Since May, we’ve been seeing stories about the Xbox One. I’m not a console gamer so I’m not going to spend much (read that any) time talking about the games, the resolution, or the disk drives for those of you having hardware issues.
The part of this story that interests me most is how the Xbox One is vying for a central role in your home. With the built-in Kinect sensor the Xbox can recognize you when you enter the room and load your preferences.
And then there’s the voice control. Tell the Xbox to turn on the television, to go to a specific channel, to search for channels in a specific area and there you are. Want to search the web while you’re watching TV, no problem; split the screen and browse to your heart’s content. Need to call a friend to arrange a meeting, or highlight a touchdown, you can connect with Skype. Oh yeah, there’s supposed to be a lot of games available too.
This article from GeekWire goes over a number of commands and has a nice video showing the system in operation as well as a few times when the voice control wasn’t quite synching. We’re assured that with the machine learning built into the Xbox, the voice control will improve over time.
Back to home automation, some of you will have seen an earlier post when I discussed the August Smart Lock. With August, you use your smart phone to control who has access to your house. What else will you be able to control by an app on your phone? Turn on home security or climate control with the push of a button?
Or, in the Xbox scenario, what are you going to control by a spoken command? How long will it be before the Microsoft folks also bring the Windows Phone into play to control the house while you’re out?
How are you going to vote, with your voice or your phone?
I’m not a big fan of network television; I watch sporting events and the occasional movie. I mainly wanted something to stream Netflix and open up some online viewing options. My original research pointed to a blu-ray player or a little device called a Roku. I hadn’t heard of the Roku before and this was just when the Roku 3 was coming out. I read a number of reviews of the 3 from various sites – everybody loved it.
I looked at various blu-ray players. They were good, but nothing really stood out. I also realized that I only needing something connecting me to the internet – I wasn’t going to watch a blu-ray video any other way.
The Roku was the way to go for me. I checked my two standard purchasing options – Costco and Amazon – but neither would be able to sell the Roku 3 for another month. Voila, off to the Roku website and a few days later it arrived.
Setup was easy and a short time later I was connected to Netflix. Investigating the device, I found I actually liked the Amazon Instant Video a lot better than Netflix. They frequently seemed to have better videos (at least they appealed to me more) than Netflix. There are also a lot of other channels that you can watch – okay, there are 61 just sports channels. Even I think that’s nuts.
Although I have a lot of good things to say about the Roku, I saw a preview of the Xbox one today. If I was a console gamer, that device looks pretty cool.