Microsoft Announces Kinect Will Control Netflix, Hulu Plus

Kinect

The Xbox Kinect controller is already a huge success for Microsoft, selling eight million units since its launch last November, and it’s about to get even better. Skatter Tech reports that Microsoft used its CES keynote speech to announce that beginning sometime this spring, Xbox users will be able to access and control Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, and their Zunes via Kinect.

Kinect has already changed game play by eliminating the need for physical controllers and to expand that to television controls is a big deal. Using voice commands and hand gestures, users will be able to do everything from change the channel to browse through digital content, making the Kinect one of television’s first accessibility controls. This will be a boon for the physically challenged as well as being a great convenience to multi-taskers who often have their hands too full to grab a remote.

The downside is that Netflix, Hulu Plus, and ESPN will only be available to Xbox Live subscribers, meaning it will cost an extra $50 per year to access the premium content, something the PS3 and the Wii offer for free. Casual gamers who don’t use Xbox Live will need to decide if the convenience of accessing the content via Kinect is worth the price.