Imagine if instead of having to hunt around for the TV remote, all you had to do was talk to the television set directly to tell it what you wanted it to do. Well TV maker Vlingo has done something close. Instead of talking directly to the TV, the new television application it’s created allows consumers to talk to their phone which then controls the Internet connected TV. But that, the company says, is just the first step. The next models will built in conjunction with well known flat screen television brands with microphones built in that will allow users to forgo the phone and speak directly to the television itself.
CNET magazine has seen a demo of the product at the Consumer Electronics Show going on in Las Vegas, and says that the new app is more than just a voice command app, it’s more of a television assistant because the app has both context sensitive voice recognition and access to the Internet. That combination allows the app to respond to such natural voice queries as “What’s on TV tonight?” or “What’s this movie about?”
Writers at the Los Angeles Times have seen a demo too and seem to agree that the app is truly promising, especially if it makes its way into televisions themselves. It would do away with the pile of remotes many people now find on their coffee tables or bedside stands, and the added benefit of a user interface to go along with the new technology would mean being able to avoid the clunky interface systems now offered by cable companies such as Comcast.
Vlingo Chief Executive Dave Grannan, spoke with the Times and says the app should be available for download sometime later this year, though prices weren’t mentioned. The Times also notes that several television vendors at the show this year were hawking new technology options for televisions this year which portends a true change for viewers, something that hasn’t really occurred since the invention of color television or the remote control.
Grannan says the company is working with both television manufacturers and companies that make add-ons, such as Roku and even gaming devices. With such scenarios, it’s not difficult to imagine voice activated versions of the Xbox, via Kinect, being used as a way to control the television. Similarly, voice activated systems could be taught to learn user preferences based on voice pattern recognition software, which would then be individualized to each person in a household.