Families that own a game console tend to keep it as a central part of the living room experience. They watch Netflix, Hulu and other digital programming all through the console. There’s always been one aspect of the living room entertainment ecosystem that game consoles have yet to crack though – the TV.
The Verge reports that the next Xbox is being built as the centerpiece of the living room. In other words, Microsoft’s next console will take over your TV and set-top box to bring the Xbox experience to every part of your entertainment center. The rumored move to take over the TV is only the natural evolution as Microsoft has been turning the Xbox 360 into more and more of an entertainment machine, instead of a game console, over the past few years.
To accomplish its goal of taking over the living room, Microsoft is reportedly changing the next Xbox hardware in some significant ways. The first is an HDMI-in that will have users routing their set-top box through the console. Doing so will overlay a Xbox-style UI on all television and film content to keep users firmly planted in the Xbox experience.
As for Kinect, the company will be reportedly using its Orwellian tech to watch people as they watch TV. It will watch the eye movement of the person to automatically pause a TV show or movie when they look away. Samsung will be using a similar technology in the Galaxy S 4.
Those wanting the Xbox TV experience without the console, Microsoft is also rumored to be making an Xbox TV set top box. There’s not many details about the hardware just yet, but it seems like it will be the Microsoft equivalent of an Apple TV or Roku player. It’s rumored that the Xbox TV will launch next year – after the next Xbox’ launch later this year.
Microsoft can’t afford to let all these rumors, especially the controversial ones, run rampant for much longer. The company is rumored to be holding an Xbox reveal event on May 21, but that’s not been confirmed yet. It would probably be in Microsoft’s best interest to announce the console sooner than later to take control of the narrative that’s getting out of control thanks to these rumors.