Netflix users on the Xbox 360 can now get a free update to enable Kinect navigation for the digital movie service. Users can now use motion gestures, as well as voice commands, to control their Netflix experience on the Xbox 360.
Xbox's Major Nelson broke the news on his blog, detailing just what you can do with Kinect for Netflix, including an exclusive new "recommendation channel" that is completely controller free. The new channel recommends movies and TV shows based on your existing viewing habits, Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb noted on his blog entry.
But early reviews of the service appears to have one conclusion: that it's still very much a work in progress. For example, GTtv.com noted that you could only navigate a single menu that contains about 12 flicks only, whereas the rest of the Netflix interface still requires a controller or remote. They also noted the fiddly nature of the controls, calling it "imprecise, time-consuming and silly".
Wired.com's review wasn't much better, going as far as calling the whole implementation "half-assed", and also noting the fact that you can't navigate your own Instant Queue with Kinect, which defeats the whole purpose of having motion and voice controls.
But both reviews noted that, if you did intend to watch one of the limited numbers of movies that shows up in the Kinect controlled menu, the voice commands worked well ("Xbox pause", "Xbox rewind" ...), as well as gesture controls, worked well within the movies themselves.
So it's not quite back to the drawing board for Microsoft, but this 0.1 "beta" of Kinect Netflix will need to be improved a lot before it can reach that 1.0 status.
Are you interested in using Kinect like technology to control all of your home theater equipment? Post your answer in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread: