’s not just limited to video games. I work with CNC systems that are basically just robot brains designed to move things with extremely precise measurements. The amount of times I’ve struggled to get metric measurements to work properly on systems that cost $30,000+ is insane. When you talk to the people who made the software they’re actually puzzled as to why you’d use metric measurements. It’s like they have no concept of the global market they’re selling on.

      • And if they’d just given them a cursory introduction Microsoft would be copping it for that. Whether or not they’re available everywhere the TV/media function is a core component of the Xbox One, of course they’re going to give it a big spin. Do you really, honestly expect them not too?

    • Nintendo tailor there announcements to the US, Japan and Europe seperately via regional Nintendo Directs. So not every company…

      • Yes, but at least Nintendo knows their regions. We are still considered a part of Europe when it comes to games. While Nintendo doesn’t build a stream for Australia directly, at least their launch windows for things are in the same block as Europe…. Where as Microsoft thinks about USA as the world, then those other countries somewhere down the line that don’t matter.

        • We are PALs with europe except we didn’t get c64 games on wii VC like them. I am still bitter about that.

  • Television is a region specific thing, it always has been and will be.

    I am assuming this console is coming out in multiple regions?


    • So your saying every region should get a different version of the console? nice logic.

      • Er…no. I’m saying that HBO GO, ESPN and NFL should not be promoted so heavily considering a large proportion of gamers won’t get them.

  • Will I be able to turn it on and play a game? or will it be a laboriousness task of options, updates and setting up online accounts to play. Maybe they should release the Xbox 1 game console. Put in the disk play, have fun, turn off and go about you business. Not turn on update, pay subscription but still be bombarded with Adds, get frustrated turn off and go back to WOW.

  • I can switch to my television by pushing one button on my remote, it takes less time than it does to say “xbox TV”. Plus I can already do split picture on my TV. Plus who would want to watch a movie and play a game at the same time? It’s neat that the console can do these things but who in reality is going to be using them to the extent Microsoft think they will?

    and people complain about Nintendo having gimmicks…

    • I like to play violent games while watching porn on the picture-in-picture…

  • I hope the PS4 is available in australia at launch. Form what I saw Xbox One can wait.

    • Pretty much all of those awesome PS4 services will require the best net connections available in Australia and also require local servers… Not interested in tv functions… Still unsure as to which console will be my favoured 3rd party console next gen.

      • The only one I have serious doubt about is game streaming. The other services (I.e. QuickFlix) are already on the PS3 and work fine.

      • My next console will be a steam box..
        Actually I lie, I already have my next console.. in the form of a HTPC with Steam.
        Cheaper games,
        can do everything and more than a console,
        Free online access
        better control inputs

        • You forgot to add backwards compatibility to the list. Or more specifically, no need for it!!

        • I have one of those [a beast/ no HTPC] doesn’t keep me from playing console games. Some games are better on PC, most of the ones I play aren’t even there.

  • Oh…. Thanks heaps for clearing this up Mark. That’s one less hit to the hip pocket.

  • You hope the PS4 is available at the PS4 launch?

    Don’t tell anyone, but i think you’ll be fine.

    • Well. Not if PS3 launch is anything to go by. New launches often have massive stock shortages early on.

      I’m not in a hurry to be an early adopter for this new console generation so I really don’t care, but I’m predicting a fair bit of rage and jokes made at Sony’s expense. *shrug* Launches. It’s how they go down.

  • I’m, disappointed but not surprised. For me this is why PS outsells xbox in almost every region outside the US.

  • God I hope they release a DVB-T add on. I really want an all in one device, right now the closest is my PS3, but Sony have done an absolutely awful job of tying it all together. I really hate PlayTV. Hell if I upgrade the software to the latest version is just bloody crashes all the time.

    • Really? I don’t want to sound smug but Play Tv works brilliantly for me and using TV and DVR at friend’s houses always becomes a massive chore. Play TV’s EPG is also by far the most intuitive I’ve seen.
      I hope it’s supported by PS4 as well, it’s a shame yours doesn’t work properly.

      • Worked fine with my fat PS3 until that died, has never worked well on any thin I’ve plugged one into. Software off the disc works, although it’s old and slow, but if updated it freezes while pausing live TV.

        Also no series link, rubbish freeview restrictions, slow load times for the application and even simple things like the inability to scroll all the way to the bottom of the channel list and have it roll back to the top just annoy me daily.

        It’s still better than my TV’s built in tuner and EPG though.

        Voice control of Kinect as well as control from my Windows 8 tablet are hugely appealing too.

