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A Voice-Controlled TV Remote

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the your-little-sister-doesn't-count dept.

Television 185

Pankaj Arora writes "California-based Agile TV aims to 'change the way people watch TV' via the creation of its voice-controlled TV remote, Promptu. From the article: 'The Promptu remote is designed to replace a conventional remote control and includes a "Talk" button and a built-in microphone, together with an infra-red receiver used in conjunction with an existing cable box.' Personally, I'm waiting for the version that interfaces with your brain."

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first is the worst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128799)

lol i'm so bad -semi

This should be pretty simple really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128802)

...just make it recognize the word "Off".

Mirror (2, Informative)

pressesc (873084) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128804)

That didn't take long to get ./ed did it now? Here's a Mirror [pressesc.com]

Best feature (5, Funny)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128808)

Of course, the best feature of a voice-controlled remote would be to yell out, "Where the hell are you?" and have it respond, "Over here!"

Re:Best feature (4, Insightful)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128863)

Which, of course, becomes useless if you apply it to a number of devices. Might work better if it responds to "Where are you, remote control?"

Better yet (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128960)

Let's make the remote control pointless and have the TV itself be voice-activated.

Re:Best feature (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128971)

Don't try to anthropomorphize objects, they hate it when you do this!

Re:Best feature (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128902)

"You're sitting on me you dolt!"

Re:Best feature - the 'crap' scan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128907)

I just want the voice actived remote to skip to the next channel when I say 'crap', 'damn crap', 'bs', 'junk', 'trash', or 'reality tv crap'

voice control (3, Insightful)

Richard Allen (213475) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128811)

I've noticed that voice commands seem to take more energy than pushing buttons. Why present it like it's an advancement?

Re:voice control (4, Funny)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128824)

I agree.
Voice recoginition is fine if the result is supposed to be a text, but commands?

Its like in star trek. Think about how many battles would have been won if they had a big red "fire phaser" and a green "modulate shield frequency" button an the captains chair (instead of wasting time speaking it out everytime) :)

Re:voice control (0)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128968)

Yeah, but it would have caused some mondo-huge confusion.

Oooh, lookie! What is that big red thingy?

I mean, if the captains are anything like I'm, the first thing I'd do is press anything that looks like a big red button.

Besides, it's WAYYY cool hearing the captain talk.

RIKER: "Sir! The Romulans are arming their phaser banks."
PICARD: "Fire at will, Numbah Won"
DATA: "Captain, should we engage the shields?"
PICARD: "Make it sew, Commander Daytah"

Instead, imagine if Picard pressed two buttons and the battle was over. Would you even be interested?

Only evil villains (like me, or Dr. Evil) are supposed to have big red buttons. The rest of the mortals are supposed to talk to their inferior commanders in dumb accents to get their bidding done.

Ooooh! What is _this_ big button that says powe...&#^$&*#^$

Re:voice control (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129138)

That wouldn't work. It would be just like 429 people are crowding the arcade, watching the Captain play Defender.

Re:voice control (3, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129086)

Its like in star trek. Think about how many battles would have been won if they had a big red "fire phaser" and a green "modulate shield frequency" button an the captains chair (instead of wasting time speaking it out everytime) :)

Seat belts. How come they never had seat belts, even though they were always flying out of their chairs?

If I were going to battle the Enterprise, I'd get a starship with a bigass bumper, heavily padded chairs, airbags, and of course, lots and lots of seat belts. Just ram them at high speed... and then send in a boarding party with spatulas to clean up the mess.

Re:voice control (3, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128870)

I played with IBM's ViaVoice several years ago. It's next to useless.

For regular text, the results don't even resemble whatever was said. Getting a single sentence right is a major feat, even after a number of repetitions. And this was not just me, none of my friends was able to make the damn thing work.

For simple commands, it often worked. There were frequent mistakes, but generally, it looked like it might be an idea worth pursuing.

However, every time you try talking to your computer, everyone in your vicinity looks at you weird way. Sure, getting accustomed to such gizmos would shake off this reaction pretty fast, but even then, it wouldn't be treated any gentler than it's the case for a cell phone going off in a bus. Talking to a machine makes you stand out.

Re:voice control (1)

Hollinger (16202) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129030)

This is different from Dictation; this is what is commonly known as a Commmand and Control grammar, where the designer writes given permutations of command sequences, rather than relying on picking out keywords. For example, instead of trying to parse 70,000 words and names, I instead write a simple grammar that is something like:

$rslt = (show movie | find [actor $actors, movie $movies, $themes] | scan $themes);
where the $variables are other grammar rules. This syntax is butchered, by the way, but you can get the idea. If you want real syntax, try googling JSGF Grammars or SRGS Grammars.

