Netflix (finally) has Kinect support

When Kinect was first announced, one of the exciting features that was shown was the ability to control the Xbox without the need for a controller. Streaming ESPN3 through the dashboard, and being able to simply say, "Xbox, pause" to stop the action was a great use of the Kinect technology. Unfortunately when the Kinect shipped, these motion and voice controls were not available for DVD, Netflix, or Hulu video playback.

Today, that changes. According to Microsoft's Major Nelson, an update for the Netflix program will allow users to use their voice and motion to control the action, although it doesn't sound like you will be able to search the database without a controller. Another new feature is the addition of a "recommendation channel," where Netflix will make suggestions on movies and TV shows that you may enjoy. This feature is available on the website but it's nice to see it being integrated into the online experience as well.

While it may not seem like a big deal to reach over and pause a movie using the controller, the issue comes from the fact that the controller powers off after a certain amount of inactivity. When you're halfway through a movie and need to pause it, you have to first wait for the controller to power up before you can take that action. The Kinect voice features will be a welcome addition; hopefully Microsoft will soon add similar functionality to DVD playback.

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27 Comments

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Aww, I thought I would get to browse the entire library with the kinect. I can only browse the 'top picks for me' category. It's a start, hopefully they'll make all of the Netflix choices and features Kinect friendly.

FrostAM said,
Aww, I thought I would get to browse the entire library with the kinect. I can only browse the 'top picks for me' category. It's a start, hopefully they'll make all of the Netflix choices and features Kinect friendly.
Really? Because I for sure don't want to browse all those movies and tv shows with my hand, maybe voice controlled, but that would be annoying, saying xbox up, xbox up, xbox up, xbox up, xbox right, xbox right, xbox right, xbox play! I happy with what they have put out, all I really need it for is video playback.

witbyt said,
Really? Because I for sure don't want to browse all those movies and tv shows with my hand, maybe voice controlled, but that would be annoying, saying xbox up, xbox up, xbox up, xbox up, xbox right, xbox right, xbox right, xbox play! I happy with what they have put out, all I really need it for is video playback.

It wouldn't bother me any. I'd prefer it all to be there.

witbyt said,
Really? Because I for sure don't want to browse all those movies and tv shows with my hand, maybe voice controlled, but that would be annoying
So you don't want kinect.... just use a controller

Unfortunately when the Kinect shipped, these motion and voice controls were not available for DVD, Netflix, or Hulu video playback.


Hulu??

I'm a little lost.

The xbox application for Netflix already has the "Top Picks For... X" category.

Also, the xbox does not support Hulu. I don't understand why it is mentioned.

Nimdock said,
I'm a little lost.

The xbox application for Netflix already has the "Top Picks For... X" category.

Also, the xbox does not support Hulu. I don't understand why it is mentioned.

A quick Google search reveals that Hulu w/ Kinect is to be added this spring, so that could be why it's mentioned. As for the Netflix, this is not the Top picks feature, but a different recommendation feature

Sraf said,

A quick Google search reveals that Hulu w/ Kinect is to be added this spring, so that could be why it's mentioned. As for the Netflix, this is not the Top picks feature, but a different recommendation feature

Definitely did not know about Hulu coming to the Xbox. Good to know although even then I will definitely not get Hulu+. Netflix spoiled me with no ads. Yes, before some smart ass comes to comment I know the selection is different.

I guess the Top Picks can be a little different from recommendations but in essence it is the same thing.

Hurricane Andrew said,
Still waiting for Android support...

I'm betting you will use it once and never run it again. Its cool, but even netflix has stated the mobile market utilization was WAYYYY below what they expected. people want larger screens

Hurricane Andrew said,
Still waiting for Android support...

I read somewhere, maybe XDA, that Netflix will come to the next generation Snapdraon processor phones. Don't quote me though.

RangerLG said,
I read somewhere, maybe XDA, that Netflix will come to the next generation Snapdraon processor phones. Don't quote me though.

You are correct. The reason Android cannot have netflix is because of the open nature of the platform makes it impossible to create any software based DRM. New Snapdragon processors have DRM built into the SoC.

Voice commands won't be useful when I'm watching a movie and its loud. Much easier to press a button to pause than over yell my surround sound system, or turn it down and talk.
Also, hand gestures are cool, but more time consuming in the long run. I find it much easier and tolerable just using a controller for any menu navigation.
Neat Idea though, and hopefully they will get it in a much more polished, robust, and user friendly state.

shakey said,
Voice commands won't be useful when I'm watching a movie and its loud. Much easier to press a button to pause than over yell my surround sound system, or turn it down and talk.

