Troubleshooting Xbox One Kinect Voice Commands

The Xbox One Kinect is cool. It offers hands-free voice controlled operations within the home to go to games, apps, or TV channels. For example, it’s actually kind of satisfying when you say, “Xbox, record that”, and it auto records the last 30 seconds of gameplay without having to double-tap the home button and then press X (or whatever button it is).

Well, a better statement is that it is cool except for when it isn’t. The Kinect sensor doesn’t perform well in noisy-kid environments. It seems that any amount of ambient noise from someone doing the dishes to a kid laughing, coughing, whining, or screaming (of course) prevents the sensor from picking up your voice commands. There is nothing more frustrating when you are trying to mute the Xbox so that you can hear someone in the other room talking to you, but it can’t register your mute command because of the someone in the other room who is talking.

My thoughts on the Kinect aside, I wanted to share some troubleshooting that I have done recently to figure out why Xbox would take me to VH1 when I was trying to go to beINSport USA, which I referenced in passing in a former post.

When I experienced the issue, I first turned to self-help resources. I went to Settings > Kinect > I moved my Kinect sensor. I re-calibrated but to no avail. I then went to Troubleshoot Voice Commands. These steps did not resolve it. I Tweeted Xbox support, but the steps they provided did not resolve the issue, so they referred me to their phone support. I spent an hour on the phone with their support staff, and they concluded that I needed a new sensor.

They were wrong.

I tested my sensor on my Day One Edition console after taking it off of my Elite one, and it worked perfectly to take me to beINSport USA.

I bought a new Kinect to have it with my Elite console, and–at first–it had the same issue. I thought it was environmental initially, but that didn’t make sense because the Day One console and Kinect worked perfectly fine in the same exact spot as the Elite console and new Kinect.

Then I realized it could be my satellite box. I power-cycled it. Issue persisted.

Then I realized it could be my pronunciation. I realized that I could say, “Xbox, select”, and it would pull up the existing channel and show the voice command on the top right to get to it. So, I manually selected the channel in the full guide and then used the aforementioned voice command. It showed me, “Watch beIN Sport”. I was not slightly pausing between beIN and Sport! So, I went to NBC and then invoked this watch command–and it worked!

The troubleshooting step here is to ensure you are following the appropriate voice command with exact pronunciation and pauses.

For example, “Xbox, go to Minecraft” will not work. Instead, use, “Xbox, go to Minecraft Xbox One Edition”.

In my specific case, “Watch beINSport” is not the same as “Watch beIN Sport”. The space must be followed.

However, colons should be ignored. “Xbox, go to Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is simply stated, “Xbox, go to Halo The Master Chief Collection”.

So, for troubleshooting voice commands, remember to be exact and follow commas and spaces but ignore colons. When you are not sure what the command is, think literally and entirely. For games and apps, you must say the name exactly how it is listed in your Games & Apps. For TV channels, manually go to the desired channel and then say, “Xbox, select”, and take note of the voice command listed to the top right as it will be the exact one needed to get the Kinect to that specific channel in the future.

With these tips in mind, I bid you success in using and troubleshooting your Xbox One Kinect!

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