Once upon a time, you could two things with a games console: play games, and scream at it when you couldn’t get past that one difficult level. Today, there’s hardly anything you can’t do.
You can browse the net, talk to your friends, store files… and watch a bit of telly, thanks to on demand streaming services and HDMI ports. Let’s see what you can watch.
Want to know how the different streaming services compare? Take a look at our guide.
TV on Xbox One
All Xbox models come with Microsoft Movies and TV - formerly known as Xbox Video. This is where you can rent or buy films and TV shows, including some of the latest blockbusters before the DVDs even hit the shelves. Since the files you purchase will be stored in the Microsoft Cloud, you can access them from any device, like a tablet or Windows Phone.
For everything else, there are plenty of video streaming apps. There’s catch-up from BBC iPlayer, All 4, and Demand 5; and you can sign into your Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and NOW TV accounts to watch films and shows through those. You’ll also find the likes of YouTube, Vevo, and Eurosport, as well as lots of music apps.
The Xbox One has another trick up its sleeve. If you have a set top box with a HDMI output - which most of them do - you can watch and control your TV through the Xbox itself. That means there’s no need to fiddle about with the inputs on your telly. Simply use the controller to switch to the box’s app, and presto, you can watch TV.
TV on Xbox 360
Unfortunately, you can’t hook your TV set top box up to an Xbox 360, but there are plenty of apps to cover your TV needs. Again there’s Microsoft Movies and TV; catch-up from iPlayer, All 4, Demand 5, and STV Player; or you can log in to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, NOW TV, and Blinkbox. For some factual TV you’ve also got Animal Planet Live, or for sport there’s Eurosport and Red Bull TV. You’ll also get lots of music from Xbox Music, Spotify, 8tracks, and more.
And of course, you can sign in to Sky Go if you’ve got Sky Go Extra, to watch dozens of live channels and episodes of your favourite shows on demand.
TV on PS4 and PS3
While you can’t connect your set top box to a PlayStation, you’ll still get plenty of apps. PlayStation Video is Sony’s store for on demand films and TV - which includes cloud storage, so you can access your vids from any device, such as a Sony Xperia phone.
Besides that, there’s Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, NOW TV, iPlayer, All 4, YouTube, and loads more.
And as with an Xbox, you can log in to your Sky Go account, if you’re a Sky TV customer with Sky Go Extra. Both on demand TV and live channels will be ready to stream.
TV on Wii U
On a Wii U, you can watch TV shows and films through the Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iPlayer, Crunchyroll, and YouTube apps. But there’s also an internet browser - meaning you can access any other streaming site, including Sky Go and Virgin TV Anywhere if you’re a Sky or Virgin Media TV customer.