Whether you like it, don’t like it, or don’t even care, Microsoft has never backed down from its position of trying to make the Xbox One a true-to-its-name all-in-one entertainment device.
The $25 Xbox One Media Remote may help the company achieve this goal while giving owners of the console a convenient way to control their TV shows and movies. The remote is sleek and simple, fitting right into the Xbox One’s less-is-more aesthetic. Its limited features are a hint that it was designed mainly for one purpose: controlling video playback.
One especially helpful inclusion in the new Media Remote is its motion-sensing backlit buttons that illuminate whenever you’re holding it, so you can use it in a dark room. Another useful feature is dedicated “Back” and “OneGuide” buttons to make navigation quicker and easier. OneGuide is the Xbox One’s program guide for entertainment, which the Xbox news website claims gives you “one touch, quick access” to your media.
The remote also controls Blu-ray and streaming video playback on the Xbox One, and it can handle TV/receiver power and volume (but not change the channel) thanks to the Xbox One’s infrared technology.
The press release announcing the remote made no mention of whether you could use it to start or control games on the Xbox One, or if it was designed to perform other features such as navigating the Xbox Marketplace digital store. In fact, the fact that video games are hardly mentioned reaffirms that Microsoft is taking a wider marketing approach for the Xbox One instead of focusing on its use as a game console.
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