So as its written, it would only understand things like "show movie" or "find actor Morgan Freeman" or "find comedies" or "scan comedies." If you say something unexpected, its lost. This type of grammar is more an art than a science, since it comes down to what clever permutations you write in or ignore.

I think you'll find that the response is much better than you might think when you got from a dictation-sized 60,000 word dictionary to 500 words or so.

Now, having said that, I haven't used this product. It may very well suck; just possibly not for the reason you think.
~ Mike

Re:voice control (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129045)

That was several years ago, though. Speech-to-text is more accurate now. Still, voice activated machines are annoying, and it often takes longer to say what you want than to type it.

Re:voice control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129119)

Things improved a little over the years, though when I am confronted with a voice response phone system, I simply press the 0 key repeatedly, till I get to a human being, then I immediately swear at him and after that I get phenominally good service...

Re:voice control (2, Interesting)

rustbear (852420) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129123)

It is stupid to compare this to a desktop ViaVoice. Because ViaVoice desktop edition has a vocabulary of 200,000 words, it requires training and results are not always accurate. However a device such as this voice remote control has a very limited vocabulary. Simply put, it has a smaller subset of words to choose from, so accuracy goes up. The limited-vocab systems can be very robust, as long as the software interface itself is well written, and the grammars are constructed correctly.

These types of systems have been around for yonks, mainly used in telephone booking systems, customer support call centres for various big organisations, etc

Re:voice control (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129240)

Yes, the accuracy goes up. It does go up by a factor of many orders of magnitude, all the way from "bad joke" to "flaky but sometimes working".

I'm afraid that those booking systems are not up to the task yet, and they won't be fully usable without additional several years of research. For a limited set of commands, that is -- dictation is pretty much an AI-complete problem, IMHO, as even a human who doesn't have an idea about the subject you're dictating a text about will have a bad error rate.

Arguing about a distorted topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129128)

Voice control of a TV remote isn't the same as voice-controlling a computer, as there is already or will be a BIG TV MAKING LOUD NOISES IN YOUR VICINITY.

Re:Arguing about a distorted topic (2, Interesting)

brianf711 (873109) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129323)

Voice control of a TV remote isn't the same as voice-controlling a computer, as there is already or will be a BIG TV MAKING LOUD NOISES IN YOUR VICINITY.
If this catches on, will the FCC outlaw shows that say "power off" and such as they can cause device interference?

Re:voice control (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128874)

I can see that to a degree. "Volume up, volume up, volume up" or "next, next, next, next". But if the TV was smarter (or it integrated with your TiVo or something) then it could be very hany. If you use a TiVo, then you basically never use the channel up/down buttons (I don't). So the commands could be more like:
  • Play Friday's Law & Order
  • Play the oldest Cheers episode
  • Add a wishlist for "Stargate"
  • Record PBS at 5pm on Wendsday
  • Show me the to-do list
  • or... Play all episodes on the TiVo of shows directed by people who's last names start with the letter "R" that were NOT aired in the 80s in alphebetical order of guest stars' characters' first names. (OK, useless, but can you imagine how hard it would be to enter that in a UI with just a remote?).

Give the box some intelligence and it could be useful. But one word for each remote button on a standard TV would be painful.

Re:voice control (2, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128944)

I want to say "Find me something good to watch." but since I can't do that often myself, I don't think the smart TV will be able to.

Re:voice control (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128984)

For the makers that is easy to answer, because they wish to sell it. They don't give a damn about whether it's an advancement or not. They care about transfering your money from your pocket to theirs. For some reason companies think we're going to go all ga-ga over voice control. We never do. We never will. It sucks. It will continue to suck. Mostly because it means you have to talk just to do some simple, quiet little thing. It doesn't matter how well it understands you and responds, it's the sheer act of having to vocalize a command that is the innate source of the suckitude.

In this case the application isn't even correct. As poster below suggests the correct way to impliment TV voice control would be to build it into the TV, so you don't even need to have a remote, but you couldn't sell remotes that way, now could you? You could, perhaps, sell set top boxes though, then at least it would be functional for those who need an access device (I need voice control because my arms don't work, so all I have to do is pick up this voice control remote and. . .).

Why Slashdot might present it as an advancement, let alone present it at all, particularly given the standard response of "Noooooooo!" that rings out every time some such device comes up, is beyond me.

