As most of us expected, Kinect was a big focus during Microsoft’s E3 press conference this year. Also high on Microsoft’s priorities was the expansion of the Xbox 360’s media capabilities, with the introduction of several new media services and features.
First up, Microsoft showed off a brand new Kinect dashboard. The new dashboard takes advantage of the Kinect’s voice recognition capabilities and allows the user to control practically the entire Xbox 360 experience through voice commands alone. The new interface is streamlined to make navigating and playing your content as easy as possible.
To that end, Microsoft also announced Bing for Xbox 360. It isn’t the same Bing you use in your browser, nor does it mean that you’ll be able to browse the web on your 360. What it does mean, however, is that searching for content – movies, games, and so on – can be done entirely by voice through Bing. Going by the video, it actually seems to work pretty well.
In an even more surprising announcement, Microsoft revealed plans to bring live TV straight to your Xbox 360. Very little details were shared during the reveal, but Microsoft stated that you’ll be able to watch your local stations as well as several networks to be announced closer to the launch of the new service.
As part of its expansion of media available on the 360, Microsoft announced that YouTube will be coming to Xbox Live as well. It’s not known if you’ll have full access or if you’re limited to predetermined content, but either way it’s a start. Also, UFC president Dana White took to the stage to announce that live UFC events will be coming to Xbox Live, and it includes features similar to ESPN3 on Xbox 360 that allows you and your friends to place friendly bets on the outcome of the match.
All of these new features are expected to launch sometime this fall.