So, this morning I used Kinect at home for the first time since around launch. That’s great. But I wasn’t using it with a game; I used it with Netflix. As Xbox Live guru Major Nelson noted on his blog earlier today, the long-awaited support for Kinect on the streaming service’s channel is now live, allowing Kinect owners to pick and choose movies, and fast forward and rewind content without a controller. Voice is also thrown into the mix, too, so prepare to talk to your TV like crazy men do.
The support, as a whole, is extremely limited. For starters, you’re restricted to the suggestions tab, which whittles down your hands-free content options if Netflix doesn’t have your interests pegged. Also, in this lone menu, you only get a total of four movies to choose from per tab. You’ll need to wave your hand around to get to another set of four, and then another, and then another.
This probably sounds a bit familiar to you. This support is very similar to the original Kinect UI experience, which has you pushing through menus with your hands and stating flat commands.
The takeaway I get from this is the same takeway I got from using Kinect with most of the games released so far: it works, but it’s not an ideal or incredibly precise method of control. In the specific case of the Netflix app, you need to pick up a controller to browse through your Instant Queue or do anything that you would normally do, so I’m sort of at a loss as to a practical application here. I suppose it’ll be nice to scream at my Kinect to fast-forward, but I very rarely re-watch or blaze through Netflix content.
So... I know I won’t be replacing my controller with my fist in Netflix anytime soon, but hey, it’s there and it’s free. That's always a plus.