A gaming console is a great living room addition for any cord cutter. With a bevy of apps, 4K resolution and HDR support — and the ability to play the latest video games on the market — it's the Swiss Army Knife of home entertainment.
If you're like us and agree that a console is near the top of the list of must-have devices for a cord cutter, then you're probably considering an Xbox One X. There are many reasons to own one, and we're here to talk about them.
True 4K gaming
We should mention that there are two Xbox One units. Both the Xbox One X and Xbox One S handle 4K HDR in some fashion. Netflix and Blu-Ray discs both play in fully native 4K with HDR and Dolby Vision, where available.
The difference, however, comes in the gaming department. While the Xbox One S can upscale some 1080p games to 4K, it can't run truly native 4K games like the Xbox One X can. That's because the Xbox One X has almost five times as much graphical and computing power compared to the One S. The result is games that not only look better but run better.
Of course, this only applies if you're looking to play video games. If you're buying an Xbox One purely for watching 4K movies and shows, the Xbox One X is overkill. But there are other reasons to consider it even if you're not much of a gamer.
Powerful video apps
Thanks to Microsoft using Windows as the backbone of the Xbox platform, developers have had a blissful time porting their apps over to the console. All the usual video apps such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, ESPN, Sling, YouTube, and a whole lot more are there.
You also have apps like Plex and Kodi if you want to take your home theater to the next level, as well as music apps like Pandora if you want to add tunes into the mix. You won't find a more well-rounded list of apps anywhere else.
It works seamlessly with your TV provider
If you still happen to watch regular old TV with cable subscription, you can integrate it perfectly with your Xbox One X. It does so thanks to an HDMI-in passthrough port, which allows your cable or digital TV signal to be fed through the Xbox. Onboard software lets you set up your local channel listings, and an infrared blaster means you can even power your TV on or off, adjust the volume, or change the channel with the same controller you use to play video games.
You like stacking set-top boxes
Not everyone has massive entertainment center where all their devices get optimal airflow. Sometimes, boxes have to be stacked, and in the case of the Xbox One S, that's not good. The entire right half of the Xbox One S has airflow holes to ensure proper ventilation.
With the Xbox One X, however, Microsoft improved airflow such that there are no ventilation holes on the top at all. That means you can stack whatever you want on top of it. That's not to say we'd recommend doing that if it's avoidable, but the option is there.
It's pretty future-proof
At the end of the day, the Xbox One X is the most powerful gaming console ever created. (At least until the next one comes along.) While Microsoft's long-term living room strategy hasn't yet been cemented, we do know that they treat the Xbox family as all-encompassing, meaning they want Xbox gamers to be able to play the same games and do the same things no matter which version of the console they have. They even want you to be able to play those games on PC with the Play Anywhere initiative.
This philosophy was reinforced with the launch of the Xbox One X, and while we don't know whether Microsoft will ever shift strategies down the line, it's safe to assume the Xbox One X will be the premier gaming console offering even once the newest gaming generation arrives.
Adding to this point is the promise of continued updates over its lifespan. Whereas some Blu-Ray players, TVs, and other cord cutting devices often get left in the dust shortly after they go on sale, the Xbox One X will continue to evolve with regular updates from Microsoft.
Long story short, if you want the best Xbox will have to offer in the future then the Xbox One X is what you'll need to have.
If you're just looking to get an Xbox One for movies and shows, any Xbox may be overkill. You want Xbox for its games and multimedia capabilities and the Xbox One X will take you much further than anything else in that regard.
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