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Microsoft Details “all-in-one” Capabilities of XBOX ONE

Posted on the 08 November 2013 by Geekasms @geekasms

Microsoft published a blog post today with lots of their favorite features of the upcoming Xbox One.  They are really focusing on the multmedia parts of the console instead of the gaming functions.  I’m not sure how practical some of them will be, and Microsoft has a long way to go to convince people that their Xbox needs to be the center of their entertainment hub, but you certainly can’t say they aren’t being ambitious.  Here are a few highlights:  

Unleashing the Power of Your Voice
A simple voice command turns on your Xbox One, your TV, your set-top box and your AV system because Kinect for Xbox One is an Infra-Red blaster. And when you say “Xbox On,” your game is always ready to resume from wherever you left off. You can start playing your favorite game, find your favorite show, change channels, turn up the TV volume and more – with the sound of your voice, powered by Bing voice recognition technology.  Just say “Xbox, go to ESPN” and your TV will change directly to the ESPN channel. Or, “Xbox, go to Hulu Plus,” “Xbox, Volume Up,” “Xbox, Mute,” “Xbox, go to Music” – it’s simple. Kinect “talks to” your TV, set-top box and AV receiver, making it easier than ever to navigate entertainment in your living room.

This is pretty cool, but voice commands on the 360 left much to be desired.  I turned off the Kinect sensor because it didn’t recognize commands and kept pausing Netflix whenever I moved my arm. 

Biometric Sign In
Kinect can recognize you and instantly log you into your personalized home screen. Your favorite games, shows, TV channels, movies, albums, Skype contacts, recently-played apps and more can be pinned right to your home page – so you can find everything you love quickly. Biometric sign in and personalization extends to everyone in your house – each person has a home screen tailored just for them.

What happens when multiple people are present?  What if I get up and my wife walks in?  Does it switch from me to her? 

Watch Live TV via Xbox One
Xbox One lets you watch live TV from your HDMI-compatible cable or satellite box, making it easy to switch from games to live TV – all with the sound of your voice, and without having to switch TV inputs. No more multiple remotes, missed multiplayer matches while you’re watching TV, or frustrating delays. Just connect your set top box to your Xbox One and you can watch live TV through your Xbox One.

Again, sounds great, but I have my doubts.  If this works as advertised then it is a very attractive feature.  If Microsoft delivers on this type of integration then they will get their wish.  Xbox One will be more than a gaming console. 

Get a Multiplayer Invite, while you are Watching a movie or live TV
Imagine never missing a multiplayer invite, or an epic game battle while engrossed in a movie or TV episode. With Xbox One, TV and games are not separate. You can be watching your favorite show, the big game, or a movie like “Star Trek Into Darkness,” and still receive an invite to play a game with your friends. You will always be connected to your gaming community and with features like Smart Match and reputation management in Xbox One, you don’t have to choose between your games and entertainment.

I’m not a big multiplayer fan so this doesn’t interest me at all.  I think I would get tired of notifications popping up while I’m watching a movie. 

Do Two Things at Once
You can also choose to snap two experiences together – so you can play a game while you watch TV or listen to Xbox Music. Or, watch the big NFL game while you manage your fantasy football team.  For gamers, snapping Machinima opens up a whole new world of opportunity. Just by saying “Xbox, Snap Machinima,” the Machinima app will be snapped next to “Dead Rising 3” or your favorite game, and walk-throughs, game reviews, help videos and more will appear.

I know there have been times I’ve paused a game to check on a basketball score or look up something online.  I like the concept, but again, wonder about execution.  Split screen games were hard to play, I wonder how hard it would be to play on half a screen with the basketball game squished on the other side.

Skype on the Big Screen, With Groups and Free Long Distance
Skype is amazing on Xbox One, offering the only big screen experience with Group Video Chat with up to four people. Kinect is the only camera in the world that will follow the caller and pan and zoom automatically as if you had your own camera man. You can talk with your friends while surfing the Web or checking the latest stats of a sports team. And have full 1080p video calls for one-to-one chats on your TV.

Skype and video chat in general on your TV sounds like a good idea on paper, but I would never use it unless the pan and zoom feature actually work.  I hated playing Kinect and it would show my entire living room and kitchen.  I don’t need everyone seeing that I didn’t do the dishes.  At least on my phone or tablet I can make sure everyone just sees my ugly mug.   

OneGuide Delivers Personalized Guide to TV, Apps and More
Xbox One has its own TV listings guide that can be navigated with your voice. Say “Xbox, what’s on Discovery Channel?” and boom, there you have the list of shows.  Call out your favorite TV show by name and start watching it instantly.  And, Xbox One is the only system that brings together your favorite TV channels and entertainment app channels into one screen.  Create your own personal Favorites in OneGuide, so you can easily choose what you want to watch – whether it’s on Fox, CBS, NBC, ESPN, Hulu Plus or the NFL on Xbox One app. For the first time you don’t have to juggle multiple screens across cable TV, video streaming services and other entertainment apps to quickly find the entertainment you’re looking for.

Does anybody else watch The Goldbergs?  It’s a great show and they had a recent episode where the kids convinced the Dad that the remote had a voice feature.  It takes place in the 80′s so it was pretty far fetched at that time.  Anyway, the Dad yells over and over at the remote trying to get it to program a show or change the channel.  That is how almost every single voice recognition product I have ever used makes me feel.  They work well if I am in a silent environment and speak slowly and clearly.  My house is not silent and I can talk fast.  I can see myself yelling at the TV trying to get it to do what I want and having no luck.  Convince me Xbox….please.  I want this to work.   

Okay, so it is pretty obvious that I have concerns over Microsoft delivering on these features.  Do I want them to work?  Absolutely.  I would love to walk in from work, throw down my keys and just say, “Xbox play Doctor Who” and everything comes to life and The Doctor is making me forget my troubles.  If they can deliver, then I might have a spot open for an Xbox One beside my PS4. 

Source: Xbox

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