Microsoft gets patent for game console DVR technology

Microsoft has been pushing for its Xbox 360 game console to be more than a device that plays games. The recent launch of a bunch of streaming video and audio apps for the Xbox 360 shows that Microsoft would like to see the Xbox 360, and future versions of the console, be more of a fully featured entertainment center.

Now Bloomberg reports that Microsoft has been awarded a patent that gives the company the technology rights to add new features to game consoles. Specifically, Patent 8,083,593 will give Microsoft a way to turn a game console into a digital recorder. The patent was first filed in 2007 and was finally awarded to Microsoft in December 2011.

Adding a DVR-like feature to a game console would allow such a device to record and play back live TV shows along with movies and music, according to the patent. The DVR could record its media while a user was playing a game. The DVR feature could even record programs while the game feature was turned off.

Adding DVR features is a natural extension of Microsoft's ideas for the Xbox console business. It's possible that Microsoft could add such features in a future major Xbox 360 software update or it could wait until it could add the feature to Microsoft's next generation game console, which is not expected to launch until 2013 at the earliest.

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Microsoft appear to be ahead of the game in the "smart TV" arena with the new xbox dashboard and TV services. I guess they are capturing the market early. Google's TV looks more like a myth while Apple seems to be announcing its own platform next month. But Microsoft putting all those services in the Xbox; well done indeed.

Riva said,
Microsoft appear to be ahead of the game in the "smart TV" arena with the new xbox dashboard and TV services. I guess they are capturing the market early. Google's TV looks more like a myth while Apple seems to be announcing its own platform next month. But Microsoft putting all those services in the Xbox; well done indeed.

Riva said,
Microsoft appear to be ahead of the game in the "smart TV" arena with the new xbox dashboard and TV services. I guess they are capturing the market early. Google's TV looks more like a myth while Apple seems to be announcing its own platform next month. But Microsoft putting all those services in the Xbox; well done indeed.

Not sure how they are ahead of the game when Sony have had a DVR option for 2 years Lovefilm(UK)/Netflix (US) and also catch-up TV (UK) PPV/Baseball etc (in US) available for almost a year now. Not forgetting that to get access to most of these functions that MS have offered you need to be on their top tier of service.

What Microsoft have done right it seems is get it to be able to be used as an extender with cable companies which is pretty decent if you don't want to buy another box. But other than that, what they are doing doesn't seem anything that we've not already seen before.

Well, you know what? I'm going to get a patent on allowing a computer to record television broadcasts! That's so obvious that it hasn't been patented yet either.

Well guess we'll those 1-2TB HDDS better come down in pricing now. With all this content, the 250-320GB HDDs are gonna explode!

SHoTTa35 said,
Well guess we'll those 1-2TB HDDS better come down in pricing now. With all this content, the 250-320GB HDDs are gonna explode!

I am sure you will be able to record shows on your xbox and save them on your PC over the network.

As long as it's not an overpriced feature on top of a cable bill it should be good but with on demand streaming getting bigger, seems a little redundant but if they want to be the box under the TV, DVR is the box to tick.

I hope this means inclusion of Microsoft gaming consoles into the DVR portions of their mediaroom product. I guess we have to wait until the Mediaroom conference in Feb.

This would be great for customers of the existing mediaroom partners

This is cool. The more and more of these little patents that come out, the more it's painting a picture of what the next XBox is going to be like... I can't wait.

I wouldn't be surprised that they will eventually have a add-on coaxial connection, or just build it into the console itself. You can use your xbox in conjunction with a windows media center pc, to as a tv streamer.

Doesn't almost all service providers only allow their box to be connected? Same thing is happening with HTPCs. Cool you have the hardware and software capabilities but the cable signal is encoded and only their stuff can read it.

Mouettus said,
Doesn't almost all service providers only allow their box to be connected? Same thing is happening with HTPCs. Cool you have the hardware and software capabilities but the cable signal is encoded and only their stuff can read it.

Microsoft has been making arrangements with cable companies from what I understand, and I'm sure this would continue until just about everyone allowed the next XBox...

Mouettus said,
Doesn't almost all service providers only allow their box to be connected? Same thing is happening with HTPCs. Cool you have the hardware and software capabilities but the cable signal is encoded and only their stuff can read it.

Microsoft make a product called Mediaroom which is sold to DSL and Fiber providers to produce television (IPTV) to compete with traditional cable and sattelite providers. THIS is what the patent is for.

With Google buying Motorola Mobility (makesrs of 2/3 of the IPTV cable boxes in the world) This patent couldn't come at a better time.

dotf said,

Microsoft make a product called Mediaroom which is sold to DSL and Fiber providers to produce television (IPTV) to compete with traditional cable and sattelite providers. THIS is what the patent is for.

With Google buying Motorola Mobility (makesrs of 2/3 of the IPTV cable boxes in the world) This patent couldn't come at a better time.

I didn't realize Motorolla had such a big chunk of that market. Good for Microsoft. lol

I just hope that with MS patenting almost everything their minions' mind pop up, they don't forget to include a Blu-Ray drive on their next gen console. DVDs can't handle the load nowadays and not everyone possess High Speed Internet access to get a 8.3+ GB game.

Jose_49 said,
I just hope that with MS patenting almost everything their minions' mind pop up, they don't forget to include a Blu-Ray drive on their next gen console. DVDs can't handle the load nowadays and not everyone possess High Speed Internet access to get a 8.3+ GB game.

Yeah, it's funny there are still games on the 360 that span multiple discs, I thought we left that behind with the Playstation 1.

Jose_49 said,
I just hope that with MS patenting almost everything their minions' mind pop up, they don't forget to include a Blu-Ray drive on their next gen console. DVDs can't handle the load nowadays and not everyone possess High Speed Internet access to get a 8.3+ GB game.

