Ha! Xbox One TV ads featuring voice commands are interacting with consoles

Neowin Lead Designer Timan25 showing a commercial interacting with his Xbox One

Microsoft has trumpeted the voice control capability of the Xbox One as it allows you to interact extensively with the console. With voice commands, you can do many things such as recording a short clip of your gameplay and saving it to the cloud by saying “Xbox, record that”. Another of the rather nifty commands is the ability to turn on your console by saying “Xbox On”.

But it seems there is a bit of a snag with this feature - and a rather amusing one, at that - because when Microsoft airs a commercial that says ‘Xbox On’, the ad is apparently turning on consoles in some consumers' homes.

In the clip above, at about the 55 second mark, the actor says ‘Xbox On’ and in the case of Neowin's lead designer (@Timan25), it turned on his console. Tim also stated that when watching this commercial, his console responded to "Xbox Show my Stuff". We tried to replicate the event using the same clip with one of our editors, but his console did not respond in the same way. But, when he used this clip featuring Ray Lewis, his Xbox One responded to “Xbox Snap TV”; that commercial can be viewed below.

Additionally, there are a few reports on Twitter from users claiming to have experienced the same issue (if you want to call it that), but it’s one of those odd quirks with using voice commands. But it's a quirk that appears to be causing a bit of confusion for some, with numerous reports on Twitter from users complaining that they have no idea why their Xbox One turned on.

While we have had inconsistent results when trying to use the commercial to voice-command our Xbox Ones, these observations do seem to suggest that Microsoft may have to be mindful of the speech it uses in its commercials as it could have the unintended affect of turning on millions of consoles while trying to pitch the product to other consumers.

One of the more odd scenarios that could play out, because of this ‘feature’, is if marketers catch wind of this, they could create clips that could control your console by using the voice controls to search bing and open their specific webpage. Of course, it would be quite sleazy for marketers to do this but, who knows, ethics and marketing has been a gray area for decades. 

If you have an Xbox One, try out the commercials noted in this clip and let us know if you have similar results. We should note that the interaction between the commercial and your console does not always work - but at the very least, it is a fun little ‘feature’ to be aware of.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Review: Club 3D AMD R9 270 royalQueen [Update]

Next Story

Google's Eric Schmidt: Android has "a much more intuitive interface" than iPhone

58 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

This is due to users not calibrating their xbox to cancel out the TV. I've played the ads on the xbox and just ignores them.

neonspark said,
This is due to users not calibrating their xbox to cancel out the TV. I've played the ads on the xbox and just ignores them.

This was my thought as well. Did anyone go through the Kinect setup?

I'm confused, in order to watch the commercials the xbox should already be on?

what am I missing?

unless for some reason people aren't using the HDMI Input, but why wouldn't you

glen8 said,
unless for some reason people aren't using the HDMI Input, but why wouldn't you

Because it ruins the TV signal as has been reported.

Jaxkesa said,
Because it ruins the TV signal as has been reported.

Mines ok, didn't know it did any kind of video scaling? should just be a pass through

The TV input messes with any input signals that aren't 60Hz (for example all TV broadcasts outside the US/Japan). You get judder and frame drops.

glen8 said,

Mines ok, didn't know it did any kind of video scaling? should just be a pass through

It definitely does scaling when you snap apps, so it can't be just a direct passthrough.

Ambroos said,
The TV input messes with any input signals that aren't 60Hz (for example all TV broadcasts outside the US/Japan). You get judder and frame drops.

Exactly. Sky looks awful through it so I'm not using the HDMI in anymore.

glen8 said,
unless for some reason people aren't using the HDMI Input, but why wouldn't you

Because you have an SD cable box, which doesn't have HDMI out.
Because you are watching something else via another HDMI input from your TV, since most TVs come with 4 inputs or more.
Because you want to see regular over-the-air TV, digital signals are quite high quality even with a bad antenna.
Because your TV also has an MHL input and you want to see something from your phone.

Simply because not everything is routed through the Xbox.

Mobius Enigma said,

What is kind of strange is people want 60Hz for games, but are just fine with their broadcast standards being 50Hz.


What you are getting wrong here is that NTSC is 30fps (PAL is 25fps) which is not the "60hz gamers want", because NTSC and PAL work in interlaced mode and again in order their native resolutions are 480i and 576i (for HD they only go up to 1080i).

Now the interesting stuff, when you go to the movies, they are 99% of the time projected at 24fps and you are fine with that. A few cinematographers began testing 60fps for movies and the reception has been mixed, most people finding it "unrealistic" when in fact more frames = better realism. But it is what it is, and people are already used to lower framerates for motion pictures.

I had those commercials come on during the football games, demos videos showing voice commands, and tutorials and never once did it respond. Of course if you don't have the cable box connected through the Xbox, there's no way for it to know the difference.

this is not good, not good at all, wait until all the Xboxes wake up, become self aware, and unite as one, this is only the beginning of the end of mankind my friends

Don't worry dude, it's gonna be ok. Mankind wins in the end and defeats Skynet.

---

Either that, or pretty soon we'll all be jacked in and living in the Metro Matrix, acting as living batteries for our gaming overlords. Me, I can't wait for the climactic battle between the Xbox Ones and The One (who was offered the BLOD and RROD pills, obviously).