KFG

Re:voice control (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129071)

Agreed. Mobile phones are horrible for this. Why should I waste the time assigning a voice command for my inbox then using the 'hold voice key, wait, speak, wait, do something' approach when I can go Menu-1-1-2?

Re:voice control (1)

l810c (551591) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129073)

It's definately an advancement over the remote(actually 2) that I used in the early eighties.

I had a small TV at the foot of my bed, it was one of the old kind with knobs. I cut a notch into the end of a broom stick that I used to Turn(there's a word that stuck) the channel. Later added a clapper for power.

Re:voice control (1)

David Horn (772985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129156)

The pointless thing is, you have to push a button to get the thing to respond to voice commands...

Re:voice control (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129317)

"I've noticed that voice commands seem to take more energy than pushing buttons. Why present it like it's an advancement?"

It depends on how it's configured, really.
I have like 120 channels. I'd love to just be able to say "Switch to Cartoon Network" instead of surfing the guide to find what channel it's on. Heck, tie it into my replay, let me just say the name of the show I want to watch.

Voice control would save me time then, but I doubt this product does that.

Email Powered? (3, Interesting)

sammykrupa (828537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128815)

How about a TV where you email it directions? Examples:

1. Tape all "Charmed" episodes

2. Turn OFF

Think of the possibilities! You won't even need to be in the same country!

Re:Email Powered? (1)

moe613 (846786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128830)

We have something like that allready. its called the internet. here are the steps. 1. think of a show. 2. go to a bittorent site and download it. 3. Watch.

Re:Email Powered? (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128857)

www.snapstream.net.

Next request? :P

Guess it would be to learn HTML eh?

Yo Grark

Re:Email Powered? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128915)

Yeah, but that would suck if someone, somehow, exploited it and sent something like "Record ALL Spongebob episodes" to your remote and you're a single man with no kids.

Then someone comes over and see all the recordings of Spongebob on your DVR, and they're like "WTF man!?" and you're like "it wasn't me, I'm dead serious" and they're all like "yeah ok, loser" and they go on to tell everyone and your known as the 23 year old who watches Spongebob Squarepants and every time you go outside someone points and laughs at you, "Haha! You watch kiddie shows!" and you try to deny it and have continual emotional outbursts, you're like "NO I DON'T, THAT DUDE MADE IT UP!"

Then you die and on your grave it says:

Here lies the loser that watched Spongebob all his life

RIP

PS: Enjoy those episodes, wierdo.

I know because this happened to uh.. a friend.. and he died in grief. In grief, man, in grief!

So, I'm strongly against this "e-mail powered" technology, it is fatal.

Re:Email Powered? (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128937)

You must be new here, you forgot

3. ???
4. Profit!

Hiding the remote from girlfirend... (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128816)

Firstly, there's nothing on the television.

Secondly, there's people who yell at their tv during normal watching voice control will just add to the aggravation. .. "NO YOU MORON THE ANSWER IS DAMMIT! dammit STUPID TV!!!

Then, there's the issue of 'owning' the remote. All your Girlfriend has to do (you guys have girlfriends right?) is just say "Put it on the Women's Channel"

Re:Hiding the remote from girlfirend... (1)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128876)

Another problem could come from watching Jeopardy, when it's normal to try to answer before the contestants.

"What is 'channel 3'?"

Re:Hiding the remote from girlfirend... (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129022)

Or, "What is, 'go to hell and burn there, you piece of shit CRT TV'?"

Correct! *ding ding ding*

Worthless... (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128818)

Excuse my cynicism, but if I have to push a button in the first place, why shouldn't I just press the appropriate button to perform the desired command?

Dan East

Re:Worthless... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128858)

But imagine the success you'll have during lunch break at your workplace: "...so I was watching some TV and someone in the show yelled TURN OFF, and it made my voice-controlled TV remote turn off my TV! Isn't that hilarious?!"

Re:Worthless... (1)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128872)

Dan East wrote: Excuse my cynicism, but if I have to push a button in the first place, why shouldn't I just press the appropriate button to perform the desired command?
SECURITY
So that you are programmed to be the only recognizable voice and thereby solidifying your dominance over the remote in all situations.
EASE OF USE
This probably would be easier for my parents who can't seem to get the hang of even just 5 button remotes. Press a single button and say "Next", "Louder", or "Power" would be about all they'd really need.
HANDS FREE
A single button would be pretty easy to press while watching erotic pay per view. You could keep your hands on your partner (or yourself).

Exercise? (1)

SamMichaels (213605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128820)

No more lifting the remote to change the channel. So now the only exercise people will get is lifting the Bawls can?

