Microsoft reportedly planning to licence Kinect to TV manufacturers

By Tom Warren, on 23rd Nov 11 8:13 pm with 33 Comments

Microsoft is looking to integrate its Kinect motion sensor technology into television sets, according to reports.

The software giant is reportedly in the early stages of discussions with TV hardware manufacturers to licence its Kinect technology. The Daily reports that manufacturers such as Vizio and Sony are both talking to Microsoft to discuss the possibility of including the technology in their next-generation television sets. The site speculates that a Kinect-enabled TV would likely work with a local PC running Windows 8 and allow for gesture-based TV control.

Microsoft’s Xbox console allows Kinect users to control TV shows using their voice or by gestures. The software maker is currently on the verge of delivering a massive overhaul to its dashboard software to provide nearly 40 different live TV stations. Microsoft is also preparing to make new Kinect for Windows hardware available in early 2012. The optimized hardware includes components for PC scenarios. Microsoft is planning to shorten the USB cable to ensure reliability across a range of computers. The company will also include a small dongle to help ease coexistence with other USB devices. The new firmware updates for the Kinect will enable the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimetres in front of the device without losing any precision. Microsoft calls this “Near Mode” and the company hopes it will enable a whole new class of “up close” apps that have not been made available previously.

Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows plans could be part of the rumored Kinect for TV manufacturer plans. Microsoft has made no secret of its plans to position Xbox as the core to its entertainment strategy. If Microsoft is planning to bake Kinect into TVs then it will surely make the integration compatible with the company’s Xbox console, something that Sony would not likely agree to given its own efforts with the PlayStation 3. Whatever Microsoft has planned, it’s clear the company is serious about the future of Kinect across Windows and Xbox and maybe TV too.

  • Anonymous

    Goodnight Siri controlled iTV ;)

    • Ef Jay

      Good point, siri would likely be an apple exclusive, Kinect could be in practically all TVs, vizio’s low price/feature ratio could mean huge adoption rates. interesting to see Sony mentioned, guess the move wouldn’t cut it. :)

    • BadManDuke

      I’ll say this much. Anybody actually waiting for such a device might be pleasantly surprised by the new Xbox dashboard.

      I know I was.

    • Monkey D Black

      Siri? who the F*CK let you in my house?

  • Anonymous

    Samsung TV with built in Kinect technology and gesture/voice based navigation sounds good – can stop worrying about the remote getting lost

    • Monkey D Black

      remote? what remote? dude, thats so retro.

  • Anonymous

    so when’s Microsoft going to sell an all in one TV+XBOX+Kinect?? It would be even better if plus PC+touchscreen.. lololol.. :yaoming:

  • Frylockns86

    They need to integrate this into Windows and Windows based desktop PCs. Windows 8 metro controlled by hand movement = win.

    • BadManDuke

      or Voice.

      Hello Star Trek world.

    • GreyWolf

      Liked and agreed.

  • Idontlikespammers

    Ever notice how the second paragraph of every winrumors post is pointless and can be skipped with no loss of understanding?

    • Guest

      Ever notice how critics never have their own blog?

    • Sebastian Swann

      Actually… John C. Dvorak from PC Magazine is pretty active at blogging… and hating “Microsoft Everywhere” he can.
      He got his own blog too:

    • Anonymous

      Dvorak is most active at being wrong. He’s been phoning it in since before the last Comdex.

      Remember, this is the guy who predicted doom for the iBook because it looked like a makeup case. I didn’t care for its look myself but I also had no illusion that my taste was the sole market to be served profitably.

    • GreyWolf

      I have no blog.

    • AdrianWerner

      If all relevant information isn’t in the first paragraph it means the writer doesn’t know anything about journalism.

  • Anonymous

    Sony would have been my last guess when it comes to early adopters, would’ve thought someone like Samsung who already has a big partnership with Microsoft would’ve been the first here.

    If Microsoft can do this, and also manage to move the media part of the Xbox into the Kinect TVs they really could domanate another market.

    • BadManDuke

      The fact Sony was mentioned at all is rather surprising.  If Sony does get onboard I will be very curious to see how it affects their Playstation brand.

    • TGR

      You must remember everyone is afraid of what Apple has up their sleeve for televisions.  That said, Sony needs do whatever they can to make sure their brands stays fresh and sell units.

