Do you, like us, find yourself shouting at the TV a lot? Now Microsoft could make use of all that energy with the new Xbox Live dashboard allowing you to search for what ever content you want, simply by talking.
Voice search powered Bing on Xbox Live and Kinect for Xbox 360 is Microsoft’s answer to the frustration you get when trying to find the content you want from a variety of different sources. Now you simply tell your Xbox what it is you are looking for and using the power of Bing, it will bring together all the relevant content (movies, games videos) in one place from a variety of different sources, including Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and Xbox Live Marketplace. “This year by bringing together the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing, we are transforming how people enjoy entertainment,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. While this is great news for those people who hate pressing buttons, more exciting news from Microsoft is the announcement of new sources of content that you can search. The new tile-heavy Xbox Live dashboard itself is heavily influenced by Windows Phone 7 and the recently announced Windows 8 OS and will hopefully make navigating it easier.
First up is Xbox Live TV, which will give you access to news, sports and your favourite local channels from various providers around the world. Microsoft has so far announced that it will partner with Sky in the UK, Foxtel in Australia and Canal Plus in France. It has committed to “expand access to live television programming on Xbox 360 to more providers in the United States and around the world during the upcoming year.” It has also teamed up with Ultimate Fighting Championship to bring live and classic matches via your Xbox. While users in the States already have access to on-demand content from Hulu and Netflix, Microsoft has now partnered with YouTube to give you access to “web original” content. This sounds like a pared down version of the video sharing site, but is still a welcome addition. You can even control the videos on YouTube using your voice.
Microsoft’s E3 press conference certainly lacked major new hardware announcements, and while these additions to the Xbox and Kinect functions are welcome, it does seem like a bit of a let down.