What about the skyboxes? Why can't we just stick to textured pofs? Or are you in love with the motion blur thing?
Getting stars to look correct everywhere on the inside of a model is infamously difficult, I've tried. At least if you want to use one single texture to cover the whole inside of the sphere, that is... you need to use pretty high resolution in order to avoid the stars becoming ridiculous blurred blots of white. I find 4096x2948 slightly too small for that purpose. And, obviously there's the issue of polar distortions, which are pretty hard to sort in their own right.
BtRL Demo did it quite interestingly, apparently they used some extent of clever tiling. But there's some distortion in their skyboxes nevertheless.
If the stars are autogenerated properly to the background (either using bitmaps or procedurally, like the retail lines), then you don't need to texture the bulk of the skybox - in fact you don't need the skyboxes outer sphere at all in that case, unless if you want it to show something else than stars.
Motion blur on the stars has always looked kinda off to me, since retail even, because it never affected anything else. That's the main reason why I currently also prefer skyboxes and would love to have the retail star count set to zero (especially seeing how they hover over the top of skyboxed planet textures...). But if they were made properly, they would be obviously a whole lot better than having the stars on skybox texture.
And, I can't help but to point out the worst flaw of the retail stars - they don't properly align with other elements on the background when you turn your ship. Whatever is done to them, it should be possibly the most important thing to fix in the system in my opinion... but if it's going through complete renovation, it will likely be done, too.