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article imageMicrosoft suspends development of Xbox One TV DVR feature

By James Walker     Jun 8, 2016 in Technology
Ten months ago, Microsoft announced it would turn the Xbox One into a complete TV streaming box by adding support for TV DVR. After going quiet on the feature recently, the company today confirmed development is "on hold" as it prioritizes gaming.
The existence of the TV DVR feature was announced in August 2015. It was designed to appeal to people who use their Xbox One as more than just a games console. The device can already be used to watch live TV and DVR would have allowed you to record all free-to-view channels to view later.
Microsoft originally said you'd be able to schedule recordings while on the go and stream recordings you'd made to Windows 10 PCs and mobile devices. You'd be able to build a collection of recorded TV programs for later viewing and then choose a device to watch them on.
The company said the feature would debut in 2016. Last week, Microsoft introduced the Xbox One Summer Update though, announcing several new capabilities and improvements coming to the console in parallel with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. TV DVR was not among them, even though the update would appear the obvious place to launch it.
In a statement to The Verge today, Microsoft confirmed TV DVR has been indefinitely shelved. While it did not rule out continuing development in the future, the company made it clear that fans should no longer expect the feature this year.
"After careful consideration, we've decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10," a spokesperson said. "We're always listening to fan feedback and we look forward to bringing more requested experiences on Xbox One, Windows and Xbox Live this year."
The statement indicates Microsoft's changing ambitions for the Xbox brand. It is reverting Xbox to a pure gaming brand that spans PCs and consoles. It has already spun off Xbox Music and Xbox Video as Groove Music and Microsoft Films & TV respectively as it works to make gaming the core focus of Xbox once again. That means that entertainment-oriented features like TV DVR have had to fall by the wayside.
The axing of the feature may annoy Xbox One owners who were looking forward to using their console as a home theatre controller. Microsoft has previously released its own TV tuner accessory for the Xbox One that would have been compatible with the DVR feature. Users will now be left with the same basic TV viewing as the console has always offered.
Microsoft customers last had access to live TV recording in Windows 7 and, to a lesser degree, 8 using the popular Windows Media Center app. Media Center is not available in Windows 10 though so Xbox One TV DVR would have filled a gap in Microsoft's current entertainment options. The company could resume development in the future but it has not indicated whether it intends to do so.
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