The Ports on the Xbox Series X

Posted on January 7, 2020 by Brad Sams in Xbox, Xbox Series X with 30 Comments

Yesterday, AMD made a lot of noise in the industry with its keynote at CES. Among the new processors and other hardware announcements, the company showed off a highlight video that appeared to show the backside of the new Xbox series X.

But there was a major problem, someone at AMD purchased a render from TurboSquid and it was not accurate to what is actually shipping with the next-generation console. AMD is building the CPU/GPU for the next generation console, so when they show off the hardware, myself and many others, assumed that it would be accurate.

The problem is now that the Internet is filled with information that is showcasing the next generation Xbox series X inaccurately, the ports in the render, while not too far from the truth, are not right…let’s set the record straight.

Following this snafu, I was able to confirm with several insiders about the actual ports on the current early iterations of the hardware. Keep in mind, these may not be final and are subject to change but do come from multiple people familiar with the hardware.

As it stands right now, the series X features, on the back of the hardware, two USB-A ports (of the SuperSpeed variety), ethernet, a single HDMI port, optical audio, and a power connection. There is also another port on the back that may be used for debugging but there wasn’t an agreement on the nature of its functionality. The image at the top of this post shows a basic outline of how those ports appear on the actual hardware.

Also, on the back of the device are openings for air intake as well; all of the ports are located on the lower half of the hardware. Keep in mind, there is also a USB-A port on the front of the console but for now, it looks like Microsoft is sticking with the older USB style port.

I do wish that the series X would use Type-C as that is where the market is headed and is more user-friendly but that’s not currently be used on the early hardware iterations. As always, these ports could change before release but that’s what I am hearing the series X is using today.

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Comments (30)

30 responses to “The Ports on the Xbox Series X”

  1. reformedctrlz

    I'll miss the second HDMI port. The feature was limited, obviously - but it is incredibly convenient to be able to have my Switch plugged into that port since my xbox is the primary device on my TV.

    • drewidian

      In reply to ReformedCtrlZ:

      I have 2 Xbox Ones and an Xbox One X in our home. All use the HDMI input either for Cable integration or for input of a PS4. It's one of the best things about this generation of hw. Not having to show my family how to switch inputs or change the channel on cable has been great. I just had to teach them to say "XBox... Watch HBO" or whatever channel they wanted to watch and it would just switch it. It's great and if the Xbox Series X doesn't have it, I won't make it the center piece of our entertainment system. Yes I game, but I'll have to make the receiver the main switcher and not the Series X. What makes it great, is getting notifications from friends who come online and may want to game, while I'm watching TV. That is a fantastic experience that can't be duplicated on the PS4.

      • cawoodstock

        In reply to drewidian:

        I'm right there with you. Plugging my cable box into the Xbox made it so easy for the whole family to just go to their app whether games, tv, streaming, music etc. It will be a big bummer if this all disappears and I have to ditch 1 interface for many.

      • wright_is

        In reply to drewidian:

        Interesting. With my last 3 TVs, in Europe, apart from the BluRay, I haven't plugged anything into the HDMI ports. Nearly every TV has built in terrestrial (DVB-T), satellite (DVB-S2) and cable (DVB-C) receivers, so there are no external boxes to plug in and the current TV also has built-in Chromecast.

        We just use the 60 or so FTA satellite channels and the HDPlus channels with a decrypter card slotted into the port on the back of the TV.

        I don't game, so I don't have an Xbox, but it seems like the US is a very different market. Don't you use the industry standard DVB-S2 and DVB-C for satellite and cable reception respectively?

        • rockymcvey

          In reply to wright_is:

          (In the US) Even my cable company has put everything in app, so I ditched my cable box some years ago. My TV has Roku built in with my cable app, so the HDMI in has been pointless to me for awhile now. Although I will say, I used it quite a bit when I first bought my original Xbox One back in 2013, but technology has moved on since then.

          Every HDMI port on my television are being used thou, everyone with a different gaming system.

  2. Skier7667

    OK - so with only 1 HDMI port, what that means if I understand correctly is that you won't be able to connect your setup Cable box for TV in order to send the HDMI signal from the Cable Set-top Box to the new Xbox.


    Am I reading this correctly?

    • poddie

      In reply to Skier7667:

      Mostly correct, though I would clarify from "NO TV VIEWING VIA THE NEW XBOS SERIES X" to "NO external Cable Box TV VIEWING VIA THE NEW XBOS SERIES X".

      Obviously, anyone who streams their TV via YouTubeTV, Sling,, Hulu, etc will still be able to use those apps. You just can't feed an external TV source through the Xbox and control it via the Xbox Series X.. This is something a very small percentage of people do (in fact I suspect VERY few even understand it had this capability), but it is a shame to lose it.

      I suspect an additional eventual goal is to stop paying for the guide data. If the number of users is very small, this is probably looked at as an expense that brings very little benefit (just like the HDMI in port). So it does make sense to drop the port if they eventually want to stop buying the data.

  3. poddie

    I really, really hope they don't drop the IR port. I know it's probably not used by many, but when needed it's a huge benefit. Likewise with the IR blaster on the front... in most cases that works great without even using the cable. But it allows me to use just the Xbox remote and allow the Xbox to power on the TV and control volume without buying a crappy universal remote for each TV. And the Xbox sends specific power on vs power off commands to the TV... so you don't end up with it being "out of sync" like most universal remotes that just send a power toggle

    Second, if they don't go with USB-C they are simply insane. There is no reason to go with USB-A... if this console is going to be around for many years, don't start it out with a port that is already a dinosaur. Just toss a USB-C/A adapter in the box for those that are still behind the times.

