Microsoft Plans Live TV, Voice Search for Xbox

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Microsoft ( MSFT) is looking to turn the Xbox into an entertainment hub for the living room.

The company Monday announced plans to launch voice search capabilities for its Xbox 360 gaming system with the Kinect motion sensing device, giving users the ability to control live television, music and watch YouTube through verbal commands.

"This is the year live television comes to Xbox 360," Microsoft Vice President Marc Whitten said during the keynote address of the E3 video game show in Los Angeles.

Microsoft plans to bring its live television offering to the United States sometime next year in an attempt to keep up with rivals Google ( GOOG) and Apple ( AAPL), which also have TV offerings.

Xbox users will be able to access movies and TV on demand from Hulu. Netflix ( NFLX) and YouTube will also be available with the Kinect through the Xbox service.

Microsoft also showcased new Kinect games targeted at hard core gamers, including Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon and a version of Star Wars. It also unveiled popular sports titles like Madden NFL and FIFA, as well as a new Disneyland-themed game.

Microsoft has sold more than 55 million Xbox 360 consoles and 10 million Kinect devices worldwide. Launched last year, the Kinect links up to the Xbox device and lets users control games through hand movements and voice commands.

Shares of Netflix closed down 4% to $262.59 after Microsoft announced its plans to integrate live television with its gaming devices.

Microsoft shares, in turn, edged up 0.4% to close at $24.01.

-- Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran.

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