Xbox Live Gold Not Needed for Xbox One TV Features (UPDATED)

Which next-gen console will be better? Game Front gives the definitive opinion with our massive Xbox One vs. Playstation 4 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.

UPDATE: September 4, 2013: A Microsoft spokesperson has responded this morning to our request for clarification of Penello’s comments.

Xbox One will have a TV experience for everyone, including non-Gold members. We’ll have more to share and show in the coming weeks.

Original Article:

After speaking with a Microsoft representative at PAX Prime 2013, it seems at least some Xbox One functionality previously thought to require an Xbox Live Gold membership actually won’t.

Most recently, Microsoft confirmed that in addition to the built-in game DVR, the OneGuide system requires an Xbox Live Gold membership subscription. Previously, Microsoft explained that users would be able to connect an HDMI line from their cable box to the Xbox One’s HDMI-in port, allowing the game console to handle controlling the user’s TV service, and it seemed that functionality would fall under the purview of OneGuide.

As described on the official Xbox One web site, OneGuide allows users to “Connect your cable or satellite box to Xbox One and watch all your favorite television shows right through the console.” On its Xbox Live features page, Microsoft explains OneGuide’s features with the following: “Xbox Live Gold members with Xbox One can experience a customized view of what’s on TV, and see what’s trending within the Xbox Live community.”

The assumption made by many, including Game Front, is that all cross-functionality between your cable TV and Kinect (AKA saying, “Xbox: TV.”) would require an Xbox Live Gold subscription. As it turns out, that isn’t the case, at least according to Microsoft’s Lead Planner for the Xbox group, Albert Penello.

We spoke to Penello earlier this afternoon at PAX. “You can do the HDMI pass through,” he said, when I asked about assumption that TV functionality required Xbox Live Gold. He added that Xbox One owners can also “do the TV guide stuff without Gold.”

That’s good news for those purchasers looking forward to using a feature Microsoft made the cornerstone of its reveal event in May without hassle. But it also makes things a little more unclear. Penello seemed to be referring to OneGuide, which renders Microsoft’s previous announcement moot. We are reaching out to Microsoft for clarification, and will update this article as soon as we have it. For now, however, it looks like Microsoft may have quietly reversed course, or at least clarified its policies, once again.

Don’t miss the rest of our PAX Prime 2013 coverage all weekend and next week!

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11 Comments on Xbox Live Gold Not Needed for Xbox One TV Features (UPDATED)


On August 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Good to hear! I read just earlier today that it would require gold, but it seems that won’t be the case. It will make watching TV so much easy.

As most everybody else, my TV has one of those “cable boxes” that plugs in at the back. I really don’t think it’s a big deal beside that you need that specific remote to change the channel, as the TV remote or the buttons on the TV don’t work correctly.

Hopefully, with Xbox One I’ll be able to just “Xbox, TV channel #” and not need to fuss with all that junk.


On August 30, 2013 at 11:24 pm

This wasn’t an “assumption”. They actually said this during E3. So it’s another reversal of policy. Granted another one that actually makes sense though.


On August 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm

It’s Albert Penello, not the man some justice :)

Phil Hornshaw

On August 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm


I think the assumption comes from not knowing just how exactly the TV stuff was going to work. OneGuide sounds like a legit Xbox Live feature, given that it has customization and integration with friends’ lists and so on. But just being able to pass your TV feed through your Xbox seemed like a weird thing to pay gate. We’re still not 100 percent sure what’s free and what’s not.

Jon Aiken

On September 1, 2013 at 5:14 am

That’s fine for everyone with either a dish or a cable subscription, but what about the 10% of the population that do not have either of those services? There is a growing trend of people becoming cord cutters relying on an antenna and high speed internet to get all of their favorite television shows. With that being said, I believe if the Xbox One had an ATSC digital tuner built in, for DVR functionality, it would be must have entertainment device for over 31 million americans.


On September 4, 2013 at 10:55 am

XBox One will OWN! I already utilize the XBox 360 as a media center extender from my Windows 8 PC with tuner cards. I recently downloaded the TWC app for XBox 360. Great, but needs a boot into app feature on the XBox settings and a smart glass app that acts as a TV Guide. I would use this full time. I would miss the DVR features of media center, but the improved picture quality to TimeWarner Basic Service is worth it.

Ross Lincoln

On September 4, 2013 at 11:38 am


The function requires a connection to the Xbox One via HDMI. If whatever cord-cutters use to access the TV signal uses HDMI, then presumably this might work, though of course Microsoft hasn’t fully explained the feature so we don’t know.

That said, if someone is a cord-cutter, why would they care about “Xbox TV”ing back to a version of TV that has no channel guide, and only 5 channels (plus PBS)? They can just use Xbox Live apps to rent or watch shows the way they can now on 360.


On September 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

TV needs to stay alive compared to the internet then push it’s advertising BS onto the internet where same companies can try to sell you the same crap.

Screw TV. Media alone can go back to the hell that spawned it.


On September 5, 2013 at 7:15 am

Sounds simple enough. Basic guide services are provided.

Customized guide services require XBL Gold.


On September 12, 2013 at 9:13 am

So, does this mean the ONE will also have DVR functionality for TV programming, or just game DVR????


On February 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Since this page shows up on Google’s first page for Oneguide and Gold, I want to confirm for people looking for this information that Gold is required for Oneguide. Everything in this article is outdated.