Another day, another set of next Xbox rumors.
The first rumor, from The Verge citing “multiple sources familiar with [Microsoft's] Xbox plans,” claims the next Xbox will be able to act as a cable box and take over your TV.
“The functionality will work by taking a cable box signal and passing it through to the Xbox via HDMI, allowing Microsoft’s console to overlay a UI and features on top of an existing TV channel or set-top box,” said The Verge, which added that this is a “key part” of the next-generation system.
The next-generation Kinect sensor, previously rumored to be bundled with the system and required to be connected for the system to function, will be able to detect multiple people and eye movement to pause content when the viewer turns their head away from the TV, according to the source.
Yesterday, Microsoft sold its Mediaroom IPTV solution to focus on its Xbox TV strategy. According to The Verge, Microsoft is planning to introduce a low-cost “Xbox TV” set-up box early next year, as well—but not alongside the next Xbox’s launch later this year.
The second rumor, from VGLeaks citing an unnamed source, details Microsoft’s supposed plans for the Xbox brand’s expansion.
Echoing previous rumors, the source claims the next Xbox won’t support backwards compatibility. However, a separate ‘Xbox Mini’ system (which could be the low-cost “Xbox TV” mentioned by The Verge), which can be connected to the console (similar Xbox 360’s HD-DVD player), will supposedly enable the console to play Xbox 360 games.
“Putting in an Xbox 360 disc into Durango [code-name for the next Xbox] will prompt the user to attach the supporting device that is sold separately,” said the source. “By separating the two devices and their functions it will ensure price competitiveness for both pieces of hardware.”
The ‘Xbox Mini’ is said to be a new model of the Xbox 360. Priced at “$149 or lower,” it requires an internet connection (this is supposedly where the rumors of “always online” for the Next Xbox come from) to function, and is “meant to compete with Apple TV.” It won’t have a disc drive, apparently, but Xbox 360 games purchased through Xbox LIVE can be played on the system.
In the area of “always online” for the next Xbox, the source claims the system will “always be online like any other device, but it will not be a requirement to play local content and it will not prevent playing used games.” Previous rumors have claimed the system must be connected to the internet to play games, and if disconnected, you’d be given a few minutes to regain your connection before your game is suspended.
The next Xbox is expected to be revealed on May 21. Both The Verge and a previous rumor have backed the date.