Microsoft has been causing a commotion with its motion-sensing Kinect controller, which it plans to bring to the Xbox 360 later this year. But the company is licensing the 3D-camera technology from an Israeli firm PrimeSense, which has been working to bring it to your living room through other channels. According to Engadget, PrimeSense has made deals to embed the tech in home theater PCs for release toward the end of 2010, and a cable company even is working on a set-top box using the technology for a 2011 debut.
Because Microsoft added features to Kinect like motoroized tilt and voice recognition, those will not be available in any deals PrimeSense makes with other partners. Nonetheless, the other living room devices using the depth-sensing cameras and IR blaster may offer the ability to control media functions through gesture rather than a traditional hand-held remote. Joystiq reports that it recently saw a demo from PrimeSense of a gesture-controlled interface for browsing and watching movies.
The question that remains is whether people are willing to pay extra so they never have to worry about a lost remote again. There are rumors that Microsoft is already planning to cut the price of Kinect from the announced price of $150 to $119, perhaps because of low interest from gamers in purchasing the controller. Would you pay an extra $50 for the price of an HTPC with PrimeSense technology in it, or $3 per month for a PrimeSense-based set-top box? Let us know in the Comments section.