Agreed. There had BETTER be a Bluray drive in the next XBox. There is just no excuse to leave that out at this point. I want one device to handle everything.

You mean like the PlayTV extension has been for years on the PS3. Admittedly this is planning to be built in to the machines, but i'm amazed they have been allowed to patent it.

AbandonedTrolley said,
You mean like the PlayTV extension has been for years on the PS3. Admittedly this is planning to be built in to the machines, but i'm amazed they have been allowed to patent it.

To be fair. the way PlayTV did it is way different to the way the 360 will do it.

AbandonedTrolley said,
You mean like the PlayTV extension has been for years on the PS3. Admittedly this is planning to be built in to the machines, but i'm amazed they have been allowed to patent it.

becasue when you have the cash that microsoft has you can get pratcialy anything you want patented.

its a little odd that such a generic patent has been awarded, So what will the next xbox be. a console or dvr? they proberly did this for tax reasons, just like sony did with the ps3. it was sold as a computer not a console.

AbandonedTrolley said,
You mean like the PlayTV extension has been for years on the PS3. Admittedly this is planning to be built in to the machines, but i'm amazed they have been allowed to patent it.

It has it's own differences, not only is it part of the console and not a seperate DVB/DVR unit but from looking at the patent in question it will allow you to record while playing a game (if you want) and also it will record when the unit is off (in a reduced power mode, like when it's off but downloading something).

As far as I know, you can watch something else on tv and record another stream but can you play a game and record with the PlayTV?

The Teej said,

To be fair. the way PlayTV did it is way different to the way the 360 will do it.

Exactly, this will be built in to the machine, unlike the USB solution that Sony used. But still amazed that they can patent it. But then again I'm amazed at half the patents that get issued lol

AbandonedTrolley said,
You mean like the PlayTV extension has been for years on the PS3. Admittedly this is planning to be built in to the machines, but i'm amazed they have been allowed to patent it.

PlayTV wasn't publicly announced until August 07 (6 months after this patent was submitted).

AbandonedTrolley said,
You mean like the PlayTV extension has been for years on the PS3. Admittedly this is planning to be built in to the machines, but i'm amazed they have been allowed to patent it.

They are taking a leaf out of Apple's book and patenting technology that competitors already have out in the marketplace.

GP007 said,

As far as I know, you can watch something else on tv and record another stream but can you play a game and record with the PlayTV?

You can be playing a game and yes PlayTV will record a tv broadcast, it will also wake the machine up from standby mode. But yes this will be incorporated in to the machine.

ZakO said,

PlayTV wasn't publicly announced until August 07 (6 months after this patent was submitted).

Announced.... meaning that it had been being worked on for quite a while. The difference here I guess is that Sony have always pushed the PS3 as a multimedia entertainment machine. It's only recently that the Microsoft have pushed the 360 this way with the additional streaming etc and it's starting to be a serious media centre. I used a friends 360 at the weekend and still not a fan of the layout, too much going on for me and still reminds you that it is a console, I still prefer the clean screen of the XMB

AbandonedTrolley said,

Announced.... meaning that it had been being worked on for quite a while. The difference here I guess is that Sony have always pushed the PS3 as a multimedia entertainment machine. It's only recently that the Microsoft have pushed the 360 this way with the additional streaming etc and it's starting to be a serious media centre.


All they released at their announcement in 2007 was a render and a small generic DVR feature list that it would probably support. It took them a further 14-18 months to get an actual physical product ready for release so realistically nobody knows how long they had been working on it before announcing it. Also, it doesn't even matter because as stated above, this patent doesn't cover devices like PlayTV.

sam232 said,

They are taking a leaf out of Apple's book and patenting technology that competitors already have out in the marketplace.

To be fair, they did file the patent in 2007, before these other devices were out...

GP007 said,

It has it's own differences, not only is it part of the console and not a seperate DVB/DVR unit but from looking at the patent in question it will allow you to record while playing a game (if you want) and also it will record when the unit is off (in a reduced power mode, like when it's off but downloading something).

As far as I know, you can watch something else on tv and record another stream but can you play a game and record with the PlayTV?

It doesn't explain to me why MS should be able to patent this.

DVR is an old idea. Gaming console is an old idea. Bringing the two together technically should not be patentable.

LaP said,

It doesn't explain to me why MS should be able to patent this.

DVR is an old idea. Gaming console is an old idea. Bringing the two together technically should not be patentable.

It's more about having one device that can switch between or do multiple tasks together instead of having 2 individual devices, or in Sony's case, a "add-on" device that do their own specific jobs. The patent seems to be pretty detailed as well, we should look at it instead of just going with the general look at it.

*edit*
Here, it helps when you actually read the patent description itself....

A digital video recorder (DVR) application running alongside a television client component allows users to record media content on the gaming console. The DVR application also integrates itself with the console menu. Once integrated, users can record media content while playing games. Alternatively, users can record content when the gaming console is turned off. The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. When in the recording state, users can also switch between various other media modes, whether gaming, television, and so on.

This to me sounds more like a Software DVR option of some type and not a hardware DVR device setup like Sonys add-on box.

Edited by George P, Jan 4 2012, 7:12pm :

GP007 said,

It has it's own differences, not only is it part of the console and not a seperate DVB/DVR unit but from looking at the patent in question it will allow you to record while playing a game (if you want) and also it will record when the unit is off (in a reduced power mode, like when it's off but downloading something).

As far as I know, you can watch something else on tv and record another stream but can you play a game and record with the PlayTV?

The real question is would this feature let me record my GAME PLAY without a capture card?

L1ke 20 N1njas said,
The real question is would this feature let me record my GAME PLAY without a capture card?

That's what the patent says as well in it'd description.

"The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. "

So yes, it can, as per MS's own wording of it.