In my capacity as an XBox Live Ambassador I’ve been testing out a selection of the new features available in XBox Live, to discover that the XBox really is more than games. I’ve watched movies and TV shows, and this week our assignment is to watch YouTube videos. It’s a hard life isn’t it? Read on to find out how we got on, and for details of a special discount code which will get you three months of XBox Live Gold membership half price!
Because we’re a pretty geeky family, we’ve had the ability to watch YouTube on our TV in the lounge for some time now, and what amazes me is how often we use that. It’s great to be able to find music videos of tracks we want to listen to, or even episodes of TV shows for the geekdaughter to watch (I was delighted to discover episodes of the Mr Men TV series from when I was a kid there!). I love finding videos that bring to life for geekdaughter things that we’re talking about – for example one of her favourite story books is about a Chinese dragon, and we were able to show her film of real Chinese dragons. And I could keep both kids entertained for hours with the Muppets “Mnah Mnah” video. Often if we have friends around for dinner we end up showing each other our favourite videos on YouTube. I discovered the amazing Johann Lippowitz through one such evening. This is definitely an activity that spans the generations – when we have my Dad to stay it’s one of our favourite activities, although the generation gap means that he spends most of his time showing me his favourite jazz videos, and I show him classics like The Muppets doing Bohemian Rhapsody.
So we didn’t need convincing that YouTube on the TV was a good idea, we just had to see how well the XBox delivered it.
Setup on the XBox is very easy. You have to install a free YouTube app onto your XBox (which is easy to navigate to and do), and then you can access YouTube. You can link your XBox Live account to your YouTube account for easy access to your favourites and playlists – be warned, you need to have access to a computer to do this, as the XBox will give you a code that you have to them type into a web browser to complete the link. Navigation was straightforward, and I could access all the key aspects of YouTube using the XBox, particularly the current popular videos, or trends, and there’s full search functionality as well. It all worked well with the standard controller (yes, despite our geek status, we haven’t got around to getting a Kinect controller yet!). I was also pleased to see that there was an option for some content control with the implementation of what is called “safety mode”. You can choose between “strict”, “moderate” and “none” for content control, and whilst this isn’t guaranteed to be 100% foolproof, it’s a good start. It’s always been one of my main concerns with YouTube in a family environment – it’s very easy to jump through the related videos recommended to you from something very safe to some very unsuitable content, so I’m pleased to find XBox trying to address this.
You need an XBox Live GOLD subscription to access YouTube on your XBox, and if you haven’t got one already you can get three months half price just for being a reader of this blog! All you need to do is go to the XBox more than games home page, and enter the code G3kM3mmy in the signup box.
I particularly enjoyed using the XBox to browse through some of my old videos that I’d uploaded to YouTube, particularly things from when the kids were younger. It made me realise I hadn’t uploaded any film of the children recently and so, inspired by the gift I received from the XBox team this week, here’s a short film of the geekson playing with his favourite Christmas toy.
The voice in the video is my Mum, who only realises I’m filming towards the end of the film. Yes, the geekdaughter is saying “it’s a dog toy”. Yes, that’s because it’s a dog toy. There’s a story behind that, which I’ll save for another day and another blog post. For now, just enjoy how cute the geekson is, and how he can snort like a pig!
Disclosure: The clapperboard was a gift from the XBox team. I may have squealed when I opened the package!