Although Microsoft has positioned the Xbox One’s HDMI pass-through as a way to watch TV from your cable box while playing video games, there’s actually no limit on what kind of signal the console can receive.
During the Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft confirmed that users could even route a PlayStation 4 through the console’s HDMI input. The Xbox One’s “Snap” feature, which lets any two apps side by side, could allow users to play the two systems in split-screen.
Here’s Gamespot, quoting Xbox senior director of product management and planning Albert Panello:
Later in the presentation, when Panello discussed the Xbox One’s ability to snap applications to the side of the screen during gameplay, he said “any application can be snapped to a game…this could be the live TV feed, so if you wanted to be playing Ryse and Killzone at the same time, you could snap that.”
Killzone is a first-person shooter series exclusive to Sony consoles. The newest entry to the series, Killzone: Shadow Fall, is an upcoming PlayStation 4-exclusive title.
The HDMI input on the Xbox One is mainly intended for your cable or satellite box. Users will be able to plug the HDMI output from those boxes into the Xbox One, which then sends a combined signal to the television over a single HDMI cable. The idea is that users can watch TV and play games without switching inputs.
But allowing other types of input raises some interesting possibilities. If you have an Apple TV, Roku or Chromecast, for instance, you could send them through the Xbox One to consolidate inputs and get split-screen viewing. You could connect an Xbox 360 to make up for the One’s lack of backwards compatibility. And now I’m wondering if you could have a friend plug in a second Xbox One for split-screen multiplayer over Xbox Live.
The Xbox One’s release date is set for November 22, priced at $500.