Look, friends: No hands!

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Let’s talk about Kinect.

For those who may not already know, Kinect is motion censor technology that Microsoft introduced with its Xbox 360 video game console a little while ago. According to something called Eurogamer.net, the next installment of the device will be able to read lips, detect when players are angry and determine which direction whomever is using the thing is facing. The site also says that it will be able to track the pitch and volume of voices and it will also be able to read facial characteristics.

I suppose that’s sort of neat, right? I mean, if video games is your thing, this would be interesting news, wouldn’t it? I sort of gave up the hobby after being unable to successfully make my way through Super Mario 3 without a warp whistle, but video games are still highly popular activities for children, pot heads and irresponsible adults, right? And of all those demographics, we all know at least someone who digs spending a few hours with the latest version of the “Madden” football game, right? Good.

But how does this relate to a blog called “TV Without A TV,” you ask? Well, Sam Diaz over at ZDNet floated a pretty interesting notion Tuesday. Check it out …

“… Once I got past the creepiness of the Kinect’s eyes watching my every movement to learn more about me, I realized that this could be the key to delivering next-generation television in a way that Google and Apple still have been unable to do,” he wrote. “Will the TV experience of the future know when I’m in a mood for some good comedy based on an upbeat tone in my voice and a smile on my face? Maybe it will know when I’m getting bored with a slow-moving football game by the way my eyes wander and offer up a sitcom or maybe even a few YouTube clips instead. … Wouldn’t that be something if Microsoft was to retake the lead in the next wave of consumer ‘computing’ by reinventing the living room TV experience? Seeing how Apple and Google still haven’t gotten the formula right, there’s still time for Microsoft to come in and redeem itself, taking the lead in an evolving technology after so many years of getting it wrong.”

Intriguing.

What makes this even more noteworthy is the fact that Verizon announced plans Tuesday to begin offering an app that offers live television channels via the aforementioned Xbox 360 and its FIOS service. As it goes, those who have an XBox Live gold membership will be able to view 26 channels that will be made available on the video game console. It’s true: You really don’t need cable television anymore if one of your favorite pastimes is making it through an entire NBA season through video games!

What does all of this mean? It’s simple: Xbox 360 + Kinect technology = The ability to activate television channels without both a proper cable television package, and, well, the long-standing luxury we humans have that are called “hands.” That’s Gary Busey crazy.

The biggest takeaway from this all is that Microsoft can now label itself as a player in the whole “race to the television revolution” business. Even though it was also widely reported on Tuesday that the code name for the proposed new Apple TV is J33 and the device might even feature the famous A5 chip that makes the iPad 2 so nifty when watching something on the tablet, Microsoft managed to upend the attention by announcing the Xbox 360 deal.

Who’s a PC and who’s a Mac? Maybe it doesn’t matter anymore after all.

For those who managed to tear themselves away from the latest “Call Of Duty” game to read this, Verizon is planning on offering a deal that combines the gold membership, a digital phone line, the Internet and an actual cable television package (booo!) for about 90 bucks a month. That 12-month deal will be available until Jan. 21 of next year, and for those who are worried because they are forced to subscribe to Comcast because it is the biggest (and only) boy in town, word has it that the same type of deal will be available to those customers eventually.

Hands-free, package-free, Internet-driven television. What more could you want?

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