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Revealing The Xbox Kinect Smart TV Capability

But the Xbox is a games console, I can hear you thinking. What's that got to do with Smart TV? How can the Xbox compete with the enhancements we're now seeing in fully fledged Smart TVs?

The answer lies with the Kinect. An impressive camera like device that was released by Microsoft in 2011. And it's the capabilities that Kinect gives you in combination with TV viewing that are most interesting. It's been  labelled in some quarters as Xbox TV.

Before we get to the TV part, let's take a look at what the Kinect actually is and does.

The Xbox Kinect Camera

As we've covered already, the Kinect is an add on device for the Xbox 360 that acts as a camera.  It's a super powered webcam that connects to the USB port of an Xbox console.

But it's actually cleverer than that first sounds. It can:

Spotlight your living room with invisible infrared light, which gives it excellent recognition capability that can tract up to 48 different points on a human body simultaneously on two different players

Let you talk to it via a mic and voice recognition software

Film you in full colour

Use facial recognition software to recognise your face and automatically log you in

...And it's fully motorised to move around and recognise where you are

..And The TV Element?

At it's basic level the Kinect is a camera for the Xbox 360...and you can watch TV - easily - with it!

It has voice recognition, with on screen menus that you operate easily by voice control.

It has a stunningly easy to use user interface.

It has operating system potential to become integrated with specific manufacturers Smart TV models.

When Kinect is equipped, you can use a separate menu system based on icons to watch Netflix....and activating Netflix can be done by voice or control based command.

...And it has a feature known as VideoKinect - software similar to Skype that delivers a videoconferencing type service. This works with either Xbox Live or Windows Live Messenger to allow you to chat with friends on video, or jointly watch a movie. Great stuff.

There's potential with the second version of Kinect to turn it into a kind of Smart TV box - an interface between the internet and the TV similar to the Boxee or Roku - but potentially easier to use. We may see this some time in 2013 with the release of the next Xbox version, potentially to be called the Xbox 720


The TV market is ready for a Smart TV device that is easy to use and works  in a way that we're used to. The Xbox TV capability - via the Kinect - may well be a good solution. Definitely one to keep an eye on when the war for best Smart TV hots up after the 2012 release of the Apple TV.

For more information on what's currently available in Smart entertainment it's worth checking out some Smart TV reviews. That'll give you an idea of the current capabilities and help with a decision on whether it's right to buy a Smart TV now or hang on for further developments.

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