With someone saying the Xbox needs to "see" a person in the room and the sound needs to come from that area before it will respond to commands, I wonder if the problem is for those with a 5.1 system where there are speakers behind them so that's where the Xbox thinks the noise is coming from.

Pretty funny and MS should use this to make a joke advert (before someone else does).

Just watching the top video again and, yes, the sound source is by the person so that's probably what's throwing the Xbox out.

Spicoli said,
It doesn't need to see you. That's only required to differentiate multiple people in the room. I can go around the corner, say a command, and it works.

It doesn't need to, but it is far more likely to disregard a command if there is no motion and no person in the sensor area. Just walking out of the room it should work, as it hasn't timed you out.

This happens on the Xbox 360 as well, if you have a large room and get out of visual range in the dark while using Xbox video or Netflix, voice commands are less sensitive until you become visible or create motion.

It does but he's got it hooked up wrong. Using it wrong and then complaining it didn't work right is pretty lame. If you want to run it like a 360, you can turn off the voice on function.

Right, just because the device has TV in, means I MUST use it... Some peoples setups can not be used with it. Learn what a complaint is too first.

Spicoli said,
It does but he's got it hooked up wrong. Using it wrong and then complaining it didn't work right is pretty lame. If you want to run it like a 360, you can turn off the voice on function.

it always has to be the same fanboy telling people where in the world they should live and what cable provider to use (and price to pay) so they can hook up the console "correctly".

Wait. Watching TV, but the Xbox One isn't *already* on?!?! Guess they're not feeding the TV signal through the HDMI in. If it was, then I'd expect the Xbox to (eventually, if it's not already) detect and ignore those phantom voice commands. If the feed isn't going through the Xbox, then maybe disable that setting locally and push the button "old school" style to turn on.

The only problem with this is they shouldn't have to run tv through the Xbox. I can't, I just use an antenna, I don't have a box with an HDMI out to run my tv through the Xbox. I'm not entirely sure I would want to anyway.

I have this problem on my Xbox 360 when I watch YouTube or such, and my Kinect is on, it will suddenly react to the video's dialogue, usually going to Xbox Home, annoying as hell. Does that make me an early adopter of technology?
/s


When properly calibrated the Kinect uses its array to spatially position where the sound is coming from (sort of like a human ear does), it then combines this with an identified person using its skeletal tracking to response to the commands of the correct user.

If the sensor can't see a person, there is less of a chance it will react to sound.

The sound also has to be coming from a location that it does not recognize as one of entertainment system speakers or from outside the room.

So if a person was sitting in the room and playing a commercial on their laptop, the sound would appear to be coming from the approximate location of the recognized user and the Xbox will react to the commands.

PS This is not a new 'issue' with the exception that now it can turn on the Xbox. With the Xbox 360 and Kinect sensor, playing sound from a device near the user will also control the Xbox.

Yeah I just tried playing the "Xbox on" commercial and my Xbox didn't respond to it. During the setup, I think it did something to remember where my speakers are located.

No issues with mine. I've calibrated the sound, and my Xbox One is going through my A/V receiver, and yes, the center speaker is just above and in front of the Kinect.

It's less annoying then friends screwing around with your Xbox why you are trying to play. I disconnected my Kinect from my 360 because most of my friends are dicks. That's uni life i guess. It now lives in peace as my PC mic and webcam, as well as a fun tool to tinker with as i teach my self programing.

Ad Man Gamer said,
It's less annoying then friends screwing around with your Xbox why you are trying to play.

Same thing happens with the voice control in my car. It works great when i'm alone, but someone always has to be a dick when they are with me then tell me it never works!

Pretty simple solution: proper voice recognition. The human voice is quite unique. Kinect should be able to differentiate the owner's voice from that from a TV or standalone speaker.

ZipZapRap said,
Pretty simple solution: proper voice recognition. The human voice is quite unique. Kinect should be able to differentiate the owner's voice from that from a TV or standalone speaker.

Actually, the artificial fidelity available today is hard for a human to discern, let alone assume a voice recognition technology should.

Spicoli said,
The simple solution is hook it up right. It filters all the sound from the hdmi passthrough out of the voice recognition.

Which does make sense and would work assuming you were playing the TV out of your Xbox.

Edit: Oh, you're saying it DOES filter HDMI, I read it as they should make it filter HDMI.

Edited by AJerman, Nov 25 2013, 6:56pm :

I just tried this on mine and it didn't do anything...

But it's still amusing if it's happening to some. I wonder how common this really is...

Mine doesn't do anything, but I also did the calibration with my tv freaking loud so it seems to distinguish the sound.. I bet if you calibrate at normal volumes you will have this issue.

The calibration isn't so much about learning your speech, that it does naturally over time, the calibration is there so it can learn what the background noise of your home is, and where other noise like TV sounds are coming from so it can learn to ignore sounds coming from those speakers/areas.

It's only a matter of time before all commercials start with an obligatory 'Xbox record TV'. Nothing like getting home, sitting back, and enjoying all the commercials the Xbox accidentally recorded for you.