Has Microsoft pulled another "Xbox One-Eighty" on a controversial policy?
Speaking to GameFront at PAX Prime 2013, a Microsoft representative has stated that cross-functionality between your cable TV and Kinect, as well as the "TV guide stuff" won't require a subscription to Xbox Live Gold after all. This contradicts earlier official statements made by Microsoft that a Gold subscription would be required for the Xbox One's TV features.
"You can do the HDMI pass through [without a gold subscription]," said Microsoft's Lead Planner for the Xbox group, Albert Penello, adding that Xbox One owners can also "do the TV guide stuff without Gold." Penello seems to be referring to the system's "OneGuide", which allows users to connect an HDMI line from their cable box to the Xbox One's HDMI-in port, allowing the game console to control the user's TV service.
On the official Xbox One features website, it still states that "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," which means either Penello misspoke, or this is another chapter in Microsoft's history of miscommunication and policy reversal.
If true, this is good news for purchasers who were looking forward to a feature Microsoft have repeatedly pushed as a major selling point. It may also mean that the Xbox One's game DVR, which was also previously thought to require a Gold subscription, may also be made available for free.
We've reached out to Microsoft for an official clarification on this issue.