Microsoft expands Kinect, adds TV to Xbox in U.S.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is looking to put its popular Kinect motion-sensing device at the heart of its Xbox game console, unveiling plans Monday to allow users to control television feeds, search YouTube and play games with voice commands.

The moves, announced at the annual E3 video game show in Los Angeles, should help the software giant further its ambitions to make its gaming device an essential media hub in the living room.

Microsoft said it will give users access to live television programming through the Xbox in the United States sometime next year, following live TV services it already offers in Britain, France and Australia.

Xbox users will also be able to access Hulu Plus, Netflix, and watch YouTube videos on the system, all controllable through the Kinect, Microsoft said.

The Kinect has sold 10 million units since it launched last fall and become one of the software giant’s fastest selling consumer products ever.

The device, which hooks up to the company’s Xbox console, lets gamers control movements on-screen with gestures and voice commands. It competes with the latest version of Nintendo’s Wii system and Sony Corp’s PlayStation Move device.