Arguably at the expense of showing new games on its new console, Microsoft made a lot of noise about the television watching functionality of the Xbox One during its flashy reveal presentation, showing a comprehensive interface for navigating TV channels with deep voice control integration courtesy of its new turbo-charged Kinect sensor.
However, what they neglected to mention up front, as our friends over at Kotaku note
is that all of these snazzy couch-potatoing features are only confirmed for North American customers, and will require an external device to actually work.
Taken from the official international press release for Xbox One:
Live TV with Kinect navigation, Live TV with OneGuide, Trending, and NFL on Xbox available in U.S. at launch; anticipating global scale over time.
At launch, Live TV will require a supported receiver device with HDMI output (sold separately).
It's probably not all quite as alarming as Kotaku's reaction might suggest though, as it stands to reason that the console wouldn't be a functional substitute for the set-top boxes of many disparate international cable TV providers, most of which don't have online service equivalents like Foxtel on Xbox, so you're obviously going to need to pass the HDMI outputs from those devices through to the Xbox One first. Free to air broadcasts are also far less relevant in North America, so it wouldn't make sense to include an radio antenae TV tuner in the console either.
That said, the lack of an international perspective on events such as these always causes confusion, and although Microsoft's Xbox One reveal proudly promised the new console "later this year", we're left none-the-wiser as to when we might see it land on shelves in Australia. If Microsoft takes the same regional distribution path as they did with the Xbox 360, it won't make it here until March 2014.