Pushing the living-room appeal and user interactivity value of its Kinect technology, Microsoft has this week launched a free software update that adds voice-control navigation alongside existing gesture-based input.
The update makes good on voice-enabled functionality promised during a succession of recent Kinect television commercials. And, as such, users will now be able to navigate TV services by telling their connected Xbox 360 to pause, play, and even search out specific movies, TV shows and videogames.
According to Microsoft, the addition of Kinect voice control heralds “a new technological era in live TV in the home where the user becomes the remote control through voice and gesture control.”
Labeling its innovative platform as “the biggest interactive TV service in the world”, Microsoft has partnered with close to 40 different international content providers in order to offer a massive variety of access over the coming months.
Some of those providers include the likes of ESPN, SyFy, HBO, Verizon FiOS, Comcast Xfinity, Rogers Media, TMZ, the BBC and SKY.
Beyond adding Kinect voice controls, the firmware update (which arrives tomorrow) will also introduce a radical redesign for Xbox Live users, which bears a striking resemblance to the aesthetics of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system.