Avatar Kinect, Hulu Plus & Netflix Kinect Functionality Unveiled at CES 2011

For some, Microsoft's keynote, where CEO Steve Ballmer (and others) takes the stage and talks about what's to come from the Redmond-based company is the kick-off for the Consumer Electronics Show. This year, Microsoft took some time to talk about their recently released motion-controlled peripheral, Kinect, and the features that will be added into the accessory soon. For those who believe that Kinect's usage through the Xbox 360's system isn't as in-depth as they'd like, Microsoft is happy to add functionality to two main features, along with adding an entirely new way to interact with your friends on Xbox LIVE.

First and foremost, Avatar Kinect is how Microsoft believes that many gamers will want to interact with their friends. Thanks to Kinect, users will be able to actually "interact" with their friends, right in the digital world played out on their TV. It's not as vast as, say, Sony's PlayStation Home digital world, but the Kinect camera does add a bit of personalization to the usage that some may enjoy. The Kinect sensor is now able to track not only a person's movements of appendages and head, but also the mouth and eyebrows, all of which will be repeated by the Avatar in the game. Avatar Kinect will feature different backgrounds, where users can basically sign into a real-time chat, with their Avatar mimicking their movements in real-life.

The other main part of the announcement from Microsoft, as far as it relates to Kinect, is the addition of Kinect-based controls for not only Hulu Plus, but also Netflix. Users will be able to make use of this method of navigation as soon as Microsoft pushes out a dashboard update, which should be any minute. Both of the newer support services will allow for users to select movies, shows, or the like without having to use a controller. Additionally, players will also be able to use voice commands to control some functions. The updates are said to be rolled out in the Spring of 2011.

[via Electronista]