(Photo: Jakub Sisulak /Unsplash)Just because you haven’t yet gotten your hands on an Xbox Series S or X doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the newest games. In fact, a Samsung smart TV might be all you need. Microsoft has teamed up with the electronics manufacturer to bring Xbox game streaming straight to its TVs—no console required.
It’s called Xbox TV, and it will allow anyone with a $14.99/month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription and a newer Samsung TV or monitor to stream over 100 games without an actual Xbox. Like with any other smart TV app, you’ll be able to select Xbox TV from your device’s menu. The app will then prompt you to log into your Microsoft account. From there you’ll enjoy an experience virtually identical to Xbox Cloud Gaming, which facilitates streaming via an internet browser.
The app will support Bluetooth audio input and output (for your good old Xbox banter) and will send saved data to the cloud. When it comes to controller support, you’ll get a few choices: the full range of Xbox controllers as well as Sony’s DualSense will connect to the app via Bluetooth.
Of course, streaming won’t get you the exact same experience you’d get with a console. Microsoft is promising its typical 1080p streaming resolution and a refresh rate of 60 frames per second. Samsung will also enhance most footage via upscaling. (For most people, this sufficiently makes for an enjoyable gaming experience—but if you’re someone who insists on native 4K like you’ll get on the Series X, it’s best to temper that expectation now.) Advance reviews so far have said this works well for most major titles, especially when you factor in that Xbox TV doesn’t rely on a plug-and-play device like the one Microsoft is also working on.
Xbox TV is currently only slated for 2022 model Samsung smart TVs and monitors. (Yes, you’ll be able to stream your favorite titles on The Frame.) It’s still unclear whether the app will make it to older devices or those from other brands. Microsoft was pretty vague about this in its announcement of the app, saying, “We are bringing the Xbox App to Samsung Smart TVs first, and our intent is to explore other TV partnerships as part of this next evolution in our vision.”
Until then, it’s a pretty low-commitment way for newer smart TV owners to test the Xbox gaming waters. Subscribers in 27 countries will be able to access the Xbox TV app starting June 30.