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Testing The New Xbox One Media Remote

During the last generation of consoles, I preferred to watch movies on my PlayStation 3 thanks to its awesome first-party Bluetooth remote control. When I disconnected my PS3 and 360 after buying my new consoles, I was disappointed to have to return to controller-based navigation. As soon as I heard Microsoft would be putting out a relatively inexpensive ($25) official media remote, I put my pre-order in. It arrived today, and I had a chance to test it out a bit this afternoon.

I flipped through the brief manual at first to see if there were any sync instructions for the device, but found none. Thinking there might be a sync button on the remote itself, I looked there to no result. I assumed that I’d need to go through some of the device settings on the Xbox One itself, so I headed into the conference room to turn it on.

Out of habit, I pressed the guide button on the remote despite not doing anything to sync it. To my surprise, it immediately worked and turned on the Xbox One and the television. Navigating around the dashboard worked as you’d expect with the circular direction buttons, and I started a Blu-Ray movie (Bruce Almighty, which we had in the vault for some dumb reason).

I expected all of the media controls to work for the Xbox One’s built-in Blu-Ray player, and it functioned as advertised. You have to make sure you’re pointing the remote at the console, but it’s quick and easy to pause, play, and go through various fast-forward and rewind speeds.

My question was whether or not the controls would cross over to third-party apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Thankfully, it functioned exactly the same as it did for the Blu-Ray player. Personally, I’m hoping it’s the same case when the WWE Network app launches later this year on Xbox One.

The remote itself is lightweight, small, and automatically lights up the buttons when you pick it up. I really like the feel and function of it, and I’m looking forward to not having to drain my game controller’s battery when I’m just watching Hulu or Netflix. From my brief time with the Xbox One Media Remote today, I’d recommend it to anyone that wants a dedicated device for media control.

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