Sky revived Microsoft’s living room dream
Sky is resurrecting Microsoft’s original dream of a Kinect accessory next year. The British satellite broadcaster announced its new Sky Glass TVs this morning, and the company has rolled out a separate 4K camera that includes motion controls and gesture support. It also works across all games, and has a social TV sharing feature built in partnership with Microsoft.
“Working with Microsoft, we’re also building a great feature that lets us watch TV together even when we’re miles away,” explains Sky Chief Product Officer Fraser Sterling. “It syncs your TV with other homes with integrated video and on-screen chat, and you can choose from content from the biggest channels – including Premier League matches, movies and all your favorite entertainment.”
The Social TV feature is exactly what Microsoft tried and failed to do with its Kinect accessory in 2013. The Xbox One launched with the Kinect, and the console included an HDMI-in port for accessing TV satellite providers like Sky and cable boxes. Microsoft had some big plans for TV on Xbox, and even experimented with social features allowing Xbox owners to watch TV simultaneously. Ultimately, Kinect bundling failed and the company withdrew all of its Bold TV plans.
Sky’s Watch Together feature, created in partnership with Microsoft, will allow people to quickly see each other’s reactions. You can pause, skip and replay when you watch simultaneously. Where this camera gets really interesting is the motion controls and gesture support for gaming.
The games will be available on Sky Glass TVs that exclusively support this new camera, including the Paw Patrol-branded title and fruit Ninja. The camera will also enable multiplayer games. “Choose your opponent at home or in another house and play through your body’s movement or gesture control,” says Sterling. “Family games will never be the same again.”
Sky is also investing heavily in voice control on its Sky Glass TVs. “Hello, Sky” activates Sky’s voice command like a digital assistant, and you can use it to switch the HDMI port by saying “Sky, Xbox” to switch to Xbox console if one is connected. will be able to.
It all looks and feels a lot like the Kinect. Microsoft dreamed big about taking over the living room with smart cameras and voice control, and now Sky is trying to keep that dream alive.