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TV Industry Preparing for Voice Recognition Interfaces in 2012


Apple iScreen concept by Ciccarese Design

Businessweek reports on the movement towards voice-activated TV remotes in the coming year. The move seems triggered by Apple's plans to enter the TV market in the near future. Steve Jobs said that he had finally "cracked it", referring to the TV user interface. Most believe that this revelation relates to Apple's Siri voice recognition system, and the industry is on the move:
Whether the rumors are true that Apple is planning to release a TV set by 2013, Siri-like voice recognition is headed for the living room. Microsoft (MSFT) is already there, via its Xbox 360 game console, and Comcast (CMCSA), Samsung Electronics (SHCAY), LG, and Sharp are working on voice-enabled features for TV sets, set-top boxes, and related products.
Businessweek suggests an voice command as simple as "Record the next episode of Modern Family" as a much needed improvement over the current solution. Jakob Nielsen of Nielsen Norman Group goes on to say "Anything would be better than what we have now."

Upcoming remote devices are said to look more like iPhones than traditional remotes, with possibly a single physical button to activate the microphone. Others are working to simply embed microphones around the living room and eliminating a physical remote altogether. Nuance suggests that 5% of TVs could be voice controlled by Christmas 2012.

We've previously reported about competitors "scrambling" to identify what an Apple television set might look like. The lead up is reminiscent to the large number of tablet plans from competitors in the months leading up to the original iPad launch.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Top Rated Comments

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40 months ago
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Rating: 22 Votes
40 months ago
TV companies are already scrambling because of the rumored "iTV" that we know nothing about.
Rating: 9 Votes
40 months ago

The only problem with voice recognition on TVs is that it could interfere when commanding volume. If the TV is too loud, then the mic may pick that up. "Turn volume down to ten." "Did you say, 'buy a Snuggie?'"


Why do people keep thinking this?

Obviously they're gonna add a trigger where the TV volume will go mute when Siri is on.
Rating: 7 Votes
40 months ago
In my opinion, in order for Apple's television solution to really be a revolutionary product, it will have to do more than just have a Siri-remote (http://www.techperfect.net/2011/11/the-challenge-facing-an-apple-television/). That would be a nice feature, but remember that most televisions don't live alone in an isolated environment - they are connected to stereos that have their own complicated "universal" remotes.

In order to really crack the TV - and therefore the living room - Apple needs to have their Siri remote not only be able to command the TV, but all of the other devices that you have. Maybe they'd use Airplay? Maybe they'd use HDMI control?

That's before we even start talking about content and content synchronization.

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The only problem with voice recognition on TVs is that it could interfere when commanding volume. If the TV is too loud, then the mic may pick that up. "Turn volume down to ten." "Did you say, 'buy a Snuggie?'"


Saying this is like saying that playing music from a phone is a bad idea because it would interfere with phone calls.
Rating: 6 Votes
40 months ago
Relative to all this "Siri can't hear over the TV volume" nonsense, why not just program the system to ignore the audio stream for the television programming so that Siri can't hear it at all (like noise canceling headphones, but much better since the "noise" would be very specific and precise)? Then, Siri would just hear the sounds in the room that are NOT playing through the TV.
Rating: 6 Votes
40 months ago
Voice recognition isn't what Steve was talking about when he said I cracked it. Voice recognition is a gimmick. Uncle Steve was talking about content.
Rating: 5 Votes
40 months ago
Apple must be laughing its socks off!

A statement in a biography claiming to "have cracked it" and the whole TV industry is adjusting their 2012 goals to compete with it...

Kinda pathetic, not?
:rolleyes:
Rating: 5 Votes
40 months ago
voice control would be a bummer if you do a lot of channel surfing or watch tv at night while your family is sleeping.
Rating: 4 Votes
40 months ago
Are you serious? I think this is a horrible idea.

Why add useless functionality and additional complexity to a TV?

Am I the only person that finds this whole "voice recognition"/Siri fetish nothing more than a slightly amusing gimmick?
Rating: 4 Votes
40 months ago

Nothing new here and Jobs didn't crack anything.

Yeah but it's amazing that one guy just sitting in his living room can utter a few words to a biographer and all of a sudden the TV industry scrambles to the drawing boards.

It's freaking hilarious actually. Especially if Steve/Apple had something else entirely different in mind with that "I finally cracked it" comment. :D
Rating: 3 Votes

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