By Vamien McKalin | Apr 11, 2013 02:39 PM EDT
In an April 9 opinion piece, we suggested that the "always online" chit-chat about the Microsoft Xbox 720 might not be what folks are making it out to be, and it appears we were right on the money.
According to sources who informed The Verge, the next-generation Xbox will have a feature that takes over your TV and set-top box similar to what Google TV has brought to the table, but in a more refined package. This feature requires "always online" connectivity to work, in order for it to stream and access TV signals; however, "always online" is not a requirement for games.
How would it work? The Verge states that the Xbox 720 will perform this task by taking a cable box signal and re-routing it though the new Xbox via HDMI. Such a move would allow Microsoft to overlay the Xbox 720 user interface over the set top box or TV channel.
"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. We're told that this is a key part of the next-generation Xbox and that it will go a step further than Google's TV implementation thanks to Microsoft's partnerships with content providers."
Apart from all the new TV functionality, the next Xbox 720 will have support for the next generation Kinect. The device will be able to track up to six individuals at the same time, along with the ability to track movements of the eyes. What this means is, if the user turns away from the screen, the content would pause until the player faces back in the direction of the display.
There also has been talk of Microsoft working on a new Xbox 360 redesign called Xbox Mini, according to VGLeaks. This little thing, which is codenamed "Stingray" will not play disc-based games; it is "always online" in every sense, as its main purpose is for media consumption, though it is possible to download games via Xbox Games on Demand. In addition, if you want to play your old Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox 720, the Xbox Mini will be required to pull it off.
The rumored reveal of Microsoft the next-generation Xbox is just around the corner, so all these rumors and speculations should be cleared up soon.
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