One of the most requested update for XBox 360 Kinect owners is to have Netflix integration. Netflix is available on many different platforms and systems but the whole idea of sitting back on your couch and being able to select the movies you want without a controller adds a novelty worth using. I’ve always liked how Zune was tightly integrated into Kinect, I can choose to use voice or hand tracking to select whatever movie I wanted – more so with the hand gestures than with voice but that’s ok. I can at least select what I want. NOTE: I’m using an XBox that is currently undergoing the Beta Preview Disc Program and the update had no adverse affects.
When the XBox Live update for Kinect made the news feeds, Kotaku professed how much it sucked. Hoping this was not true, I checked for myself just to see what the whole deal was about and unfortunately they were right. This is not an update, this is a checkbox to say “Hey, we looked into your requests and this is our answer”. I’m hoping this is not the final answer. My wife and I use Kinect quite often and would have love to see its functions extend outside of games and our workouts. I suspect that fanboys and gamers will have a field day with this one. And rightfully so, it’s the only way to get the big wigs to really listen to their customers.
Below is a quick video I did comparing Netflix Kinect integration with Zune. The Kinect Integration with Zune is very fitting and seamless. It’s not perfect but we can select the movies we want and control how we watch our movies as well.
Netflix “Suggestions For You”
Suggestion to Microsoft: Why can’t hand gestures simply navigate Netflix’s current controller-based layout? Adding a top and bottom ‘slide’ arrow along with the existing side-by-side sliders to navigate would work.
I would even be completely cool just selecting things off my Instant Queue but the 43MB update doesn’t even do that.
Business First, Customers Later
I’m sure that Microsoft has all the resources and abilities to provide a proper update for Kinect integration but part of me thinks this was a business decision. Zune is a Microsoft thing. If Netflix had the same abilities as Zune, the value in having Zune becomes less appealing, especially if you’re not interested in new releases. Why would you want to watch each movie at $4-$5 dollars a pop on Zune when you can subscribe to Netflix at $10 a month and watch whatever you want for as long (and as many times) as you want.
Netflix is one of the most used features on the XBox 360. When my XBox Live friends log on, their machines tell me that they are either gaming or watching a movie on Netflix. Microsoft Zune should not be threatened by Netflix, that’s the small picture. Dear Microsoft, please concentrate on the big picture and make XBox THE place to experience media in a new way – even if one of those products are not yours.