Microsoft’s Xbox One isn’t the most popular gaming console, but it’s still as relevant as ever. If you’re new to the Xbox, there are plenty of awesome features you might not know exist. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips to help you get the most from your gaming system.
Plug It In
Since the Xbox is, underneath it all, a Microsoft-made computer, it has some features similar to a normal PC. That means you can easily use its three USB 3.0 ports to add accessories to your console. The most popular reason to use the Xbox’s USB ports is to add an external hard drive for storing more games. The Xbox operating system makes it super easy to set up external storage, and you can move whatever content you want onto your USB hard drive painlessly.
But, did you know you could also plug in a USB webcam to use with Skype and Mixer streaming? Yep, it’s true! Added recently, this functionality will let you video chat with friends or stream yourself playing games to your followers.
Another little-known USB add-on is a TV tuner. If your TV doesn’t have a hookup for a coaxial antenna, then your Xbox can act as your digital receiver in a snap. Just buy one of the compatible Hauppage USB tuners and plug your antenna in. It’s perfect for cord-cutters who also want to watch sports on the big broadcast channels. This way, your OTA TV and streaming services all come from one source, and the Xbox One even lets you pause live TV in case you have to answer the door.
Record and Share
The Xbox One lets you record your greatest gaming exploits and easily share them to your friends and followers online. The Xbox One X can even record game footage at 4K. (Other Xboxes record in HD, which is still great.) It’s not hard to accomplish, either—after you’ve done something amazing, press the Xbox button on the controller and press X. That’ll capture the last 30 seconds of gameplay.
If you want a continuous stream of footage, before you start playing, press the Xbox button, then the menu button (it’s the one on the right beneath the Xbox with three lines on it). Select “Start Recording” and it’ll begin rolling! If you’re recording to the internal hard drive, you can capture ten minutes of footage. If you’re recording to the external hard drive you plugged in, clips can be up to an hour long. Got a Kinect or a headset with a microphone connected to your controller? Just tell Cortana to “Capture That.”
Now, to share, you’ve got a few options. Without any apps, you can upload to social networks, or to Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service. You can even upload your clip to YouTube using the Xbox’s YouTube app.
Play 4K Content
The original Xbox One doesn’t have this ability, but if you have an Xbox One S or Xbox One X, you can play 4K HDR content from a number of sources. First, both newer Xboxes feature an HDMI 2.0 port—necessary for output in resolutions above 1080p. Streaming content from Amazon, Netflix, and even YouTube can be enjoyed in 4K (although, only on the Xbox One X for now). What’s even more appealing is that both S and X owners can also play 4K Blu-ray movies thanks to those consoles’ built-in 4K Blu-ray drives.
The ordinary Xbox One controller has a secret feature that lets it cheat on your console. Using a USB cable or Bluetooth (on controllers that are newer), you can easily use the Xbox One gamepad with any Windows PC. If you want to use controllers wirelessly, there’s even an affordable USB adapter Microsoft makes that works really well. Here’s another pro tip: newer Xbox One controllers also have a standard headphone jack on the bottom, so you can game or stream without disturbing anyone.
Only a Stream Away
Got a PC running Windows 10? Fire up the Xbox app and stream from your Xbox One to your computer. Unfortunately, you can only stream to a computer on your own home network—for example, if your Xbox is in the living room, and you’re on your laptop in the bedroom. However, it means you could have an Xbox in your home that isn’t even connected to a TV or monitor, and only serves to stream to a PC for gaming. This is where connecting an Xbox One controller to your PC is mandatory.
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