TV voice control for Xbox

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Tired of losing your TV, DVD or pay TV remote control in the cushions of your couch? A cure is on the way.

Bill Gates' Microsoft unveiled a new world in Los Angeles on Monday where couch potatoes with an Xbox gaming-entertainment console can sit back on the couch, put their feet up and change live TV channels, search the internet, choose movies or music, play games, go on YouTube, interact in live sporting telecasts and many other pursuits without a remote control.

All you need is a voice.

To watch live TV, just utter the words "Xbox live TV".

An Aussie accent will be OK to deliver the voice commands, because the brainiacs at Microsoft are working hard to ensure Aussie ockers are understood by the voice recognition technology as easily as a New Yorker in the Bronx or a Mandarin-speaking resident of Beijing.

"We want you to have a reason to turn on the Xbox every day," Microsoft's chief operating and financial officer for interactive entertainment, Dennis Durkin, said during the slick, 90-minute presentation for the world's media as part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Microsoft has integrated its Xbox with the company's internet search engine, Bing, its voice technology system Tellme and its motion sensor, controller-free interface, Kinect.

If a couch potato is an X-Men fan, he/she just has to say "Xbox Bing X-Men" and the library of X-Men movies, music, video games and other matches to the comic book-inspired franchise will appear on the TV screen. If you want to watch a Nicole Kidman film but not sure what one, say "Xbox Bing Nicole Kidman" and the Australian star's movies will appear onscreen, allowing the viewer to flick through the library, select a title and watch it.

"You say it, Xbox finds it," Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox Live, said.

"This is our vision for the future of television - effortless and approachable - because TV is more amazing when you are the controller."

Australians will have access to Bing voice search "within the next 12 months".

Regular voice engagement capabilities on the Xbox would be available in Australia by the end of 2011, a Microsoft spokesman said.

Microsoft and game developers also rolled out sneak peeks of much-anticipated games for Xbox, including Halo 4, Mass Effect 3, Modern Warfare 3 and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

A Kinect Star Wars game will also be released where players swing their arms to wield a light sabre.

E3, held at the Los Angeles Convention Centre from 7 June to 9 June, is billed as the world's premier trade show for computer and video games.

Xbox's major competitors, Sony and Nintendo, will also unveil new products at E3.

Sony is expected to reveal a new handheld gaming system, and Nintendo a next-generation Wii console.

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