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Can Microsoft Xbox’s voice as a remote control win the hearts of Siri lovers?

Dec 06, 20114 mins
AppleData and Information SecurityEnterprise Applications

The big news today is the Xbox 360 update being pushed out to birth an amazing user experience. Now your voice is the controller for new programming content, but Microsoft had no comment and offered nothing in product comparison when asked about Siri videos.

The big news today is the Xbox 360 update being pushed out to birth an amazing user experience; now your voice is the controller to navigate TV shows, movies, games, music and a plethora of content providers on Xbox Live. Engadget showed off “Microsoft’s new baby” Metro and the revamped interface which did away with “single-file tiles” to a sleeker and snappier “single page Metro layout, packing more than twice as much information on the screen as the previous Dashboard.” Kinect motion may allow you to control the Xbox 360 guide, but voice-recognition controls for the new wave of content on the Xbox platform are sweet.

The New York Times noted that with “more than 35 million worldwide subscribers to Xbox Live, making the Xbox one of the most common Internet-connected boxes in living rooms,” Microsoft may be in a position to challenge traditional cable boxes. Microsoft cited the numbers as “more than 57 million people worldwide already sitting on a box” updated for free and posted a roll-out schedule for the programming lineup from more than 40 content providers.  

The power of Kinect combined with the intelligence of Bing search is turning your voice into the ultimate remote control. With Bing on Xbox, you can use your voice to effortlessly find the games, movies, TV shows and music you want and discover the best offerings on Xbox LIVE, by simply saying what you’re searching for. You say it, Xbox finds it.

Here’s what is launching today:

  • EPIX. United States
  • ESPN on Xbox LIVE (ESPN). United States
  • Hulu. Japan
  • Hulu Plus. United States
  • LOVEFiLM. United Kingdom
  • Netflix. Canada, United States
  • Premium Play by (MediaSet). Italy
  • Sky Go (SkyDE). Germany
  • Telefónica España – Movistar Imagenio. Spain
  • TODAY (MSNBC). United States

Microsoft seems to be on a roll and “sold 960,000 Xbox 360 units and 750,000 Kinect sensors” the week of Black Friday, making it the “biggest week in the console’s history.” But as BGR noted, voice control commands for the Xbox platform’s new wave of content come as “rumors of a Siri-enabled HDTV product from Apple that may launch this summer heat up.”

While Business Insider listed both Microsoft’s Kinect 2 and Apple’s Siri as “groundbreaking inventions in 2011,” when it comes to phones and competing with Siri, Microsoft may be in trouble.

At one point, there was supposedly a “debate” as to if Microsoft’s Tellme mobile voice recognition could “rock your world.” But the software giant chose not to comment when shown this much-touted side-by-side video of Microsoft TellMe vs. Siri which puts Tellme to shame.

Microsoft also was not “able to provide a response or any materials at this time” when asked if it had anything “impressive” that might compare to this Network Security monitoring with Siri.

Leave it to a hacker to rain on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 voice-as-a-remote-control parade as Union Bridge Lab posted a video showing Todd Treece changing TV channels using Siri and voice commands. The Siri Universal Remote “project uses Siri Proxy to send commands to an Arduino on the local wireless network via a TCP socket. Program schedule information is then retrieved by scraping a tv listings website, and returned to the user.” The source code is on github.

No, I didn’t ask Microsoft if it had any comments about the hacks exploiting Kinect that came out of Malcon, the malware hacking conference for twisted pen testers.

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.