The new XBox, called the One, is a heavy-duty gaming machine that is sure to be on a lot of Christmas lists this year. The games are going to be incredible - graphics have gotten much better even since the last console generation. However, the One has a secret, rarely-discussed feature that could change the way you watch TV.
The secret is the Xbox's TV viewing feature. It works by connecting to your cable or satellite box and adds a few cool features to your boring old DVR.
First, the Xbox One has powerful voice and facial recognition. When you sit down in front of it the new Kinect sensor can tell who you are, who you're sitting with, and it can change the entire user experience to match your preferences.
More from The Stir: 5 Ways Video Games Keep Parents Sane
It can also understand multiple voices so you can simply say "Xbox watch TV" and the TV app will pop up. Then you can say "Watch ESPN" or "Watch HBO" and the Xbox will change the channel. And that's just the basic stuff.
The coolest part of the TV experience is the abilty to set favorite channels and watch TV in a small side window while playing a game. The favorites work just as you'd imagine them: you select a few favorite channels and add them to a list. Instead of jumping through hundreds of channels you can simply pop over to favorites and jump between your four and five favorite channels. Because each user can add their own favorites it ensures that everyone is represented in the list and that you can easily find your favorite programs with just a few button presses.
While the Wii U lets you play games right on the handheld controller, allowing the rest of the family to watch the TV, the Xbox improves the situation considerably.
You can easily split the screen between game and TV - the content appears in the upper right side of your home screen - and the game continues playing. You can also pause any game you're playing and pop over to the TV app so you can watch the big game and then get back to the big game. While this kind of multitasking might be hard for us adults, the kids will figure it out immediately.
The One doesn't yet have a DVR built-in and you can't record a show using the Xbox. However because of this built-in and seamless integration the One could be a Trojan horse that allows Microsoft to sneak into the living room without ruffling any cable company feathers. Add in some live video streaming of various channels online and you're pretty darn close to cutting the cord.
Do you want an X Box?
Image via YouTube