Will the Next-Gen Xbox Kill Your TV Cable Box?

Published On April 23, 2013 | Gaming

We’ve gone way beyond the era of the rabbit-eared television set, folks. However, even cutting-edge services like Netflix and Hulu, while enhancing the digestion of digital programming, have been limited to use through a console. The viewing of basic cable TV still requires an additional set top box, but that may all soon be changing. With the roll-out of the next-gen Xbox console, Microsoft hopes to take over your TV in a way similar to Google TV.

Microsoft intends to unveil the new Xbox console with a preview on May 21, followed by a full launch expected in June at this year’s E3 convention.

How It Works

According to The Verge, Microsoft intends to take over your living room with the introduction of a feature which allows its console to assume control of the TV and cable box. This will require a constant online connection, but will allow the use of entertainment services and provide an always-on connection for streaming and television signals.

The console will make use of a cable box signal passed through the Xbox via an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) pass-through, which will allow Microsoft to overlay a user interface and other features on top of an existing television channel or cable box. This would give the user a single way to control his or her entertainment experience, whether watching television or playing games.

The Eyes Have It

Also planned is the addition of a next-generation Kinect sensor to be bundled with the new Xbox console. This high-tech piece of equipment will be able to detect multiple people simultaneously and will even be able to detect eye movement and pause content when the viewer turns his or her head away from the screen, a feature similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Smart Pause.

Content Providers

Google TV was plagued by slow hardware coupled with the lack of decent available content. Microsoft has solved the latter problem with partnerships with content providers already in place.

For those wishing to forego the game console, Microsoft is said to be developing an Xbox TV set-top box. This component will function in a manner similar to that of Apple TV or a Roku player. Its release is rumored for next year following the new Xbox console’s release this year.

– By Rich Seward

Rich Seward is an instructional designer and freelance writer living in the Denver, CO area with his wife, dog and two cats. An avid reader, his interests include technology, philosophy, mythology, history, and a range of other subjects. He holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with an emphasis in Archival Studies.

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