Will Xbox TV's Voice & Motion Controls Actually Revolutionize TV Watching?

Starting tomorrow, an update to the Xbox 360’s dashboard will integrate its Kinect motion/voice-detection system and Microsoft’s Bing search engine in the hopes of creating a truly hands-free entertainment experience. But does it work?

While our cohorts at Consumer Reports haven’t been able to put this to the full test, they have seen demonstrations of the tech. Here is their initial impression:

From the demo we saw, the voice-control feature isn’t completely intuitive; it appears you have to speak slowly, call out the words in the right sequence, and talk rather loudly at times to be understood. And you already have to be in the correct content hub: “Video” takes you to movies or TV shows, for example. But you can move to the different content hubs using your voice or hand gestures.

The bigger question is whether or not consumers actually want this. While the idea of controller-free gaming has some advantages, when it comes to TV watching, is flailing at the TV to move boxes more appealing than using a remote? And do people want to shout orders at their TV just to open a video when that can all be done with the rather quiet push of a button? Only time will tell, we suppose.

Xbox update: Improved voice, motion control, new content services [Consumer Reports]