The lights are on
Yesterday, I had the chance to see the Xbox One dashboard, apps, Kinect, and more in action. I sat down with Microsoft’s Albert Penello, who walked me through all the features and showed off some of the nuances of what living room life with the Xbox One will be like.
Setting up your TV options is simple.In order to get your television viewing configured, you’ll only need to know three things: your Live ID, your password, and your cable provider. Additionally, the Kinect’s IR blaster fills the room and will be able to control your television, cable box, and audio receiver. Those will be configured through an automated process.
The Xbox One will work as a media server using SkyDrive.Penello demonstrated how this will work by loading up an HD video on his Windows 8 laptop. Using the tray on the right side of the screen, he was able push the video to Xbox One. The video can then be manipulated via the laptop, too.
Every Live subscriber gets 7 GB of space on SkyDrive, and the photos and videos can all be viewed on the Xbox One. SkyDrive shows up in the “favorites” section of the TV “One Guide.” You can even pin favorite albums and videos within SkyDrive.
No matter what device you run through the HDMI passthrough, the voice command never changes.While you can certainly connect an Xbox 360 or other gaming console through the HDMI passthrough, you can’t configure the voice commands. You won’t be able to tell your Xbox One to “play PlayStation 4.” The app command is always, “Xbox Watch TV.”
You’ll need to snap Upload Studio to get access to the full five-minute video buffer.As Dan mentioned in his preview, using the “Xbox Record That” voice command grabs the last 30 seconds of video. In order to buffer the five minutes we’ve been hearing about, you’ll need to have the Upload Studio app snapped to the right side of the screen. Videos capture, encode, and upload extremely quickly. Penello captured a Forza Motorsport 5 segment, skinned in with one of the preset themes, and uploaded it in under a minute. These videos can be named, tagged, and shared.
When you have a media app (like TV) snapped with a game, the sound will merge.At launch, you won't be able to mute one of the sources via the Xbox One (but you can with your television remote if you are watching TV snapped). The sound will be blended coming through the speakers. We expect that improved functionality will be introduced in the future.
The Xbox One’s multiple operating systems solve a problem that emerged on the Xbox 360.Penello told me that as the Xbox 360 dashboard matured, the team needed to always be careful that new features didn’t break the way games are played. That won’t be a concern on the Xbox One. Since those two operating systems are separate, the design team can tinker with and improve the Xbox One dashboard without ever impacting the usability of the game functions.