    • BadManDuke

      I would say other companies are cautious, but not necessarily afraid.

      I just wonder if Sony is really willing to undercut one unit for another (game vs tv). Then again, MS & Sony are already partners in other sectors as well.

  • Niko


    • Deathmore34

      I assume Sony Vaio’s run Linux instead of Windows?

      Sony and Microsoft get along, its just when it comes to games there’s tension.

    • Anonymous

      And the latest rumors says Sony and Microsoft will team up with next gen gaming console.

    • Anonymous

      It’s called co-opetition in the buzzword dictionary. Similarly, many rival companies can team up for a standards effort when the goal serves all of their purposes. TrueType, for example.

  • Guest

    IIRC, they didn’t license the PrimeSense technology for anything other than their own use. So while this would be a smart move, they’d likely have to remove any trace of PrimeSense’s tech first. I know they bought a company that was a PrimeSense competitor, but I’d be surprised if they’ve managed to rip and replace yet. It’s taken this long just to get the SDK.

    • Anonymous

      Nonsense. The only thing they licensed was the technology, not the software.

  • Owais_503

    Microsoft will not make a deal specialy about kinect becuz if the do then sony will use the kinect for playstation too. thats wat i think

    • Monkey D Black

      if it’s not in the licensing then sony cannot, if they do it anyway then its a breach of contract and they’re liable to get sued and be forced to pay way extra for the play station implementation.

    • Anonymous

      You say that like it would be a bad thing for Microsoft. Do you think Sony would be upset if Microsoft adopted Blu-ray for the next Xbox? They’d love it. The wider adoption of the format would mean more to them than the next Xbox having features that were previously Playstation advantages. Sony is more concerned with the ongoing strength of the format vs. other delivery methods than they are about meeting the console challenge

      Microsoft would get some value from adopting Blu-ray but not all that much. You may have noticed that publishers of huge PC epics aren’t in any hurry to adopt Blu-ray for distribution, despite the fact they don’t pay a per disc fee like they would for the same game on a console. That is the big objection to the DVD on Xbox for game publishers. The effect of multiple discs on gameplay is pretty minor when most console are sold with hard drives. The #1 advantage of Blu-ray for them is cost reduction for big games rather than better play. Take away that cost an Square wouldn’t have blinked at having FF13 on half a dozen discs if that is what was needed for AV parity with the PS3 version.

      But costs matter. Both for game publishers and console makers. Blu-ray adds unavoidably to the base cost of the machine and thus the cost of entry. Cost of entry affects installed base. Installed base strongly influence game publishers’ choice, as does per unit costs.

      Microsoft would be just fine with Kinect in Sony TVs. They are already actively opening the Kinect to other platforms. People have already figured out enough on their own to do Kinect apps running on Linux. The Kinect for Windows API will only open things up more for those looking to roll their own API code.

      You have to give a little to win a lot. Having Kinect become widely adopted while the patents still have many years left on them is a big win for MS. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a PS4 game with a Kinect logo on the cover.

      I suspect they consoles’ digital sales channels are going to look more and more like App stores for mobile devices in the next generation. There will be a lot of non-game items for sales or free download. So you may not see Kinect support cooked directly into a future Playstation but it may be something you can buy on the PSN store. That way, Sony gets a slice off the top and everybody wins.

  • Lewis McCrary

    I like where this is going.  Carry on.

  • Maciej

    Please let there be TV’s with integrated Kinect and Windows Media Center UI. That would be awesome!

  • Anonymous

    This could be very cool. This would tie in well with the networking support in the latest generation of HDMI. If the Kinect can be made to work over Ethernet, you’d only need one cable to go between your Xbox and TV to use both the AV output and Kinect input. Further, this means the TV can act as a network switch for all of the gear in the entertainment center, reducing cable clutter a bit. (Or the same role could fall to the receiver in more elaborate layouts. It just means having a single component everything else is talking to over HDMI and in turn acts as the point of connection to the household network.) Get as much functionality over the cables that cannot be eliminated and still enjoy the reliability and performance of a wired network.

  • Cristian

    this is great but microsoft is building is own siri remember that one video where they predicted siri but as a microsoft product.