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Xbox One Instant Switching Turns The Console Into A Voice-Powered Set Top Box With Live TV Integration

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After Months Of Speculation, Microsoft Officially Reveals Skype For The Xbox One

Now leading the pack in gaming consoles, Microsoft’s future growth lies outside the gaming sphere. We’ll surely see tons of games at E3 in a few weeks, but at the big reveal of the Xbox One, the company chose to focus on non-gaming features, such as media streaming and Skype conversations.

But what makes streaming and entertainment a true upgrade on the Xbox One, which already has access to almost all streaming platforms? Instant Switching. It allows you to switch between inputs, games, menus, Internet Explorer, and almost anything else almost instantly. And what’s more, it lets you layer the power of Microsoft partnerships and information across live TV.

The Xbox responds to the voice; saying “Xbox On” turns on the console to the homescreen. The UI is familiar, and lets you see what you were doing last, along with trending content from friends, and other panels like games, TV, etc. But then you say “Xbox watch TV,” and live TV pops on. “Xbox show Guide,” and the guide pops up letting you see what’s available on Live TV. “Xbox watch ESPN,” and bloop, ESPN is on. Instant Switching at its best.

And here’s where it gets interesting:

“Xbox show Fantasy,” and instantly, along the right side of the screen showing a Knicks vs. Celtics game you’ll see a run-down on your fantasy league, letting you access further information and even make alterations in real time, right alongside the game itself.

The company also announced a new partnership with NFL that will offer exclusive content and access to Fantasy leagues in Snapmode in real-time.

This is thanks to a feature called Snapmode, which will offer new interactive experiences for Live TV. This includes social, applications, and more.

Because Xbox is now tapping into your live TV, it offers a more targeted and complete entertainment UI, with favorites showing all of your favorite content in a single destination.

And it’s all powered by your voice, should you like. What’s that? Is that the voice of Microsoft telling the hundreds of thousands of Xbox 360 owners out there, who proudly revel in their ownership of what’s considered the most popular gaming console out there, that they should maybe think about upgrading?

Of course, Microsoft wouldn’t upgrade software without hardware (which you can read more about here), and that includes the addition of a Blu-ray player.

Alongside announcing the Xbox One, Microsoft also announced a partnership with 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg to develop a live action TV show about Halo. They didn’t go into much detail, but how much you want to bet there’s some awesome Snapmode features and Xbox SmartGlass features?