Sorry guys – you can’t throw away your crappy cable boxes yet. While the just-announced Xbox One does some fun things, based on what we’re being shown, tuning television is not one of them.
See that IR Output? That’s how the Xbox One will control your cable box: exactly like your existing remote does. You’ll plug a little IR blaster cable into that port, put the other end on the front of your cable box, and voila: control. The blaster acts the same as your Comcast remote, shooting out control signals that the cable box receives and reacts to. Then the HDMI output from the cable box runs to the HDMI input of the One, and you’re off and running with your harmonious entertainment experience or whatever.
Now, there may also be some way to control the cable box without IR, using CEC within the HDMI signal. I doubt it, but it’s possible. But the presence of the IR Output tells me that either CEC isn’t reliable/pervasive enough, or that it simply can’t do what’s necessary.
Either way, hold on to those cable boxes – you’ll still need them.