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Voice-Controlled HuluPlus on Xbox

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HuluPlus jumped onto the voice-controlled bandwagon when developing the Xbox 360 Kinect version of its premium video-streaming service, released in April 2011. Is voice control just a gimmick, or does it work? What can you control with your voice? Bryon J. Greene takes a voice-driven test drive and walks you through the experience.

Hulu, an online premium video streaming service, launched a voice-controlled version of its HuluPlus app for Kinect on Microsoft's Xbox 360 in April 2011. Although Xbox 360 wasn't the first device—or even the first console—to receive a HuluPlus app, it was the first to have a voice-controlled version with support for arm-swaying gestures. In this article, I'll cover the pros and cons of HuluPlus as it exists today, how well the voice and gesture controls work for this app, and even briefly consider what the future looks like with the recently announced Bing voice search.

What Is Hulu?

Hulu is an online service that allows visitors to watch TV episodes or webisodes right on the Hulu site, rather than having to record the shows with a DVR or similar device. Before Hulu came along, people who watched videos online typically had to browse to the TV network's website, search for the desired show, and then figure out how to control the play, rewind, fast-forward, and stop functions of the custom video-player plug-in for that particular network's site. In March 2008, Hulu premiered as a free web video-streaming service for PC or Mac, delivering on-demand video content from various networks, all coming to the visitor through Hulu's domain.

The Hulu website gave people a consistent experience for searching and watching videos from multiple networks, without having to domain-hop to different websites. Hulu very quickly became popular, through both its own advertising and word-of-mouth, and now visitors can watch Hulu shows on a variety of devices. For this article, I'll focus on the voice-controlled Xbox platform with Kinect.

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