Microsoft recently sold off its IPTV portfolio to Ericsson to put all its resources into the next-gen Xbox project, and it certainly looks like it could use all it has considering the ambitious plans for the Xbox TV experience. The Verge reports that Microsoft might bake in a feature in its next-generation console that would take over a TV and set-top box to overlay a Microsoft-developed UI on top of the existing service provider’s interface.
While the next Xbox’s always-on connection will be used for streaming content and access to TV signals. Microsoft has implemented functionality where a cable box signal is passed to the Xbox over HDMI. This will allow the company to overlay a UI and Xbox-specific features on top of an existing TV channel or set-top box.
A concept for the next Xbox
The next-generation Xbox will supposedly go a step further than Google TV thanks to exclusive tie-ups with major content providers. However, the Xbox’s TV features will be basic at launch and more advanced features will come as part of later updates.
Besides this TV functionality, the console will come with a next-generation Kinect sensor that is said to detect multiple people simultaneously and even detect eye movement to pause content when a viewer turns their head away from the screen, à la the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it will be selling its Mediaroom IPTV business to Ericsson, moving away from the business of supporting and developing software for millions of set-top boxes worldwide. The sale was a clear signal that Microsoft wants to double its efforts for the home entertainment business rather than tying up resources in IPTV. The company is also planning to launch a low-cost “Xbox TV” set-top box in the first half of 2014, and not with the next-generation gaming console, which is widely expected to be announced next month.
The console is said to be instantly ready for users to play, and will always maintain a network connection so that console software and games are always up-to-date. The new Kinect is expected to have a wider field of view, better tracking and no motors. Thanks to the Blu-ray drive, games will have to be installed on the HDD and the console will not be able to stream data from the optical disc. It will have a system that will allow gamers to begin playing while the game is being installed to the HDD rather than having to wait till the installation is complete.
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