Not everyone has a huge living room for watching TV or playing console games. Some homes or apartments have spaces that are much smaller for those activities. When Kinect was released in 2010, the add-on for the Xbox 360 had a minimum distance between the sensor and the user of between 6 to 8 feet, which meant many living rooms without a lot of square footage could not use the device.
That distance has apparently been cut down quite a bit for the next generation Kinect hardware, which is included in all Xbox One consoles. In a leaked Brazilian setup manual for the hardware that was found by a NeoGAF member, it shows the minimal distance for the Kinect to work in a space has been cut down to 1.4 meters, or 4.59 feet. That should allow the sensor to work in much more compact spaces.
The same manual shows that the the minimum height for the new Kinect is 0.6 meters (about 1.9 feet) and the maximum height for the sensor is 1.8 meters (about 5.9 feet). While this manual leak seems to be authentic, we have contacted Microsoft to confirm that these figures are correct.
Source: NeoGAF | Image via Microsoft