A couple of new and somewhat related rumours surrounding the expected next Xbox console (codenamed Durango) from Microsoft have surfaced today, with VGLeaks, and The Verge alleging to have gleamed new information from their inside sources (thanks VG247
Although it does a pretty poor job of explaining things, The VGLeaks article
appears to bear the best news, indicating that the rumoured requirement for a constant Internet connection that has been making headlines has been missattributed to a new minaturised SKU of the Xbox 360.
Durango itself will also always be online like any other device (correct with rumors), but it will not be a requirement to play local content and it will not prevent playing used games. Putting in an Xbox 360 disc into Durango will prompt the user to attach the supporting device that is sold separately.
They described this so-called Xbox Mini device, as a digital-download only console that must be always connected to the Internet when used in a standalone manner, but that it can also be somehow attached to the Durango Xbox to allow it to read Xbox 360 discs, and function as a backwards compatibility add-on for the older console's games.
This would presumably mean that the PowerPC chip in the attached Xbox Mini would be used to run the Xbox 360 game code from the disc in the drive of the Durango console (which is rumoured to use more traditional x86 PC architecture in its processor). Not the most elegant solution, but perhaps better than the latency issues posed by the Gaikai cloud-streaming solution for backwars compatibility expected in the PlayStation 4.
Putting in an Xbox 360 disc into Durango will prompt the user to attach the supporting device that is sold separately. By separating the two devices and their functions it will ensure price competitiveness for both pieces of hardware.The Verge
article potentially sheds some light on why the next Xbox has been rumoured to have ports for both HDMI out, and HDMI in, describing some comprehensive new TV media features.
The functionality will work by taking a cable box signal and passing it through to the Xbox via HDMI, allowing Microsoft's console to overlay a UI and features on top of an existing TV channel or set-top box. We're told that this is a key part of the next-generation Xbox and that it will go a step further than Google's TV implementation thanks to Microsoft's partnerships with content providers. Extended support for various cable services will be rolled out gradually, but the basic functionality will be available at launch.
Microsoft is still widely expected to be planning their big Xbox-centric reveal with an event on May 12st, a rumour that has now been corroborated by many sources.