The Xbox One's HDMI pass-through feature will even let gamers connect the console with its chief rival, the PlayStation 4.
Much has been made of the Xbox One's HDMI pass-through, a small but crucial feature that Microsoft is hoping will once and for all transform its video game console into a living room entertainment hub. With the two ports on the console, gamers could plug any HDMI-compatible device — be it a cable box, a media streaming device, or even an Xbox 360 — into the Xbox One to get split-screen viewing and other hyper-entertainment perks. So, can you even plug a PlayStation 4 into its arch rival? Turns out, yes.
Speaking to the popular gaming site GameSpot at the Tokyo Game Show (TGS), Albert Panello, Microsoft's senior director of product management and planning for the Xbox, said that the Xbox One's HDMI input would indeed work with any device, including the PS4.
The catch? Well, Microsoft might let you connect the PS4 to the Xbox One, but it doesn't really want you to do so. Writing on the gaming forum NeoGAF after his TGS appearance, Penello said that connecting the two consoles "won't be a great experience."
Due to HDMI latency issues, Penello reasoned, using the Xbox One's HDMI pass-through feature for any kind of "interactive" entertainment would result in lag during gameplay, which suggests that Microsoft wouldn't recommend playing an Xbox 360 through the One either.
The HDMI port was designed with passive video viewing in mind, Penella said, where latency issues wouldn't disrupt the experience as dramatically as it would if you were playing a game on a connected device. Gamers will have to wait until the Xbox One comes out this November to see how this alleged interconnectivity actually plays out, but for now it remains one of the console's most promising features, whether you plug a PS4 into it or not.
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: Yannick.LeJacq@nbcuni.com.
First published September 23 2013, 10:47 AM