Microsoft gets head start on rumored ‘iTV’ with voice controlled TV for Xbox

“A revolution is happening in the living room,” Microsoft proclaimed late Sunday as it unveiled a new update to its Xbox 360 software that enables Kinect-based voice controls for a variety of multimedia content. Repeatedly emphasizing voice controls as rumors of a Siri-enabled HDTV product from Apple that may launch this summer heat up, Microsoft announced a new wave of content set to hit its Xbox platform on Tuesday. A variety of on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and EPIX arrive on Xbox on December 6th, and nearly 30 more content sources including Verizon FiOS TV and Vudu will arrive later this month. “A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place — your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, in a statement. “With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever.” Microsoft’s full press release follows below, preceded by an infographic outlining the evolution of TV and entertainment.

The Future of TV Begins Now on Xbox 360

Kinect for Xbox 360 brings voice control to living room entertainment with update that launches Dec. 6.

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 4, 2011 — A revolution is happening in the living room. Xbox 360 is transforming how you enjoy TV entertainment and is giving you the power to control it with your voice. The next generation of TV entertainment begins with the announcement by Microsoft Corp. of the launch of an all-new Xbox 360 experience including the first group of new, custom applications from world leading TV and entertainment content providers on Xbox LIVE.

“A new era in entertainment begins where all your entertainment is together in one place — your games, movies, TV shows, music and sports,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With this update, Xbox 360 system owners will experience Kinect voice control integrated with Bing search, making your TV and entertainment experiences more social and personal than ever.”

“Microsoft has just built and delivered it: A single box that ties together all the content you want, made easily accessible through a universal, natural, voice-directed search. This is now the benchmark against which all other living room initiatives should be compared,” said James McQuivey of Forrester Research in “Engaged TV: Xbox 360 Leads The Way To A New Video Product Experience,”* Sunday, Dec. 4. “…with more than 57 million people worldwide already sitting on a box that’s about to be upgraded for free, Microsoft has not only built the right experience, it has ensured that it will spread quickly and with devastating effect.”

You Say It, Xbox Finds It

How long does it take you to search and find your favorite movie or TV show? Do you find yourself searching hundreds of channels and multiple services and TV inputs? What if the entertainment you craved was simple, discoverable and exactly what you wanted at that particular moment?

Now, finding your favorite entertainment is easier than ever. Last year, Kinect for Xbox 360 revolutionized controller-free entertainment by letting you use your body and voice to play your favorite games and entertainment, turning you into the controller. 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. Beginning tomorrow and over the coming weeks, Bing on Xbox voice search will initially be available in English in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. for Zune video, Xbox LIVE Marketplace and select content partners. For those who do not have a Kinect for Xbox 360, text search will be available in Xbox LIVE markets.

All Your Entertainment, All in One Box

This holiday, in addition to offering the best blockbuster and Kinect games, Xbox 360 consoles are set to deliver live and on-demand TV shows, movies, videos, sports, music and news, becoming the best device to experience all your entertainment. TV and movie fans can instantly stream their favorite episodes of current television shows all season long, as well as past favorites and new-release movies.

Xbox 360 is building on its expansive catalog of movies, sports, television and music available through Hulu Plus, Last.fm, Netflix, Zune music and video and ESPN®, as well as on its existing lineup of great TV providers, such as AT&T U-verse® TV in the U.S., TELUS in Canada, BSkyB in the U.K., CANAL+ in France, Vodafone Portugal, VimpelCom in Russia and FOXTEL in Australia, by also now rolling out the following new entertainment partners and apps**:

Dec. 6:

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

Later in December:

4 on Demand (C4). United Kingdom
ABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Corp.). Australia
AlloCiné. France (AlloCiné), Germany (Filmstarts), Spain (Sensacine), United Kingdom (Screenrush)
Astral Media’s Disney XD (Astral Media). Canada
blinkbox (Blinkbox). United Kingdom
Crackle (Sony Pictures). Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States
Dailymotion. Available in 32 countries globally
Demand 5 (Five). United Kingdom
DIGI+ (CANAL+). Spain
GolTV (Mediapro). Spain
iHeartRadio (Clear Channel). United States
Mediathek/ZDF (ZDF). Germany
MSN. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom
MSNBC.com. United States
MUZU.TV. Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
ninemsn. Australia
Real Sports (Maple Leaf Sports). Canada
Rogers On Demand Online (Rogers Media). Canada
SBS ON DEMAND.Australia
Sky Go (SkyDE). Austria
TMZ (Warner Bros.). Canada, United States
TVE (RTVE.es). Spain
UFC on Xbox LIVE (UFC). Canada, United States
Verizon FiOS TV. United States
VEVO. Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States
Vudu (Wal-Mart). United States
YouTube. Available in 24 countries globally

Early 2012:

Antena 3 (Antena 3 de Televisión). Spain
BBC (BBC). United Kingdom
CinemaNow (Best Buy). United States
HBO GO (HBO). United States
MLB.TV (MLB Advanced Media). Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States
Telenovelas/Sports (Televisa). Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom
Xfinity On Demand (Comcast). United States

In October, nearly 40 leading TV and entertainment providers around the world announced they would bring customized, voice-controlled experiences to Xbox 360 systems. Today, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, and VUDU became the latest leading entertainment providers to announce they are bringing their experiences to Xbox 360 consoles. MLB.TV subscribers will be able to access every regular season game, live and on-demand, in HD picture quality with an array of interactive functionalities. VUDU offers more than 45,000 blockbusters, Hollywood classics, independent films and TV shows, including the largest library of HD content available anywhere, with the highest quality streaming and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. With VUDU, movies are available the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray. More information is available athttp://www.VUDU.com.

The Best Entertainment Platform Offers Choice

Whether choosing the movie you want to watch or the service you want to watch it from, the best entertainment platform gives you a variety of options. Not only is Microsoft bringing all your entertainment and entertainment services to Xbox 360 consoles, it is giving you multiple choices in how you interact with that content, including your voice, your controller and now your Windows Phone. Starting Dec. 6, the free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone will let you find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.

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