Kinect is pretty awesome. With a wave of the hand, you’re taken to a new level of gaming where the only controller is your body. You can jump, dodge and dance your way through the latest games, or even use one of the fitness training programs to get in shape. Add to this voice recognition features that make your Xbox literally do what you tell it to and you have a whole new way of using your console. This is some serious kit, so how do you get the best out of it?

The Knowhow

Your Kinect is a complex piece of technology and, while it’s designed to be as user friendly as possible, there are a few things you can do to help it work better for you.


  • Light sources can confuse the Kinect, so turn any off in the room that will be in its direct line of sight. If there is bright daylight from a window, either close the curtains or angle the screen and sensor away. Ideally, all light sources in the room will be behind the Kinect.
  • Lit candles, although not very bright, produce infrared heat that the Kinect sensor can detect so should either be extinguished or moved away from the play area.
  • The sensor works best when placed between two and six feet off the floor, directly above or below the middle of your television. It should be placed on a flat, stable surface and have enough room to be able to tilt up and down.
  • The Kinect should not be positioned too close to any speakers or sound sources as nearby noises can interfere with the voice recognition software. Likewise, try not to play in a very noisy environment.

Players and play area:

  • You need to be about six to eight feet away from the Kinect for optimal results.
  • The play area should give you three or four feet either side of you to move about in.
  • The sensor’s range is about twelve feet, so moving this far back can mean it no longer detects you.
  • If you have to play in a smaller space and the Kinect keeps telling you that you’re too close to the sensor, try positioning it higher up above the TV.
  • Bright sunlight on the player or Kinect sensor can reduce its effectiveness.
  • Some very dark and black clothes can absorb the infrared signals the Kinect uses to track motion, so try wearing lighter coloured clothes.
  • As the Kinect uses facial recognition technology, make sure it can properly see your face - avoid hats and sunglasses.

Fine Tuning:

Kinect has a built-in tuner to ensure it can adjust its settings to any changes in the environment.

  • Insert a Kinect game into the console and then press the Xbox button in the middle of the controller to bring up the menu. Choose Kinect Tuner from the options.
  • Once the tuner has loaded, select Tracking and follow the instructions.

Speech Recognition:

  • Make sure the Kinect is set up for your language and locale. From the main Xbox menu, go to System Settings and then Console Settings. From here you can choose Language and Locale and select the options that best match your accent.
  • Following the instructions above, go to the Kinect Tuner and select Audio. Follow the instructions to calibrate voice recognition.

Kinect Calibration:

You will need the calibration card that came with the Kinect to do this. Make sure you have it ready before starting.

  • From the Kinect Tuner select Calibration.
  • Hold up the calibration card, and move it until the eyes are matched to the on-screen glasses and the edge of the card matches the edge of the box.
  • Keep the card still until the green box fills. You may be asked to repeat these steps several times before calibration is complete.

Cleaning the Kinect:

If the sensor gets dust, dirt or fingerprints on it, you may find it doesn’t work as well as it should.

  • Gently clean the sensor with a lint-free cloth such as a lens cloth.
  • For smudges or fingerprints that are harder to remove, add a small amount of lens cleaning solution to the lint-free cloth and then gently clean the sensor again. Always apply the solution to the cloth first, not the sensor. Wait for the cleaning solution to fully dry and polish once more with a dry part of the cloth before using.

Your Kinect will now be tuned up and ready to go. Have fun!

Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.

Updated On:

Aug 15, 2012

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