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!

Best Buy customer for life

In my recent Xbox One Elite debacle, I had to go to Best Buy to swap out my bundle. I figured I would pick up an external drive while I was there.

I found a G-Drive 1TB 7200 RPM USB 3 & Thunderbolt portable drive for $65.99.

When I was checking out, it rang up as $179.

I immediately coughed up a chicken bone and said that I thought the drive was like $70 or $80.

The customer service representative asked me to show him. We walked over to the drives and we found the same unit sitting there under the $65.99 price tag. He said that he would take care of the difference.

I love Best Buy. They have good policies and, in my experience, they do right by the customer. I’ll be their customer for life!

Xbox One Elite: cool product, questionable support

I recently purchased an Xbox One Elite bundle as I wanted to plunge into a nice, premium controller.

My experience with the controller has had mixed emotions.

On the one hand, I like the features. Programming the buttons and paddles, adjusting the center LED brightness, saving 2 profiles—it’s all so cool!

On the other hand, I experienced a defective left-bottom paddle (P4) that was loose for some unknown reason. When I went to get it replaced under warranty within a couple of days of purchasing the bundle, Microsoft Xbox Support charged me to replace them. I didn’t understand it initially, but I later found out that the paddles are not covered by the warranty and neither are they covered for defective craftsmanship out of the box, which I found to be disconcerting. By the way, with tax they come out to $16.28 to replace.

I also had an issue where my new Xbox One Elite console was not working correctly with my Day One Edition Kinect Sensor. I would say, “Xbox, watch beINSport”, and it would pull up VH1 instead and, sometimes, it would then automatically switch from VH1 to NBC. Bizarre behavior. However, if I reconnected the sensor to my Day One Edition Xbox One, it worked perfectly.

As a result, I exchanged my Xbox One Elite bundle at my point of sale. I will have to wait to get a new Kinect sensor and test it out with this Elite. However, much to my surprise, my new Elite controller has a defect out of the box—the right joy stick clicks upon rotation! I just cannot believe it!

So, I like the features, but I’m upset with the policies and support.

How can a premium product such as the Xbox One Elite controller not be flawless upon unboxing?

How can a premium product also not be fully covered from top to bottom under the one year limited warranty (barring accidental damage of course)?

This experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I trusted Xbox, and they let me down in material craftsmanship, quality control, and questionable support.

If you are in the market for a nice, premium controller, you may want to look elsewhere. I hear quality support is hard to come by with third-parties, but maybe the quality craftsmanship is better with a Scuf Infinity1 or something else.

Halo: Anniversary

Yeah, yeah, I know: I’m late to the dinner table. Anniversary has been out for nearly a year, and I just now got around to buying it. It wasn’t for lack of desire, but for lack of money and priority. Alas, I have it, and I started playing it last night with my buddy, Erik. It was really cool to play this game in the updated graphics and with the modern physics engine. Very enjoyable and fun, especially with Erik’s unlimited ammo skull (grenades and plasmas aplenty). It further solidifies my decision to stick with the Halo franchise from now on; it also  keeps me very encouraged about Halo 4 this fall. If you are a Halo fan and haven’t purchased Anniversary, you are missing out!

Saying Goodbye to Video Games

Video games are expensive. They are also time consuming. And, recently, they have been subpar. Modern Warfare 3 is good, but it isn’t as good as Modern Warfare 2. In the words of Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank, “You’re dead to me.” Street Figher X Tekken is cumbersome, clunky, and crappy. Again, “You’re dead to me.” So, if I’m no longer going to partake in the Street Fighter or Modern Warfare franchises, I’m pretty much done with video games.

Except that there is Halo. I love this franchise. So, while I’m saying goodbye to Street Fighter and Modern Warfare, I’m saying hello again to Halo, embracing this franchise for all it’s worth, and moving forward.

Anyone want to buy my Street Fighter or Modern Warfare video games for Xbox 360?

Street Fighter X Tekken

Street Fighter X Tekken.

Well, I finally played the game. On Medium, I blew through the Arcade like it was nothing. I had to resort to fireball-dragonpunch techniques, making it all too easy. What was particularly frustrating was that it would register HK+HP and try to launch the opponent when I didn’t press those two buttons! I never did get the hang of teaming up. I played better when I just focused on using one player. I guess it’s not my forte in as much as MvC3 was my bane. Meh. It’s okay. I like the video though. I didn’t come across it in the game. Is Capcom just doing some cinematography on the web? If so, I’ll post the videos as they are entertaining.