    I know some will also miss the HDMI in. It's not something I ever use, but it would be nice to keep it.

  4. Elan Gabriel

    So... It's not final specs, based on a dev kit, not "revealed" but hinted by sources. What a click bait article, that's now being linked to on all of the main gaming sites. Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong - but this is how a rumour is turned into a fact.

    (And no, that you mentioned "might change" is not the same when the headline is saying otherwise).

    To the point, if true, I guess they will save the USB-C to the 2022-2023 refresh, otherwise they won't have much new to offer externally. HDMI in is either a key feature or a dust collecting port. Sadly for the first group, they're the minority. It's all about the money.

  5. Rcandelori

    I fail to see how USB-C is more user-friendly. No doubt it's the future and they ought to include at least one USB-C port but the reality is that most legacy peripherals use USB-A. Same goes for laptops.

    • evox81

      In reply to Rcandelori:

      You've clearly never tried to plug in a USB cable, behind a device that's inconvenient to move, and failed to find the proper orientation despite flipping the A-type connector a half dozen times.

      • wright_is

        In reply to evox81:

        Agreed, although it should be relatively easy, the side with the seam is the underside, you can feel that with your finger, even if you can't see the connector. That said, even if you have it the right way round, it sometimes doesn't want to go in.

        On the other hand, USB-C is a guessing game, you know it will plug in, but you don't know if it will necessarily work, because you can't see the little icon on the port that says what it does.

        USB-C 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 or 4.0, USB-C + DisplayPort Video or USB-C + Thunderbolt.

        Heck, my laptop has 2 USB-C ports, the power adapter can only be plugged into the first one, but a Thunderbolt docking station, which provides power, can only be stuck into the second port!

        • ivarh

          In reply to wright_is:

          Thats one of the things Apple have done right. Since they started with USB all the USB ports have been the same. Before USB-C it was USB-A that all did USB 3.0 and before then all the ports did USB 2. No ports with different colours and capabilities. After they went all USB-C on their laptops, all the ports can charge and have Thunderbolt.

  6. brettscoast

    Good post Brad

    I think its a retrograde step for xbox not including USB-C /HDMI if that turns out to be the case. Users now demand the latest hardware for their hard earned dollar

  7. brendan_hallett

    No HDMI in, where will I plug in my Chromecast!!!!

  8. north of 49th

    In the year 2020, I don't think we still need an optical port. Modern equipment typically supports HDMI and modern TVs typically have an optical output for those that need to hook up an older soundbar or whatever. My humble 2 cents would be to dump the optical port in favour of a USB Type C latest gen port (USB 4.0 upgradable at a future date would be nice) that would support hard drives, video, sound etc.

  9. brothernod

    The loss of HDMI-In pains me. It’s going to make using the XsX feel like a regression in terms of simplicity. Ugh.

  10. chaad_losan

    If it's not going to have tv passthough then I do not care at all. I'll keep my current consoles.

    • elitemike

      In reply to chaad_losan:

      Everyone I know uses this feature but MS seems to have data that suggests otherwise. If I were them I'd leave it and make a purely HDMI in port (18Gbps). Get rid of the guide, but leave programmable IR so the xbox could control whatever it is you want.

      I hate switching between 2 devices which I currently do (xbox and nvidia shield). It will become 3 If MS doesn't fix 3rd party audio support (I only use the shield for apps that don't have full audio pass through capabilities). All apps should be allowed to either use atmos/dts-x container like Netflix and others already do, or they need to allow passthrough like the bluray app can do.

      Back to 100% gaming focus I guess. MS was setup to own the living room but they failed and it's a shame.

    • willc

      In reply to chaad_losan:

      It wouldn’t be a Microsoft product if it wasn’t missing crucial features.

  11. will

    Microsoft will again refuse to use current ports on hardware for some reason. Hopefully this will change and they fully embrace USB Type C. USB Type C, with the Gen 2 spec, has significantly higher transfer speeds and would be good for those that wish to use external SSD drives that are pretty fast now.

    Not sure if USB4 will be ready by the end of the year, but it would be nice to have.

  12. rossdelliott

    While I think USB-C makes sense from a more “future proof” standpoint, I can’t help but think the USB-A is more of a compatibility issue. I have controllers (charge via USB-A), an external HD, and a wireless headset that I currently use with my Xbox One X that I would like to continue to use with the next gen model, as well.

  13. T182

    Wow. i figured i was the only one who used the HDMI-In... was the only one whom used Media Center, Zune, etc.

  14. JacobTheDev

    Controllers will use Type-C, right? I imagine they're not going with Type-C on the back of the thing so as to allow standard external hard drives to be connected without too much hassle.

  15. alimaggs

    Thanks Brad. Ever-so-slightly gutted the HDMI-in appears to be gone. I know the media capabilities of the Xbox One were demoted/removed over time, but it is really convenient to be able to have one box, with one remote for games, streaming, and live TV. In the UK, at least, the pass-through works really well. Will have to re-adapt to switching sources, and I better hunt down the television remote :).

  16. bsd107

    Here is an actual strong reason to use USB-C:

    Have at least one Thunderbolt port to allow fast connection to external SSD. Both MS and Sony keep touting their upcoming SSD tech for the consoles. Allow external high speed expansion.

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