Regular readers will of course be familiar with my Xbox: Fail from January, and I thought a little update was in order.
To get something out-of-the-way, the February and March updates did nothing noticeable to improve voice recognition. I did recalibrate after the February update, but not after the one in March. Maybe I’ll try again after the April update. And it appears to me that one of the updates degraded facial recognition as much of the time my Xbox One isn’t recognizing me and automatically logging in. To put a short summary on it, the experience is no better than when I wrote the piece in January.
And to say something positive, I love that Microsoft added music videos to the Xbox Music app on the Xbox One. We had company for the weekend and Saturday night we all stayed up past midnight finding favorite music videos. On the few we couldn’t find on Xbox Music I found them on the web and put them up on our 55″ using Miracast from my Lumia 2520. That worked flawlessly too. Especially watching the launch of MTV. Coverage of the first launch of the Space Shuttle is way cooler than any music video :-) And Video killed the radio star is a terrible song, even if it was perfectly appropriate as MTV’s first music video.
One thing I called for in the January piece was a Media Remote, and Microsoft has obliged with that. I really like it, and if it weren’t for one major design flaw I would have titled this post “Xbox One Media Remote saved my marriage”. That major design flaw? The Xbox One Media Remote uses IR rather than RF to control the Xbox One. That’s a problem for me because the Xbox One is in a cabinet, with a door blocking IR signals.
Given that the Xbox One come out of the box working with RF-based game controllers I never would have guessed that they’d use IR for the Media Remote. Why not just have it use the same RF communications channel? I hate IR. It is the 80-column card of the A/V industry. Except 80-column cards were a good idea in their time while I’m not convinced IR was ever a good idea. In either case, their times have passed!
Dear Xbox team, wait until you see the blog post when one of my dogs crashes into the open door and breaks it off the built-in cabinet. Wait until I send Satya the bill and demand payment in Hyderabadi Biryani, which I will do. Seriously.
Anyway now I do open the cabinet door to consume media on the Xbox One. This makes my wife happy because she interprets the voice commands about as accurately as the Xbox. For example, I say “Xbox Select” and the Xbox displays a message about something else not being valid in the current context, if it hears me at all. My wife interprets “Xbox Select” as “Dial Divorce Lawyer”. Fortunately she tunes me out even better than the Xbox though I try not to press my luck. So I no longer talk to the Xbox.
Meanwhile with the cabinet door perfectly positioned to absorb the shock of a Bernese Mountain Dog that is blissfully unaware that the U.S. Government has classified her as a weapon of mass destruction, I happily select apps, perform searches, play and pause media, etc. on the Media Remote. It’s an accessory that I recommend to anyone who is going to regularly use their Xbox One for video.
What about installing (another, actually) IR repeater so I don’t have to leave the cabinet door open? I suppose I will eventually. But I hate IR, and I love Hyderabadi Biryani.