If, like me, you're looking to tidy up the entertainment center and cut the amount of boxes you have wired into your TV, then this bit of news might make you smile. The next Xbox might get DVR functions, allowing you to toss TiVo aside, once and for all.
Granted by the USPTO on December 27, Microsoft's new patent allows for the DVR capabilities for a game console:
By way of example and not limitation, in one aspect, a digital video recorder (DVR) application allows users to record media content on a gaming console. The DVR application also integrates itself with the console menu. Once integrated, users can record media content while playing games (or they can record content at other times also). The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. Users are also given various choices when it comes to DVR, such as choosing resource allocation for recording of content and for system performance.
The patent outlines recording TV, video, music, games or basically any multimedia content onto the Xbox. That's great: no more extra peripherals and no more recording dongles. Soon we'll all be taping our kill shots and speed runs directly to the Xbox, which some games, such as Halo: Reach, already found a way to make happen.
In Europe, PlayStation 3 owners have had the "PlayTV" accessory that turns the console into a DVR. Similarly, in Japan, an official Sony device called the "Torne" also attaches to the PS3 to provide DVR features. Whereas these solutions are external plug-in devices, Microsoft's new patent is for console with integrated DVR.
There's only one thing that we don't know, and that is whether or not the next generation Xbox will have the DVR function ready to go. Not all patents are realized, or realized in time for next-gen units.
I'd say, with the way the Xbox 360 is trying to replace your cable box, DVR would be the next logical step for Microsoft's march into dominating the living room. Add in Kinect gesture and voice controls, and Microsoft's next Xbox is golden.