Every time a new console or even a new game is in the works, there's always lots of speculation as to what it will have. Take the Wii U rumors for starters. There were all kinds of wild rumors until the thing was unveiled at E3, which squelched a great number of them while at the same time proving that others were right.
With the next Xbox—that I will call NextBox just because I don't like Xbox 720—we're already seeing more of the same, except in this instance, there is some official paperwork to back it up.
Kotaku discovered a patent filing from December 27th that granted Microsoft a patent for a technological marvel that could serve as both a video game console and a digital video recorder (DVR).
Patent #8083593 says the following:
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.
The Xbox 360 is currently a master of streaming video, and with the proper computer peripherals on an up-to-date PC, users can watch and record (on the PC) basic TV already without needing a cable or dish provider. So this isn't really that surprising of a turn of events to incorporate recording into the NextBox.
However, if this is true, it's a welcome non-surprise to say the least. The next question will be what will be required for this recording. Will you need a cable or dish subscription like you do for NFL GameDay on the PS3? If it's a private subscription through Microsoft, how much content can we expect to actually have access to? If you don't get fully what I mean, look at the differences between what you can access through Hulu.com vs. what you can get on Hulu Plus devices.
Hopefully more on this will be revealed at E3.