Showing posts with label smartglass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smartglass. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Xbox One: rebooting entertainment!

It's no exaggeration to say Xbox has become my binge-viewing platform of choice! From Game of Thrones to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and House of Cards to Battlestar Galactica.

Yesterday Microsoft unveiled its third iteration of Xbox, further drawing upon the streaming revolution, and hopes hardcore gamers will come along for the, tumultuous, ride, too.

Xbox One!

Has the company's marketing division taken a page out of JJ Abrams' writer's guide and hit the reboot switch? They realise this is the third iteration, right?

The Xbox One name has been explained by Microsoft's Jeff Henshaw.

"Xbox One really embodies the concept that this is the first device, the combination of this very powerful console that brings all its eight cores - 8GB of RAM, super-fast memory, super-powerful SoC we built, super-powerful dedicated audio and video processing subsystems," Henshaw said.

"There's incredible power in this device, married with the next generation of Kinect for really enabling those subtle interactions between you and your entertainment."

He continued: "To us, One is really the embodiment that this becomes one device that addresses all the entertainment you want to enjoy on your TV, and brings it to you in a way that's so simple, that it can be the only input you have connected through your television.

"It is truly the one place to go for all this. So One ends up being a deeply meaningful thing to us here.

"It's almost a bar that we are striving to achieve, and I think we nailed it really well with the Xbox One."

When asked about whether or not the name would be confusing, especially considering the original Xbox, Henshaw said: "The original Xbox was just the 'Xbox'. It wasn't 'One'.

"There's no resemblance anymore between the two [consoles]. You can't confuse them in any way.

"So when people say 'Xbox One', it's going to be reflective of this new generation of experiences. I really don't think there's going to be any confusion."

Xbox One looks like an archaic VCR from the 1980s! Would it be churlish of me to suggest the Xbox 360 S form factor looks more appealing? Within this imposing-looking monolith lurks the following technological treats:

*8-core CPU
*8 GB system memory
*500 GB HDD, non-user-serviceable
*Blu-ray drive with native support for 3D and 4K
*802.11n wireless with Wi-Fi Direct
*HDMI in/out
*USB 3.0

As a home entertainment device, Xbox One sounds impressive coupled with Snap Mode multitasking (via Kinect) - gestures always look cooler in Hollywood movies, mostly. Naturally Microsoft has pulled out all the stops for the Xbox One. Microsoft studios is promising 15 exclusive titles and eight new franchises for the Xbox One. These include the likes of the just announced Quantum Break. The announced games left me cold for now.

It's worth repeating @delphatic's comment on Twitter that Microsoft has held Skype back for Xbox One! The company could have added its VoIP service to Xbox 360 at anytime.

There are rumours suggesting an Xbox 360 dashboard refresh this summer, paving the way to the next generation Xbox LIVE, and official support will continue post Xbox One launch.

Following in the wake of Netflix's critical success with House of Cards and Amazon Studios' move into original series production. Halo is to be turned into a live-action television series under the auspices of director Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg said of the upcoming project, “I’ve been playing games for decades… For me the Halo universe is an amazing opportunity to be at that intersection where technology and mythmaking meet to produce something really ground-breaking.” Given Spielberg's less than auspicious track record in television, I'm not expecting too much.

There's no backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 or original Xbox. This also applies to digital downloads. So, it's worth holding onto your current machine, which isn't an ideal solution if space and finances are scarce.

Pre-order Xbox One here.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

New Xbox 360 dashboard rolls out!

For the past few months I've been beta testing the latest, subtle, iteration of dashboard, which starts rolling out to Xbox LIVE subscribers from today!

Here are the highlights:

Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard. We’ve updated the UI with a few things, including an updated layout with more tiles, a combined TV & Movies channel and, in the US, a Sports destination.

Internet Explorer for Xbox. With Internet Explorer on Xbox, you can easily find and view internet content on the biggest screen in the house, including HTML5 videos.

