Nuance Beats Apple To Voice-Controlled Television With New Dragon TV Platform

Nuance Beats Apple To Voice-Controlled Television With New Dragon TV PlatformNuance, a speech recognition company that powers Apple’s Siri service, has launched a new voice-controlled platform for television sets called Dragon TV. The service allows you to navigate your way around different content by “speaking channel numbers, station names, show and movie names” using natural language.

It’s everything you’d expect a Siri-powered Apple TV to be.

With Dragon TV, you won’t be restricted to structured commands, and like the Siri service in the iPhone 4S, you’ll be able to use natural language to control your set. Nuance lists a number of examples in its press release, such as, “Go to PBS,” “What’s on Bravo at 9 p.m. tonight?” and “Find comedies with Vince Vaughn.”

The platform also offers access to social networking services like Twitter, Skype, and Facebook.

While the service may allow manufacturers to compete with an upcoming Siri-powered Apple TV, it could also be the engine that drives Apple’s set. TechCrunch reports:

Dragon TV would be an alternative to a completely integrated solution, as it would allow anyone to build in Siri-like voice technology into TV sets, DVRs and other set-top boxes. However, it could easily form the backbone of whatever Apple may have in store for its “iTV” product, too.

Dragon TV will be made available to manufacturers who choose to integrate the technology into their television sets, set-top boxes, remotes, and other products. At present, however, it seems Nuance is yet to find a launch partner. The service will also be coming as an app to iOS, Android, and Linux.

[via TechCrunch]

  • mrjones11

    Surely the volume of whatever is actually showing on the TV is going to interfere with any possible voice control/interaction? If I’m watching some action movie full of explosions and my wife says “change to the Discovey Channel”, is the TV going to hear her properly? Also the living room isn’t a quiet place even without the TV being on, so how is a TV going to differentiate between chat and instructions ? Pressing a button on a remote to activate voice input like on an iPhone would work, but doesn’t that defeat the object ? Channel zapping is not the same as checking your agenda before scheduling an appointment, dialing a long phone number or sending a text message. It’s just pressing a single button. I am really not convinced people are going to want to, or even be able to talk to their TVs… and I think Steve Jobs may be laughing on the other side at everyone trying to guess what he meant by ‘cracking it’.

  • ddevito

    “The service will also be coming as an app to iOS, Android, and Linux.”

    Ah, the definition of OPEN. This is what innovation is all about. Cheers!

  • ddevito

    You just proved that Apple users aren’t smarter or classier than anyone else.

  • ddevito

    I’m going to guess that if you do indeed activate Siri (long press iPhone or iPad home button, etc) that it will either mute or pause what you are watching.

  • ddevito

    I don’t care who updates what, I’m not in charge of Android nor do I work for Google. I as a consumer took that into consideration and bought a Galaxy Nexus.

    I get my updates directly from Google.

    And yes I am an Apple user – iPad 2, iMac, iPod and Apple TV 2 – but I am not a sheep like you.

  • Wayne_Luke

    Don’t have a problem with volume and voice control on the XBox360 with Kinect. It is quite responsive on changing shows, pausing, rewinding and all other commands.

    However the XBox360 uses a keyword, XBOX. You speak it before giving commands. I suspect that other systems will end up being similar.

  • Paul M. Watson

    “However, it could easily form the backbone of whatever Apple may have in store for its “iTV” product, too”

    Yes, Apple are going to throw out their existing voice recognition systems for Dragon. Really? Someone honestly thinks that is how it will pan out, if Apple are making this at all? Dear god, “tech journalism”.

  • ddevito

    No, but apple fans like you prove that you’re not better than anybody.

    Personally I find the average Apple user smarter and more sophisticated, but sadly people like you drag the average down.

  • brnmbrns

    We see this garbage all the time. Apple is known for coming out with a new service or product in the near future and all these competitors ‘beat’ Apple to releasing it first. It’s like people who get ‘first’ comments on the internet. Your post, while it may be first, contributes nothing new or innovative. You can pride yourself in pity for just having to be first. Just wait for Apple to put these “rushed” products to shame.

  • Pointebasic

    It’s entirely possible that the recognition software is aware of the audio waveform currently being delivered to the tv speakers and can merely filter them out as if the sound has been muted. Like noise canceling headphones. Maybe not perfect, since the signal sent to your speakers is not exactly the signal reaching your ears, but I I Maine it is close enough.

    Just a thought.

  • Stuart Willard

    Alan Sugar is still boasting he invented the PDA just because he rushed out some hasty piece of junk a week or so before Apple’s Newton which had been years in development and delayed longer than Amstrad had spent on theirs. Not to mention that similar devices to the Amstrad junk had been around for years anyway. 

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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