Patents Show That The Next Xbox Might Be A DVR, Too

Xbox 3, Xbox 720, NextBox… whatever you call it, lots of rumours are being floated about Microsoft's next home console. Some say it'll output Avatar-level visuals while others say it'll lean heavily on cloud architecture. But the latest hint as to Microsoft's gaming future point to their ever-increasing ambition to fuse TV, film and gaming content.

On December 27th, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted a patent to Microsoft for a device that would serve as both a game console and a digital video recorder. Patent # 8,083,593 gets described thusly:

A digital video recorder (DVR) application running alongside a television client component allows users to record media content on the gaming console. The DVR application also integrates itself with the console menu. Once integrated, users can record media content while playing games. Alternatively, users can record content when the gaming console is turned off. The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. When in the recording state, users can also switch between various other media modes, whether gaming, television, and so on.

Rumors of such a set-top box go back as far as 2007, when the patent was originally applied for, and former CEO Bill Gates was expected to announce something with many of these features at that year's CES. The proposed device would be able to record video content while a user's playing a game and would also be able to record even if the game-playing portion is powered off. It sounds an awful lot like sleep-mode functionality of the current DVRs on the market today but with a console game layer on top of it all.

Right now, the newest dashboard update makes the Xbox 360 into a streaming media hub, with content coming in from all sorts of partner apps. If the technology and aspirations in this patent make it to market, the focus in Microsoft's gaming hardware will shift from streaming to recording and storage. That might rankle content providers, who'll probably only get twitchier about letting their programming live on various devices.

Of course, the ideas in this patent may take years to show up in the real world. And the usual caveat about patents applies, too, which is that we may never see it at all. But, given Microsoft's continued drive to make the Xbox a dominating force in the living room, I think we're going to see some of these features whenever Microsoft reveals its next-generation hardware.

Recording media on gaming consoles [U.S. Patent & Trademark Office]


    So, it's like the 'play tv' thing that ps3's do now?

    Good, I've been wanting something like this for a while dammit.

      I was just thinking the same thing while reading that - it sounds like MS have patented the PS3.

        Now... sue them for patent infringment.

      Setup a Media PC and use Windows Media Center over your network, works wonderfully :)

    I'm seriously hoping the next gen of console consoles aren't going to rely heavily on cloud. With Australia's ridiculously expensive internet providers and no decent ISP's offering unlimited plans it's borderline useless here. Either the consoles have to have cloud usage as an option and not a necessity or ISP's in Australia need to get with the rest of the modern world and start offering reasonably priced internet plans with reliable service. I can't see ISP's pulling their heads in anytime in the near future.

      Unlimited plans around $70 or lower on multiple providers. How cheap does it have to get?

        TPG is $50 a month for unlimited. The quota isnt the issue with cloud gaming its the speeds we get. 1.5 to 24mbp/s is not enough to sustain lagfree cloud gaming!

        Unforutnately most providers (In Victoria at least) fail to extend their network 30kms out from the CBD. I live out near Werribee, still reasonable metropolitan, not rural in the least and we can only have Telstra. TPG and other smaller providers simply don't have the coverage outside of places like Essendon and Frankston.

        Living in the city it can be easy to forget that about 20% of Australians can't get ADSL2+. Hell, my parents can only get wireless, and their out km's out of a major town and live on the edge of three massive estates I have to assume can't get it either.

          *only eight km's.

      Most likely Cloud for Profiles on Xbox Live ect. So you'll be having your saved games in the cloud.

      rest of the stuff (like installing) will probably say the same

      I can't remember who it was, I think was a US xbox manager talking about the future of consoles, and he mentioned that whilst the internet is great in the big US cities... it's pretty bad outside those areas.

      With that in mind, and the fact that they sell tonnes of consoles to troops on deployment for use whilst overseas, I just don't see the end of physical media.

      Three little letters NBN - with the set pricing structure high speed broadband will be available and at a reasonable price... can't wait to get it!

        I love the idea of the NBN but the rollout of it so-far as been abysmal, their rollout target for mid-2012 is something like 10% complete? It's lagging pretty far behind.

    Even "unlimited" plans have "fair useage" clauses if you read the fine print.

    Can I just have a games console please? Already have a dvr, dont really need another.

      I suppose you want a phone that'll just send text messages and make phone calls, too?

      NO WAY JOSE!

    if rumours are correct and there is a greater integration with Windows 8, then it's a given that it will also be a DVR. But with the patent, it also appears you can record in game (like with Dazzle, Hauppauge etc), but wouldnt this mean you'd need a decent amount of memory to do this at the same time?

    Not to break the party or anything... but that CPU layout as described in the image above matches the Xbox 360.

    Will read the patent later methinks.

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