New Xbox One: all-in-one entertainment
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Microsoft thinks it has the one.
The company Tuesday unveiled the Xbox One, a next-generation entertainment console it touts as the one system households will need for games, television, movies and other entertainment. It will go on sale later this year at a price to be announced.
Don Mattrick, Microsoft's president of interactive entertainment business, said the company has spent the past four years working on the "all-in-one home entertainment system."
The console was demonstrated at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters using voice control to seamlessly switch back and forth between watching live TV, listening to music, watching a movie and browsing the Internet, as well as simultaneously running apps.
Microsoft executives said the Xbox One is a replacement for the set-top box from your cable provider. It has its own guide, and you can change channels by voice command.
Senior vice president Yusuf Mehdi demonstrated how the console switched quickly between channels after saying show names like "Mary and Martha" or "Watch MTV." His voice command of "What's on HBO?" brought up the channel guide for HBO.
"No more memorizing channels or hunting for the remote control," Mehdi said.
The interface for the TV goes well beyond the functionality in Nintendo's Wii U, which still requires users to press buttons to change the input source on the TV. Xbox One seamlessly switched between games, movies and TV shows with a single voice command.
"You can switch to your game like it's a TV channel flip," said Marc Whitten, Microsoft's chief production officer of interactive entertainment business. He called it a "lag-free instant experience."
Microsoft also unveiled a new version of its camera-based Kinect system with better motion and voice detection. It showed how users can watch live sports on TV while getting updates on fantasy leagues on a split screen. In an effort to stay ahead of rivals, Microsoft said new content for the popular "Call of Duty" game can be downloaded on the Xbox One before any other system.
It's been eight years since the launch of the Xbox 360. The original Xbox debuted in 2001, and its high-definition successor premiered in 2005.
For the past two years, Microsoft has led the gaming industry in console sales with the Xbox 360.
In recent years, Microsoft expanded the scope of the Xbox 360 beyond just games, adding streaming media apps and the family-friendly Kinect system. Xbox 360 games won't work on the new system, the company said.