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No, the Xbox One S doesn’t support 4K pass-through

It’s been a long time since games consoles were only about playing games. Whether it’s streaming music on your home network, watching catch-up TV or Netflix, or even spinning Blu-ray discs, both the PS4 and Xbox One are seriously powerful multimedia machines.

The most recent iteration of Microsoft’s console, the Xbox One S, promised to make the leap from HD to 4K, sporting an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and bringing support for 4K TV and films via Amazon Video and Netflix.

However, we can confirm that one thing is missing from the Ultra HD picture - the Xbox One S doesn’t support 4K pass-through. Essentially, this means that the HDMI input on the One S doesn’t support 4K video.

So, you can’t plug a 4K TV box, such as Sky Q, into your Xbox One S and receive 4K video. That’s a shame, not least considering the Xbox set-up procedure suggests you do exactly that and run your TV box through your Xbox.

After plenty of confusion and uncertainty around the issue, Microsoft confirmed the following in a statement to What Hi-Fi?: “Xbox One S does not currently support 4K pass-through via HDMI-in. We will continue to explore making the changes needed for the hardware to support pass-through as 4K broadcasts become more widespread.”

Reports suggest that this will affect all 4K sources, including the BT 4K box and any other 4K set-top boxes in the UK, and the likes of DIRECTV and TiVO BOLT in the US. The forthcoming Virgin 4K box is also unlikely to be supported.

However, this could change with a firmware update - Sky is said to be in discussions with Microsoft about support for Sky Ultra HD - but for now it seems the Xbox One S isn’t quite the complete 4K entertainment system. You might want to wait for the next-gen Xbox Scorpio after all...

Look out for our full review of the Xbox One S coming soon.

MORE: PS4 vs Xbox One - which is better?

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for Specialist Tech at Future and was previously the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across print and online for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung, reported from CES, the Bristol Show and Munich High End for many years, and provided comment for sites such as the BBC and the Guardian. In his spare time he enjoys playing records and cycling (not at the same time).