What Is Xbox One S?

Features include built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray disc playback and 4K streaming

Microsoft Xbox One S in white

Photo from Amazon

The Xbox One S console is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One, there is an updated Bluetooth controller (which can also be used with compatible PCs and Tablets), and a 2TB storage option. It's improved home theater capabilities make it a great choice for anyone who loves gaming and movies.

Plays Blu-ray and Streams 4K Movies

The Xbox One S incorporates a built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player, along with updated (but now standard) features that gamers have come to know and love. It also offers internet streaming from content providers such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video but improves Xbox home theater capability even further by adding the ability to stream 4K content from select providers, such as Netflix.

What this means for consumers is that when you don't feel like playing all those exciting games, if you have a compatible Ultra HD TV, you can just slip in an Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and watch movies with HDR and Wide Color Gamut encoding, without having to buy or use a separate player.

Of course, just as with the original Xbox One, you can also play standard Blu-ray discs as well — so even if you don't have a compatible 4K TV or Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs, your current collection is still playable on the Xbox One S.

Video Game Upscaling

Although the Xbox One S has 4K streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, Xbox One S games (even those that include HDR) will not be in true 4K resolution. Instead, video game images will be upscaled to 4K via its HDMI output. The Xbox One's upscaling capability also applies to standard Blu-ray other non-4K source content.

A Downside: Just One HDMI Output

For home theater use, one connection limitation to keep in mind is that Xbox One S only has one HDMI output. 

The reason that this is important to the home theater side of the equation is that if you have a compatible 4K Ultra HD TV, but a home theater receiver that does not support 4K Ultra HD with HDR pass-through, having two HDMI outputs would be desirable. If two HDMI outputs were available, one HDMI output could be used to connect the 4K video signal directly to an Ultra HD TV and the other HDMI output could be used to access audio on the home theater receiver without limiting the video signal going to the TV.

Watch and Record Live TV With the Tablo App

Another feature that has been added to the Xbox One S (as well as the Xbox One) is the availability of the Tablo app, which is used with the Nuvyyo Tablo antenna.

Upon downloading and installing this app, users can, in addition to the features discussed above can also access over-the-air broadcast TV programs. In addition, the Tablo app also allows recording for later viewing.

The Xbox One S Package and Other Info

The Xbox One S comes packaged with an Xbox One S console (which includes the 2TB hard drive and a Wireless Controller with a 3.5mm headset jack great for private listening), a vertical console stand (if desired), one HDMI cable, one AC Power cord, and a 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial.

For those not familiar with the hard drive features of the Xbox platform, it is not used for making copies of Blu-ray Disc movies or streaming content but for storing games, apps, and any important updates. Game feature access on some games may be faster and smoother from the hard drive than from a disc. Also, saving games on the hard drive to prevent wear and tear on the original disc (eliminating the need for repeated disc use).

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