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Kinect Netflix: The Verdict

sjohnson
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Posted April 14, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson

Kinect Netflix: The Verdict

Have you ever heard a great idea, like wii-fi pizza or rocket shoes, and then when it actually comes to fruition, it turns out to be lame and sucky? Sadly, that is the case with Kinect-controlled Netflix. As a person who loses his remote controls constantly, the idea of controlling my favorite video streaming service with gestured and my voice seems like a gift from Odin, but in practice, the implementation of Kinect on Netflix leaves a lot to be desired.

The main problem: You can only navigate a single menu with Kinect, your "Suggested Movies" queue, and that adds up to just 12 flicks, which are a combination of movies you have already watched, movies on your queue, and movies Netflix thinks you would like. You must use your controller to navigate any other menus.

This is a really odd decision on the part of either Netflix or Microsoft, and I can't imagine why anyone would think it was a good idea to create a navigation system that can only be used to navigate a single menu. It would be like manufacturing a car that can only turn right on Wednesday.

If you can put up with the not-actually-able-to-use-it limitation, Kinect on Netflix works. You use Kinect-movements to choose flicks in your single menu, but it's imprecise, time-consuming and silly compared to using a controller. You will feel like a wiggly-armed goon, as opposed to Batman.

It's not all negative, however: The voice commands work really well with KinectFlix, and it's really fun to yell "Xbox, Stop!" or "Xbox, Rewind!" at the top of your lungs. It made me feel powerful, like some kind of king or emperor, but then I remembered I have but a single subject and I can't even make him dance before me or cower in fear. Rip-off. But it works for pausing, fast-forwarding, rewinding, stopping or moving on to the next video.

The verdict: Xbox for Kinect doesn't seem like it's finished. If the control-scheme was implemented for the rest of Netflix, it would be sort of neat, and really useful when my controller is behind my couch. While you probably won't use KinectFlix all that much, it might be kind of useful to yell "Xbox, Pause!" if you need to suddenly stop your movie for some reason. Also: While this will do little to revolutionize the use of Netflix or your 360,  It's free and a quick download so I wouldn't complain too hard.

All of the best people are following Stephen Johnson's twitter feed. Also, email me if you wanna.

Kinect Netflix: The Verdict
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