Next-gen Xbox will reportedly work with set-top boxes to let console control TV services

Rumors that Microsoft's next-generation Xbox will require a persistent Internet connection make a little more sense if a new report is accurate.

According to a report by The Verge, the next-generation Xbox will work with subscription television set-top boxes, letting the console control the entertainment services. The report indicates that the service requires a persistent Internet connection because of streaming services and content information.

If the report's information is accurate, the next-gen Xbox will work with set-top boxes through the use of HDMI – the signal will be passed through the high-definition format cable, and the Xbox will then use its own software and services that will include a custom interface. The report indicates that Microsoft already has partnerships in place with service providers for in-depth functionality. Support for some providers will be rolled out gradually, the report claims, although the basic functionality will be available when the console launches.

The report meshes with leaked specifications from January for the next-gen Xbox that indicated the console would include an HDMI-in port.

Microsoft recently foreshadowed improved TV services on its Xbox console when it agreed to sell Mediaroom to Ericsson earlier this week. When the deal was announced, a Microsoft representative said the company "is dedicating all TV resources to Xbox in a continued mission to make it the premium entertainment service that delivers all the games and entertainment consumers want."

Though the report claims an always-on Internet connection will be required for the television services, it doesn't make mention of if the same requirement will exist for video games or other features.

In addition to the console itself, the next-generation Kinect sensor is said to play a role in the TV service. According to the report, the sensor will detect when multiple people are in a room and will "detect eye movement to pause content when a viewer turns their head away from a TV."

Microsoft's rumored Xbox TV set-top box is still in development, the report says, although it likely won't debut until next year at the earliest.

The next-generation Xbox unveiling is rumored to take place May 21, and a recent report said the console will be "expensive" when it launches, reportedly in early November. A $99 Xbox 360 will be revealed when the next-gen Xbox is revealed, according to that report.

Source: The Verge

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I think if its done properly and MS remember that they have customers outside of the US then this could be really good.

Don't forget with the next generation of Kinect potentially baked in, you can probably also change channels, start recording, play a recorded program, etc, via voice command, so a remote won't always be needed right at hand.

I am sure that the eye/pause tv "feature" can be an on or off toggle. How many of you (like me) have the tv on for background noise while doing something else?

This better work with DirecTV!!! I cringe when I read "cable box". And if they are moving everything towards the "app" on the device. DirecTV could just have an app in the xbox where I log in with my account info. (Live Xfinity).

This sounds good to me. Looking forward to this if true. Currently use my lg motion remote to deal with both tv and change channels so this would be good to away with the remote all together. I probably won't need to change input again because everything I would need should be on the Xbox. Tv, Netflix, games, music.

akav0id said,
I'm guessing this is will be "US Only"

I imagine it will be wherever television companies make deals with Microsoft on this. So, if they have similar problems as they did with the Zune, it might be in pockets... But we can't blame them for other companies unwillingness to make deals...

akav0id said,
I'm guessing this is will be "US Only"

I wouldn't think so. MS has been pushing really damn hard at getting more world wide acceptance of their services. Of course they will differ between regions as does terrestrial television.

freak180 said,
I assume you own the new xbox? if not, shut up

Well, the reasoning that there will be an option to turn that off is hardly a great leap... lol

The comment from freak180 did come across as a complaint, but if the original comment was more thoroughly explained, it might have prevented a troll-like comeback.
For example, If I am eating while watching TV and look down for a bit, will the TV show pause? Or if I look out the window at something that just happened will it pause then or will it have a timer where it pauses after a certain amount of time.
I'm not in favor of a device that "thinks" it knows what is best for me, but certainly since you can pressumbly turn it off that may not matter.

Microsoft is basically making their own version of google tv. I like my google tv but if the next xbox includes this functionality I will def buy it.

Not sure it will be fun to use.

There is no way they can change channels on the HDMI feed without using an external IR blaster, which is inherently slow and somewhat unreliable.

Nice way to support lots of existing hardware but provides a clunky solution.
I have a hard time believing Microsoft is massively betting on this.

It is called Consumer Electronics Control. CEC allows you to control multiple devices with one remote through the HDMI cable. With an Xbox remote, if the Xbox is connected through HDMI to the TV, receiver, etc it will all work with one remote.

Edit: Also, devices can control others through CEC, so Xbox can drive other devices without the user needing to interact. For example, turn on your receiver and start playing a specific radio channel at 7:00AM to wake you up.

TheCyberKnight said,
Not sure it will be fun to use.

There is no way they can change channels on the HDMI feed without using an external IR blaster, which is inherently slow and somewhat unreliable.

Nice way to support lots of existing hardware but provides a clunky solution.
I have a hard time believing Microsoft is massively betting on this.

That's only true if the Xbox isn't able to talk directly to the box itself via some other protocol. Since the story says this will be a slow rollout, my guess is it requires a newer cable box that can receive commands over IP.

Then again, I don't see why they don't just make everything work over IP. HDMI in just seems like a legacy solution to me.

SoylentG said,
It is called Consumer Electronics Control. CEC allows you to control multiple devices with one remote through the HDMI cable. With an Xbox remote, if the Xbox is connected through HDMI to the TV, receiver, etc it will all work with one remote.

CEC doesn't have commands to let to change channels, and no older cable boxes support CEC.

It is not a cluncky solution since I am using my Xbox as an additional U-verse cable box, and I am using a Logitech Universal remote to do everything with U-verse. Only difference with the upcoming console, your Xbox can handle the storage of the recorded shows (hopefully).