Kinect uses beam forming, so you shouldn't have to yell over your stereo for it to hear you

shakey said,
Voice commands won't be useful when I'm watching a movie and its loud. Much easier to press a button to pause than over yell my surround sound system, or turn it down and talk.
Also, hand gestures are cool, but more time consuming in the long run. I find it much easier and tolerable just using a controller for any menu navigation.
Neat Idea though, and hopefully they will get it in a much more polished, robust, and user friendly state.

This was my original concern with the Kinect itself for voice commands, but even in my theater room with professional level Bose sound, the Kinect is rather brilliant at picking up my voice, even with Music or Videos playing at chest shaking/vibrating levels.

Be sure to run the audio calibration for the Kinect with your sound level fairly high, and its ability to pull sound based on location is surprising. If you calibrate the listening features with the sound at levels below what you are listening to music or watching movies, instead of it surprising you, it will be disappointing.

In my normal or slightly raised voice, telling the Kinect to Pause and Play with Black Eyed Peas or Green Day shaking the room works quite well, even when other people in the room have trouble hearing me.

The Kinect has a lot of potential that is and will continue to get better. The success it has had surprised Microsoft as much as anyone, so a lot of things that were set to be updated and added this year night have been shoved harder to have been in the release if they had known it would be an instant hit, instead of a slow ramp up to success.

As for movies, a good Media Center remote works well, and since you can buy almost any generic or even high end universal remote to mimick the media center remote, there are already a lot of navigation and control options for the XBox available beyond a controller, which I hate for Movies, as I am always sitting it down and flipping one of the triggers on accident.

shakey said,
Voice commands won't be useful when I'm watching a movie and its loud. Much easier to press a button to pause than over yell my surround sound system, or turn it down and talk.
Also, hand gestures are cool, but more time consuming in the long run. I find it much easier and tolerable just using a controller for any menu navigation.
Neat Idea though, and hopefully they will get it in a much more polished, robust, and user friendly state.

The kinect hears me quite easily in loud spaces, even with a movie playing.

shakey said,
....

You don't have to yell if you've done the audio calibration.

Kinect is equipped with the only surround sound noise cancellation system on the market (quote from one of the mix2011 sessions).

I find that it is much easier to say, XBOX Pause, than try to dig around my person to find my media center remote or controller.

What's the power consumption of the Kinect sensor like? Seems like it could be a huge waste of power if it's sitting waiting to be used as a controller when you're watching a movie.

When I'm watching a DVD I plug in my play and charge kit and use the opportunity to charge up my controllers. That way, they don't automatically turn off, and I don't have to leave the console on standby while I wait for them to finish charging.

what said,
What's the power consumption of the Kinect sensor like? Seems like it could be a huge waste of power

I don't think power is an issue. I've read the Kinect uses 12 watts, and a 50" HDTV uses about 300 watts peak. As reference, a typical bulb uses 60-100W and a CFL bulb uses 14 watts.

what said,
What's the power consumption of the Kinect sensor like? Seems like it could be a huge waste of power if it's sitting waiting to be used as a controller when you're watching a movie.

When I'm watching a DVD I plug in my play and charge kit and use the opportunity to charge up my controllers. That way, they don't automatically turn off, and I don't have to leave the console on standby while I wait for them to finish charging.

I was half temtped to go calculate the actual power use to illustrate how silly your concern is.

The Kinect is using such a tiny fraction of power, especially compared to the XBox itself running, that it would be insane to not use it or its features based on actual power consumption.

In your example, charging your controller is using almost as much power as the Kinect itself. It is an Infrared light, one/two active cameras, and a Microphone array.

(Not everyone's home is arranged to have the controller reach the XBox when sitting down.)

If you are really freakish about power usage, then don't even charge your controller either. Go buy the Media Center remote, it doesn't power off, and uses a couple of batteries every six months at most.

Vannos said,

I don't think power is an issue. I've read the Kinect uses 12 watts, and a 50" HDTV uses about 300 watts peak. As reference, a typical bulb uses 60-100W and a CFL bulb uses 14 watts.

Note that the Kinect peaks at 12 watts, that is when it is aiming itself with its motor

Sraf said,

Note that the Kinect peaks at 12 watts, that is when it is aiming itself with its motor

and also it sleeps itself if it is not used and just keeps the sensor on barely enough to see you wave to turn it on fully.

thenetavenger said,
I was half temtped to go calculate the actual power use to illustrate how silly your concern is.

Go on then.