Face it: you’ve wanted your daily life to feel a little more like Minority Report ever since you first caught the flick. It’s okay, don’t be embarrassed, we’re in the same boat. There’s something to be said about manipulating an interface by waving your hands around in empty air.
Up comes Microsoft’s Kinect. Since the hardware’s unveiling, seamless motion control of the entire Xbox 360 experience has been shelved out of reach. Some features are accessible with the wave of a hand and a set of spoken commands, others can only be controlled by, well, controller.
Fortunately, starting today, Netflix can be added to the list of applications that make use of the Kinect. Users will be able to use motion to select movies and navigate through their playback. From the press release:
By integrating Kinect into the Netflix experience on Xbox LIVE, we’re continuing to transform the way people enjoy their favorite entertainment in the living room,” said Pete Thompson, General Manager, Xbox LIVE. “Since its launch, Netflix has always been one of the most popular services on Xbox LIVE, so we are excited to deliver a brand new way to control this experience in a way that can’t be found anywhere else.
Ready for the downsides? First, the video above makes this service look incredibly, incredibly slow. That might be attributed to the user’s connection speed, or it might be a result of the Kinect software.
Moreover, the only selections you can make come from the recommended films list. So, you won’t be able to browse the entire Netflix Watch Instantly library using only your Kinect. You’ll have to either bust out your 360’s remote or controller.
And that, quite frankly, is a bummer. Hopefully, Netflix will roll out an update that expands control to more than just limited browsing that centers around recommended films. It’s a downright bother to switch between the Kinect interface and a controller in order to make a film selection. One would imagine that the necessity to switch back and forth between tactile and motion control would make users less inclined to give the Kinect features a go, much less recommend the hardware.
But still… we’re one step closer to filling the gap between reality and Minority Report. We’ll take that as a win.