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Xbox One review

The Xbox One is getting better with every firmware update

There is one rather glaring limitation of the OneGuide system, though. Namely that if you select an episode on the OneGuide that isn't showing live, you don't get the option to set your connected TV receiver to record it, despite your Xbox One being able to issue commands to that receiver.

When you think about it this is an inevitable limitation. After all, you're using the Guide on your Xbox not the guide on your TV receiver, so setting that receiver to make recordings from your Xbox would involve the console somehow being able to open up the receiver's guide, track down the right programme, and issue a record command.

Of course, Xbox could argue with some justification that it's no great hardship picking up your TV receiver's remote and tracking down in your receiver's own listings an interesting broadcast the Xbox has discovered for you.

But surely the whole point of the OneGuide is that it should offer a unified, one-stop TV experience.

We can't help but think that after a few times of having to juggle two remotes and two EPG's just to set a recording many people may just decide to go back to keeping their TV and gaming/multimedia experiences separately.

Familial resistance

Another potential problem for the OneGuide is that TV viewing tends to be a whole family activity rather than a personal one.

Everyone in the house is familiar with using their TV as the starting point to their TV-viewing experience, whereas in most households using an Xbox One will certainly not be second nature.

In other words, while people not familiar with the Xbox One might appreciate some of the extra functionality the OneGuide offers, they still likely won't ever want to bother with the extra effort required to use it. Even if you fork out £20-£30 for the pretty much essential Xbox One media remote.

Kinect Schminect

Having mentioned the media remote, though, I'd hoped that the Xbox One's much-vaunted Kinect might go a long way to making the OneGuide more intuitive to use.

After all, in theory you can use it to issue voice commands so that you barely have to touch the joystick or optional remote. Supported OneGuide voice commands include 'Xbox, Watch TV', 'Xbox, One Guide', 'Xbox, Favourites' and the ability to switch to a show or channel by name.

While this all sounds great on paper, despite calibrating the Kinect umpteen times for every member of the household, the Kinect's ability to respond to commands accurately – if at all – is far too flawed and inconsistent to be usable.

While you might be happy to be patient with Kinect in other areas, if you're going to leave behind the zippy interface of your Sky box, you're going to want the same speedy experience.

However, I'd estimate that the voice recognition system failed to respond at all or failed to correctly recognise a OneGuide command – especially when trying to tell it show or channel names - at least 60% of the time.

This leaves you feeling frustrated and, as you bellow the same instruction at the console for the fourth time, a bit of an idiot, frankly.

Talk slowly

It doesn't help that the voice command system responds pretty sluggishly at the best of times, denying you that 'instant response' that's so important with any control system.

In short, trying to use your voice to control the OneGuide is more or less a non-starter, more likely to have you tearing your hair out than marvelling at the arrival of a brave new world of TV interfaces.

Split decision

One possible solution might be to run your broadcast receiver into an HDMI splitter, sending one signal direct to your TV and one to your Xbox One. That way family members not comfortable with the Xbox One can still use the TV as before, while getting the benefits of the OneGuide on the occasions where you think they'll come in useful is no more complicated than choosing another input.

But this is more expense and hassle, of course, and so it's a solution that probably won't curry favour in most households.

Moving on to other parts of the Xbox One's media credentials, Microsoft's recent move to shift video streaming services outside of its Xbox Live Gold subscription 'walled garden' is hugely welcome.

It's long seemed nonsensical and unfair to force people to subscribe to Xbox Live just to access their Netflix or Amazon Instant accounts that they're already paying for.

Tech Specs

Product TypeGaming Console
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Product FamilyXbox One
Gaming Controller ConnectivityWireless
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Brand NameMicrosoft
Input Device TypeGame Pad
Processor CoreOcta-core (8 Core)
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon
EthernetYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Graphics Processor Speed853 MHz
Online NetworkXbox LIVE
Channels7.1
ManufacturerMicrosoft Corporation
Product NameXbox One Gaming Console
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeJaguar
Product LineXbox One
Manufacturer Part NumberXBOXONE
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.microsoft.co.uk
Marketing Information

Be amazed.

Welcome to a new generation of games and entertainment. Where games push the boundaries of realism. And television obeys your every command. Where listening to music while playing a game is a snap. And you can jump from TV to movies to music to a game in an instant. Where your experience is custom tailored to you. And the entertainment you love is all in one place. Welcome to the all-in-one, Xbox One.