The ongoing success of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is partially due to the console’s performance as an all around media device. Gaming is definitely the number one focus, but other services make it attractive to non-gamers and casual players too. With uses outside of gaming in mind, Microsoft has revealed a new Media Remote and Wireless Bluetooth Headset that will be available for the Xbox 360 this fall.
The Media Remote will allow Xbox 360 owners to use a more traditional input device when operating their console for DVD, CD, and other media playback uses. The easy-to-use device will contain all the necessary buttons to navigate the Xbox 360 Dashboard, as well as all of the expected media playback controls. Additionally, the media remote will interface with most TVs and have the ability to power the TV on/off, adjust the volume, and change the TV’s input.
Clearly, Microsoft is pushing the Xbox 360 as the perfect device to have in one’s living room as an all around media center (sorry, no Blu-ray). This goes right along with the additional content such as YouTube and UFC — joining popular services like Netflix and Hulu Plus — announced during this year’s E3.
The remote is convenient, but I’m not sure how many people will want to pay for something that is such a minor convenience. I’ve never found using a Xbox 360 controller and TV remote in tandem annoying, or wished for a simpler solution.
The second accessory, a wireless headset with Bluetooth, is yet another device that integrates the Xbox 360 experience with other popular electronics. With the Bluetooth headset, gamers can both chat with their friends online, and easily switch over to answer calls from their mobile phone with the flip of a switch. The headset works with nearly all Bluetooth enabled devices and “Blue and green LED rings of light visually show which mode the device is in.” There are three sizes of ear gels and an ear loop to ensure the device remains comfortable throughout long gaming sessions. This new design is sleeker than the other Xbox 360 wireless headsets and certainly more practical than a wired headset.
It is interesting to see Microsoft further pursuing accessories that support the notion that the Xbox 360 is the best all around media device for the living room. The hurdle for each device will be whether consumers think the added convenience is worth the cost.
What do you think about these devices? Are they worth the money?
The Xbox 360 Media Remote and Wireless Bluetooth Headset will be available sometime in November, 2011 for $19.99 and $59.99 respectively.