The next Xbox is due to come out later this year, but we still don’t know a whole lot about ‘Durango’. One thing revealed today by The Verge is how the next Xbox is being positioned to completely become the center of your living room – for all things entertainment. The next Xbox will reportedly take over a TV through the cable box.

It will work in a similar fashion to Google TV. The next Xbox will work by taking a signal from a cable box via HDMI into the Xbox. Then the Xbox will overlay its own features and UI over that particular channel. The functionality will be basic at launch, but overtime roll out unique support for various cable services/channels.

Crazy cool right? We’re not done yet. In addition to the cable TV functionality above, sources to The Verge say that the next-generation Kinect will have an even larger role than it currently does. The next Kinect will be able to detect users with higher fidelity than it currently does. It will be able to tell the number of people in the room and to detect eye movement in order to pause the movie or TV show when a viewer looks away from the screen. While this probably won’t be active with multiple people in a room, it would certainly be handy for those solo binge sessions on Netflix.

Both are really interesting features for the next Xbox. I’m most excited about the potential for it to replace my cable box. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft would leverage that feature with SmartGlass. I’m picturing a scenario where you watch a sporting event through the Xbox and can have supplemental data about the game on a Surface or Windows Phone. For example, you could be watching the Lakers hobble into the playoffs on ESPN through your Xbox. On the TV screen you’ll get the typical ESPN feed, but through the Xbox’s UI. On your Surface you could see all the stats from the game, like how much work Kobe is doing to keep any playoff hopes alive (this season has been such a disappointment, you can tell I’m bitter).

Anyways, Microsoft is planning an event in May to announce and highlight some features of the next Xbox. There’s also E3 right around the corner. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the next Xbox and how it ties in with the larger Microsoft ecosystem. Oh yeah, and if you're curious about the expected specs for the next Xbox, get at them here

Source: The Verge