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Industry Preparing for Voice-Controlled TV Sets in 2012

Industry Preparing for Voice-Controlled TV Sets in 2012

In the considerable excitement surrounding Apple’s rumored 2012 release of a Siri-enabled television, Businessweek reports (via MacRumors) that the TV industry as a whole is preparing for voice interfaces on televisions in 2012, with voice-activated remotes at the top of their minds.

In Walter Isaacson’s recent biography, Steve Jobs said he finally cracked the concept of a connected TV. Many have speculated that Apple’s Siri technology could be at play in the devices, and numerous rumors have erupted since the biography was released suggesting a release date of some time next year.

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.

Of course, there is a big difference between “voice-enabled features” and a well thought out intelligent voice control interface. Even so, TV’s capable of accepting commands such as “change the channel,” record “Family Guy,” and so forth are continuing to creep into the minds of TV manufacturers who just months ago wouldn’t have given such things a second thought.

New voice-activated remote devices are said to resemble smartphones, while other manufacturers are attempting to embed microphones throughout the living room – why have a remote when you don’t have to? Voice technology company Nuance even suggests that up to 5% of TV’s could have voice control by this time next year.

With all this in mind, I’m excited to see what Apple has in store! I expect that (if Apple does in fact release a television) this will be similar to every industry attempt to catch up with Apple – a dozen half-baked shoddy attempts from companies just “scrambling to keep up“, and a simple, “obvious” solution from Apple that puts them all to shame.

Bring it on, Apple. I’m ready.