Microsoft unboxes the Xbox One. Here's what I did (and didn't) like about what they showed us.

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Source: majornelson.com

Yesterday Microsoft released an Xbox One 'unboxing' video on majornelson.com. Before I talk about it, why don't you give it a watch:

There're a couple of things I found interesting about the video. The most obvious is the inclusion of a headset. Prior to yesterday Microsoft had said that the Xbox One box would not include a headset. Another #xbox180 moment but I'm sure you'll agree this is a smart move on their part. In fact while Sony is including a mono earbud with a 'bulge' microphone (I just made that term up, I think) Microsoft is including a proper headset with a boom mike. Basically similar to the headset that comes with the Xbox 360.

Next up is the power brick. It's big, but it's not as ridiculously huge as the power brick that came with the original Xbox 360. So that's moderately good news. Also good news is the inclusion of an HDMI cable though calling it "4K rated" is mostly marketing jargon, as far as I understand these things. From hdmi.org:

All High Speed HDMI cables will support 4K functionality when connected to 4K devices. You can use your existing High Speed HDMI cables or choose a different cable type.

I suppose "4K" sounds snazzier than "high speed."

One little detail I haven't seen anyone talking about is that the new Kinect works as an IR Blaster. That means, depending on your room and how many reflective surfaces you have in it, you may not need to use wired IR blasters. If you do need to use separate IR blasters, they don't seem to be included in the box, so you might want to have some handy. Assuming you have an A/V receiver, you'll need 3 (one for the TV, one for the cable box, one for the receiver) as well as splitters since the Xbox One has a single IR port.

I'd love to find that the Kinect does the job on its own, though. That'd make implementing the TV aspects of the Xbox One much, much cleaner.

There are a few details I wasn't thrilled with. First is that there is 1 USB port on the 'front' of the Xbox One, and it's not actually on the front, it's on the side near the front. It makes for a very 'clean' look to the front panel but it means you're going to need to leave some access room along one side of the Xbox One so you can get at that port to plug things in.

Second is that the controller doesn't come with rechargeable batteries; you'll have to buy a Play & Charge kit, use standard rechargeable AA batteries that you provide, or just use disposable batteries.

Overall though, it seems like a solid box of goodies. The Xbox One itself isn't super flashy but it does look very clean and it'll fit into your home entertainment center without seeming gaudy or out of place. I'm also very pleased that Microsoft opted to change course and include a headset.

Microsoft released a few 'peripheral' videos too. There's not a ton of info (though I was glad to see the Play & Charge kit comes with a generous 9' cable) but for the sake of completeness, here they are:

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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