The 4K Xbox One is official and comes with UHD Blu-ray disc playback

by on June 14, 2016

Stephan Jukic – June 14, 2016

After whirling rumors about an upcoming 2016 net generation Xbox One release with new specs and 4K capacity of at least some sort, we can finally put the speculation to rest with concrete statements straight from the horse’s mouth. That’s right, shortly after Sony finally made official the news that their next PlayStation “Neo” game console would be coming out with 4K video capacity, Microsoft has now done the same for their new and much slimmer, more powerful Xbox One S console..

However, unlike Sony, which has not yet released a price or release date for their PlayStation 4K, Microsoft has stated that the Xbox One S is shipping in August and at a price of just $299 for the base model. Since all versions of the new console will also come with 4K UHD Blu-ray disc playback capacity, this will make it the cheapest 4K Blu-ray player on the current market as well, in addition to its console gaming chops. What impresses here is that the cheapest version of the new Xbox One S will cost the same as the current Xbox One does, despite the heftier specs and powerful new 4K and gaming features. This goes right in the face of previous speculation of a significant price increase for the near-future console.

A closer look at the now confirmed specs of the new Xbox console also reveals some great news for fans of Xbox. The device will be 40% smaller than its existing predecessor, will offer support for 4K video playback and will also be able to handle 4K UHD Blu-ray discs, with full support for high dynamic range, presumably from both the Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats.

Additionally, the priciest model of the new One S version will come with a 2TB hard drive (much larger than the 500GB HD of the current Xbox One) and will offer a wider wireless range for external device connectivity. Microsoft has also given the Xbox One S an integrated IR blaster and a built-in power unit that’s in keeping with the aims of the console’s new compact design parameters.


We should also note that the new console will upscale Full HD Blu-ray video content to 4K-like resolution, just like existing ultra HD Blu-ray players from Samsung, Panasonic and Philips. However, while the 4K support for video is going to be a major part of the Xbox One S, this doesn’t necessarily translate into 4K gaming capacity. The processing requirements of handling 4K resolution and 4K upscaling aren’t as heavy as those required for full-blown high detail 4K gaming. Thus, gamers who want to finally see a TV console for games with UHD graphics might still have to satisfy their pixel needs with 4K PCs and the latest PC GPUs from Nvidia or AMD.

Going back to the pricing of the Xbox One S, the highly affordable $299 retail tag of the console applies only to the base version with a 500GB hard drive. From there things scale up to a 1TB model for $350 and finally the 2TB model for $399. However, all three versions of the new Xbox console will offer 4K upscaling, 4K HDR video playback and all other new features, with only their storage capacities differing.

All three versions of the new console will also come with apps for 4K and 4K HDR content from Amazon, Vudu and Netflix

The model that’s shipping out in August will be the 2TB version of the Xbox One S, with the 500GB and 1TB versions going on sale soon after.

Microsoft is also working on the 2017 release of their next generation “Project Scorpio” Xbox console for 2017. This even more powerful device will be a true 4K gaming platform according to the company and will thus offer the video processing chops to not only offer 4K video playback like the Xbox One S but to also handle full 4K gaming.

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