Microsoft Corp. is set to release a new technology for the Xbox game console that will let users surf through music, movies, TV shows and games just by waving their hands or by speaking out their preferences.
Xbox owners with Kinect motion controllers can easily swipe through screens by waving their hand. The technology also answers to direct voice commands and integrates Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. Windows phone users can also send commands by tapping on their portable devices.
The interface was first demonstrated by CEO Steve Ballmer in September and is set up similarly to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system with a number of large panes showing content options.
Microsoft is expecting to pay TV channel partners and also ones supplied by Verizon FiOS. There will be, however, no broadcast partners and people hooked on to ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox networks will have to continue using normal set-top boxes for the required content.
Separate subscriptions will be required for services like Netflix, and accessing most of the content will also require the user to be a gold member of Xbox Live, a service that costs $60 a year.
According to Ross Honey, the general manager of Xbox Live entertainment and advertising, around 40 content partners were expected for the new platform and all the available apps from them will release shortly.
Other partners include the BBC, Ultimate Fighting Championship, ESPN3, YouTube, Hulu Plus and Comcast’s Xfinity on-demand subscription service. Many of the offerings require separate pay TV subscriptions or one-time payments.
The interface will be available to Xbox users, logged in to the Internet, via a download on Tuesday, according to a Washington Post report.