Microsoft’s upcoming console Xbox One is designed to be all things to all audiences. It will play latest games, but it will also link to your streaming media accounts, your cable box, and your tablet – via the SmartGlass app – in a bid to rule your living room.
Live-TV Integration in Xbox One
If you hook your cable box into your Xbox One via its HDMI-in port, you can switch to live TV simply by pressing a button – or buy saying “Xbox, Live TV” loud enough for the Kinect microphone to recognize the command. The console also features an “Xbox One Guide” that outlines currently available broadcast-TV programming alongside on-demand content. You will be able to organize media content by your “favorites”, as well as by the degree to which it is currently trending in popularity.
Driven by an eight-core processors and 8 GB of RAM, the Xbox One will have USB 3.0 ports, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB hard drive, and Wi-Fi. Every unit comes with a new Kinect, a 250,000 pixels infrared tracking camera that can process 2GB of data every Second. It can distinguish your thumb from your hand and register wrist and shoulder rotations. According to Microsoft’s Mark Whitten, it can “read your heartbeat” by measuring tiny changes in skin tone as the blood vessel in your face expand and contract.
Borrowing a trick from Windows 8, the Xbox One’s Snap Mode lets you multitask between apps and functions on the same screen. If, say, you are watching a sporting event, you can prompt Xbox One via voice command or button press to access your updated fantasy league stats or to search the Web with Internet Explorer. The Xbox One also includes Skype integration and allows video chats iver Xbox live, through Kinect. In effect, the Xbox One Can turn any TV into a smart TV.
No old Games
Some great new games are in the pipeline for the Xbox One, but the console is not backward compatible. You can’t play Xbox 360 games on it, and you can’t use your old controllers. However, you can bring your Xbox live Gamertag and your Xbox Live Gamerscore to the new console. The migration includes digital movies and music you’ve bought on Xbox live but not downloadable Xbox 360 Arcade games, which won’t work on the Xbox One.
It’s Always Watching
The console works sort of like a video game DVR, constantly buffering gameplay footage onto the hard drive so that you can say “Xbox, capture that” and save a clip of your latest exploits for posterity. You can share clips via Xbox live, YouTube, and other social networks. Kinect is always watching, too: it must be connected to the Xbox One for the console to functions, and it has a low power mode that enables it to listen for voice commands even when the Xbox One is switched off.