Recommendations and Ratings. Recommendations will allow you to discover new favorites, generated based on a number of variables including the content you previously viewed, what your friends are consuming and what is most relevant and popular with our Xbox community. You can now rate content yourself and also see Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

Pinning. Pinning lets you personalize the dashboard by saving your favorite movies, TV shows, games, music, videos and websites right to the home screen. It’s as easy as opening an app or a favorite movie and clicking “pin.”

Xbox Video. Formerly called Zune Video Marketplace, Xbox Video offers hundreds of thousands of TV shows and movies for buying or renting in instant HD streaming.

Recent. Previously called Quick Play, the Recent view gives you a list of movies, games, apps or other types of content that you most recently accessed on the console.

Enhanced Search. The last Xbox LIVE update brought Bing voice search to Xbox so you could use voice to search for movies, TV shows, actors, directors and artists. This year we added genre search to the list, so now you can search for action, comedy, romance, drama or sci-fi. Bing voice search now includes results for video across the Web, including YouTube.

International Expansion of Voice Search. We’ve expanded our Kinect voice search capabilities to 9 new countries – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland.

The dashboard update coincides with Xbox Music (a rebranded Zune). A streaming service not entirely catered towards Xbox LIVE members; unless you're prepared to shell out more money for a service that will be free on Android and iOS devices in 2013!

Xbox SmartGlass will be launched on October 26th for tablets, PCs and smartphones. This pits Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony head-to-head in the so-called second screen space during the holiday season. I'd argue Microsoft has already won the war...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

My Xbox LIVE updated for iPad

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft updated its free iOS companion app with media control functionality. At the time I bemoaned lack of support for iPad…

This Tuesday that complaint was rendered moot! This is a welcome addition, but will leave users clamouring for more! For example you can't switch on the Xbox 360 or purchase games in-app. Presumably the good stuff will arrive in the form of SmartGlass later this year.

Download My Xbox LIVE (iTunes)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut bows Tuesday

Not since Heavy Rain (PS3) has a game so masterfully captured my imagination! From immersive art design and rich characterisation to a soundtrack the equal of TRON: Legacy. Mass Effect 3 is in a class of its own.

I may have missed out on Mass Effect (having only recently won an Xbox 360) and its first sequel, but Mass Effect 3 has invaded my subconscious. So much so that I've dreamt about visiting The Citadel and battling Cerberus forces alongside gamers' favourite blue-skinned alien: Liara!

Much has been written about the game's controversial ending(s) and the developer's pledge to release a free patch that clarifies continuity issues. For gamers dissatisfied with the ending(s) of BioWare's Mass Effect trilogy, a free Extended Cut will be available to download from Tuesday on Xbox LIVE.

“The Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut is a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of Mass Effect 3,” the game’s website reads. “Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Extended Cut will include deeper insight to Commander Shepard’s journey based on player choices during the war against the Reapers. The Extended Cut will be available to download at no additional charge on June 26th on Xbox 360 and PC and PlayStation 3.”

EA has announced that Mass Effect 3 will be released on Nintendo's Wii U console this upcoming holiday season. A future patch supporting Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass app could add further replay value to the game.

The developer suggests that players use the last save file prior to the Cerberus HQ mission to unlock the new Extended Cut DLC. Personally, I'm going to undertake another walkthrough...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Control Xbox 360 with iPhone

For the past few weeks I've been considering a Microsoft Media Remote purchase! Yesterday the Redmond-based company updated My Xbox LIVE (iTunes) with media playback controls! The app is free, but requires an Xbox LIVE Gold membership.

What’s New in Version 1.5

• Use your iPhone with your Xbox to connect, control and discover content on your console. Connect your iPhone for access to a quick list of your most recent console activity. Control your content with play, pause, fast forward and rewind media controls. Find fresh entertainment to play in the new Discover section.
• Improved Authentication to make it more stable

• Improved Authentication to make it more stable
• iPad high-resolution images

This is the perfect excuse to dust off my iPod touch, which had been consigned to the drawer since I took delivery of a new iPad last month. The latter will become invaluable when the Xbox SmartGlass app is released, for smart phones and tablets, later this year.