I have mentioned this before during the Always On / Always On Internet debates here, that MS will use this featuer for IPTV, and for that to happen, the system has to be ON and always connected to the Internet to record your shows.

dagamer34 said,

CEC doesn't have commands to let to change channels, and no older cable boxes support CEC.

CEC has tuner control and remote pass through. I know I have channel buttons on my Sony Blu Ray player, but since my TV does not support it I have never tried it. But if it is not supported, then it should work through remote pass through, and since information can be queried for using system information, it can find which control to use and adapt to it.

Correct, older cable boxes do not support it, but then you could just trade the old one in for a new one that does. I went into Comcast a few weeks ago, gave them my old cable box and got a new one that had some additional features. It was not hard to do.

TheCyberKnight said,
Not sure it will be fun to use.

There is no way they can change channels on the HDMI feed without using an external IR blaster, which is inherently slow and somewhat unreliable.

Nice way to support lots of existing hardware but provides a clunky solution.
I have a hard time believing Microsoft is massively betting on this.

theres no reason an IR blaster should be slower than a tv remote or unreliable,unless the software written to use it is complete ****.

and it most likely will use a wireless IR blaster kind of device.

Fus10n said,
Why don't they just make a great gaming console..

Who said they haven't? But the move isnt suprising because Microsoft has been increasing the X360's music and video services over the last few years. ANd now those Xbox entertainment services are also available on other platforms.

In a way its a must-have feature because if you create a device powerful enough to play high-end games it might as well add more software functionality that can use that same power for other tasks. This will certainly make the Xbox a more attractive offer to those looking to also invest in other entertainment products for the living room.

Fus10n said,
Why don't they just make a great gaming console..

They already did that and I'm sure that will continue into the next generation... But being in the living room, why not do other things that people are going to want to make use of? I think this is a cool feature.

100 percent disagree that it should be a gaming console first.. I watch more youtube and netflix on my xbox then I do playing games.. also streaming movies from my windows 8 PC to my big screen.. have not sat down and played a game on my xbox in about a year..

Anthony Tosie said,
Why limit it? I use my Xbox for gaming and video content. It's an entire entertainment device.

Power consumption, noise... I can think of a LOT of reasons not to use the xbox as more than a gaming device.

Fus10n said,
Jesus, there is no talking to any of you.. I never said it was a bad console.

lol

I see what you're saying, i disagree though as i'd like it to be an all in one entertainment device but ONLY if it doesn't sacrifice one things quality for another.

srbeen said,

Power consumption, noise... I can think of a LOT of reasons not to use the xbox as more than a gaming device.


Power consumption? that's for a mobile device. if you worry about your electricity bill don't worry it shouldn't be more than couple of dollors each month.
noise? why would a device get noisy just for adding a TV service? heavy games are a lot worse for making it hot.

That is just it with me.. The reason I don't play my PS3 or 360 is because everytime I turn it on it has a firmware update, put in a game, game update, ect..Maybe it will be a good thing if the Xbox is always on.. I just never had near as much fun on my xbox 360 or PS3 as my ps2 or xbox.. or really any last gen console.. I know there are many fun games and cool features.. but I just liked putting in a game and just playing it.. I think that is why I play my 3ds so much lol just close it .. paused.. open boom right back where you left off.. no booting or anything instantly back on.. I didn't mean to intend to be an ass but I just miss just going..

Yeah they already have made a great gaming console, now some cool features and make it more the main unit in the living room, and it will be an extraordinary console.

Fus10n said,
That is just it with me.. The reason I don't play my PS3 or 360 is because everytime I turn it on it has a firmware update, put in a game, game update, ect..Maybe it will be a good thing if the Xbox is always on.. I just never had near as much fun on my xbox 360 or PS3 as my ps2 or xbox.. or really any last gen console.. I know there are many fun games and cool features.. but I just liked putting in a game and just playing it.. I think that is why I play my 3ds so much lol just close it .. paused.. open boom right back where you left off.. no booting or anything instantly back on.. I didn't mean to intend to be an ass but I just miss just going..

Totally agree, it's got to the point now where i can't have a quick game on something or a quick watch of that program i missed because there's always an update of some sort waiting.

I'll put money that being what the 'Always on' rumor is meant to solve.

S3P€hR said,

Power consumption? that's for a mobile device. if you worry about your electricity bill don't worry it shouldn't be more than couple of dollors each month.
noise? why would a device get noisy just for adding a TV service? heavy games are a lot worse for making it hot.

OK, Glad you live somewhere you can afford to waste power. Theres quite a difference. Your xbox 360 turned off burns as much as my media player does being on..
Noise is incredibly noticeable in devices that require active cooling, like the xbox, or the xbox 360, or the xbox they release after that. I guess spending $500 to watch TV on a device thats costing you $50 more a year to run is acceptable tho. I'll stick to my WDTV box that burns 12W and works 100x better.

when you view away it pauses... I guess i'll never be able to watch a movie with my girl on it.. thank you Microsoft.
Wont it be to charge for the # of viewers? Just like you're legally not allowed to show a normal movie to more then 10 or so people? ...

Shadowzz said,
when you view away it pauses... I guess i'll never be able to watch a movie with my girl on it.. thank you Microsoft.
Wont it be to charge for the # of viewers? Just like you're legally not allowed to show a normal movie to more then 10 or so people? ...

I'm sure you can turn it off..