Kinect 2 Will Double as an IR Blaster for Your Home Theater

Sections: Remote control, Smart Home

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Xbox One IR portsDuring an unboxing video of the new Xbox One, Microsoft gaming network Director of Programming Larry Hryb — also known as Major Nelson — revelead that while the system will feature a handy IR repeater output, the Kinect 2 can itself function as an IR blaster.

Given the Xbox One’s goal of becoming the hub of your home entertainment technology, this isn’t a huge surprise. Granted, you may be thinking, “but won’t it be pointing the wrong way? Away from my gear?” Actually, an IR signal of sufficient strength will bounce off of walls just fine, and since the vast majority of homes do not have their entertainment gear stored away in a closet or otherwise inaccessible locations, this feature should be of use to a huge number of people, especially when using voice commands to change channels for instance.

It’s also entirely within the realm of possibility that, since the Kinect’s built-in IR is used as a “sonar” for its motion sensing, the Kinect 2 could also be used as an IR receiver, as well, allowing you to point whatever other remotes you have in your system directly at it, rather than toward your DVR, Blu-ray player, receiver, or what have you.

You can see Major Nelson talk briefly about these features while unboxing the new console — likely the very first off the production line — at 2:05 in the video embedded below.

The Xbox One, which includes Kinect 2 in the box, is expected to launch in November, and is priced at $499.

Via: [Major Nelson]

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  • Kenny

    Less clutter always welcome. Tested this in my living room by placing my remote where my kinect would be and it worked flawlessly and I don’t have and picture frames or anything for it to bounce off of. Hurry up November

  • jake

    This is really a nice additional feature. A good universal remote with IR blaster and customization would generally run you easily over $100. Now you not only get all the same functionality of that, but you also do it without a remote. You can use your smartphone (Smartglass), voice, gestures, or X1 controller to control all of your devices.

    Looking forward to putting those remotes in a box. In related news, you will probably be able to get cheap used universal remotes off of ebay once the X1 launches, as people sell off their now unnecessary remotes.