        • There are definitely features that need upgrading. Series link, automatically searching for and recording shows, updating the recording schedule when the EPG changes, compressing files on the fly, proper volume control … playtv was the first set top box I got so any of its shortfalls I don’t really notice. My TV habits were built around it.
          All I really want is a more feature-laden PlayTv 2, built around the same interface.

  • I do not even watch live TV now. I can understand why some people would be upset eg. Sport Lovers. But I am happy to see a powerful console with a interesting controller and the Xbox Live service remaining intact

  • Stick to your guns Mark Serrels. I am not saying Sony sucks but they seem more customer focused for success then MS corporate mentality.
    I look forward to seeing why the PAL regions should care about the next Xbox cause so far my 360 will not be replaced by xbox one.

    Very lame reveal MS.

  • Well, that wasn’t in the least bit surprising. Ever since the rumor of the HDMI in port broke, it’s been clear that this has been Microsoft’s broad strategy.
    A next-Gen, digital set-top box was never going to be relevant here in Oz. They’re going to have to be extremely careful with how they design their marketing for each region. They need to downplay how important these features are to the console’s overall success to avoid shooting themselves in the foot; no one outside the states will buy this console of they get a mixed message on what it’s primarily designed to do.

  • Why did they build an entire building for an hour long press conference to basically tell people, America likes sports, Xbox likes sports, we put the two together to allow Americans easier access to sports oh and we have Cod.

    Would have been better to rent a local venue and show more stuff than waste all their money on a building. Also the whole Spielberg thing seemed way out of place.

  • This is sounding more like a giant stuff up the more I hear about it. They haven’t made a gaming console, they’ve made a ‘home theatre pc’.

  • I don’t care about any of this extra stuff.

    I want my XBox to do one thing, and one thing only and that’s PLAY FREAKING GAMES!

    • This. That’s all a console can do. People, believe it or not, Redmond, have myriad ways of watching TV shows and films, phoning people, and accessing Facebook. They really don’t need another one if it means sacrificing core functionality of the device it’s one.

  • For me the fact that you have to be connected even once a day = Always online. Really Since there is no big difference in term of gaming power between PS4 and this Xbox One why would a gamer go for such a silly option.

    Microsoft announcement:

    Hi Gamers, this is the new XBOX One ! With this new system you’ll be glad to know that you won’t be able to play games without an internet connection, we will charge you if you attempt to play pre-owned games and most of our service is for America only. and for the lucky one that can access our cloud services, you won’t be able to use these function unless you buy another external box from us! Smile we are Microsoft.

  • I was hoping that the NBN would usher in Hulu and maybe comcast via IP and the Xbox One would be my TV box.
    The demonstrated technology all hinges upon the the NBN though. Else Foxtel will continue their monopoly of subscription TV service in Australia.

  • The think way Xbox One’s Live TV will work in Australia is with Foxtel because use can use Foxtel on the Xbox 360 right now and the only thing you would have to connect is to plug in your Foxtel box. They are saying ” Will Not Be Available In Australia At Launch, Requires A Separate Device” is because they would have to negotiate with Foxtel first.

  • Worst article you’ve written yet Mark. Where exactly does it say that they will force you to buy and entirely separate, Xbox branded TV tuner device to watch TV? Did you think they just did an entire reveal announcement showing the console, Kinect and controller, and purposefully hid an entirely separate device under the table for giggles? Did you even think about this sentence before you just jumped in to make your wildly emotional assumption? What if that device is already in your house? The box has HDMI passthrough for crying out loud, did you even try to put 2 and 2 together?

    Can’t wait for your article in 3 weeks that accuses them of poor communication simply because you won’t be able to admit you made a mistake and read a press release incorrectly.

    I’m truly sorry that Microsoft didn’t reveal more about how they plan to integrate AFL, NRL and Cricket into the XBO, but then again – RIIIIIIIIIIDGE RACER!

    • But why would you need an XBox One to watch TV when you can use your TV to watch TV?

  • It’ll probably have some decent games but it seems that Microsoft are more concerned about being everything to everybody and have forgotten the very reason they are there in the first place. And the reason they can get away with subscription fees. The games, the decent or (slighlty better than PSN) Live service and a huge market in the US of A and rest of world.

    I can’t say I’m surprised given Microsoft’s Ameri-centric attitude. I can say that I do not need nor am I interested in anything I’ve seen apart for the specs. And that means sweet F all until I see some games I actually want to play that I can’t get on PC.

    So far it’s useless to me.

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