Yet another... (1)

banuk (148382) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128822)

... step forward in the lazy, couch potato american stereotype

Old Technology (5, Funny)

sparkhead (589134) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128823)

We had these when I was a kid.

They were called "children".

Re:Old Technology (2, Funny)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128887)

Yes, but this has the added feature of not being able to reply, "But I did it last time! Make Johhny get up and do it."

Re:Old Technology (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128942)

Yes, but this has the added feature of not being able to reply, "But I did it last time! Make Johhny get up and do it."

When I was a kid, we also had something called "spanking". When I was sent to get the groceries (or, well, turn the TV on when we had the old B&W TV set on vacation trips), I wouldn't have *dared* answer back to my parents in any way but respectfully, and even so, after having carefully weighted the pros and cons of opening my piehole versus keeping quiet and do it. These days kids call 911 and sue their old folks for being vaguely authoritative...

Re:Old Technology (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128981)

We had these when I was a kid.

They were called "children".
Yeah, but back then there were only three channels or so to choose from, so "the other channel" was a useful command.

Besides, kids nowadays woudn't know how to manually change channels on a TV. They're all used to remotes by now.

Re:Old Technology (1)

gotgenes (785704) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129079)

We had these when I was a kid.

They were called "children".

Where are you from? Arkansas? And here I thought those Foxworthy jokes about packing your school lunch with your kids' was a hyperbole.

I guess it's thanks to people like you that we're shoving birth control education down the throats of fifth graders, now.

this is not new.. (2, Informative)

Prophetic_Truth (822032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128825)

I remember a similar device being pitched during the early 90's. They would air their commercial and my grandmother (god rest her soul) would always ask for one. We never got her one, after some research it turned out to be more complicated than the regular remote.

Food for thoughts... (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128832)

less junk on TV == less channel switching == no need for fancy remote controls

My C$0.02...

Re:Food for thoughts... (1)

crazyvas (853396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128854)

less junk on TV == less channel switching == no need for fancy remote controls

This works too:
more junk on TV == less channel switching == no need for fancy remote controls

Nothing new about this... (3, Funny)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128833)

...which would be well known to anyone in the custom high-end AV biz. It's also probably a bad idea as sooner or later an argument in the family room erupts over which channel to watch and the system has a nervous breakdown as it hears "Nickolodeon!" "MTV!" "Golf!" and so on until you go back to the good old fashioned button remote.

another useless self-proclaimed tech revolution (1)

maiki (857449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128835)

same thing with voice-command dialing with cell phones. i can imagine that being useful for blind people, but do blind people watch much tv? (well, maybe, i dunno) does anybody actually use voice-commands in any technology? (ignoring actual verbal communication with other living beings)

Re:another useless self-proclaimed tech revolution (1)

ABeowulfCluster (854634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128860)

I use voice tech. I programmed two of my contacts as Launch Photon Torpedoes and Beam me up scotty Life is good.

How quaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128836)

Well at least Scotty will be able to use it.

Hello Computer.

what happens when (1)

sfcat (872532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128838)

You say 'find a dull actor' and you see XXX next. Does it require voice training? I would be worried about word transcription errors, especially if your kid uses it and ends up with spiceTV. I know that limited vocabulary speech recognition has gotten pretty good, but there are too many names of TV shows and channels and actors to limit the vocabulary enough to make this accurate. Good luck to these guys, they'll need it.

Just like Clapper (1)

Palal (836081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128846)

It's just like installing clapper (The thing that turns off your lights when you clap) in a big auditorium. Just watch and see how good the effect will be!

Re:Just like Clapper (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128903)

wow. nostalgic potato couch technology. [x-entertainment.com]

From the article (5, Funny)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128852)

It comes with a handy reference card that helpfully explains "You can also find an actor in an Adult program by saying 'Find Adult Actor' and the actor's name".

Aha! The true purpose is revealed! Naturally, one's hands will be occupied when searching for adult actors...

It should be like the clapper. (1)

noerobert (868321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128856)

If you could clap patterns and have the channel change you would never have to find the remote again! You would alsohave the fun of the tv going on and off as people talk loudly and open and shut doors, but besides that it would be great.

So from now on (1)

yahyamf (751776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128864)

instead of physical fighting matches for the remote between people there will be yelling only?

Oh god no... (5, Funny)

qyiet (851101) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128865)

Personally, I'm waiting for the version that interfaces with your brain.

What, so it changes to the playboy channel every 3 min?

Lazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128866)

Ok, outside of the few paralised individuals to whom I mean no disrespect, this is a disgrace. Anyone too lazy to operate a remote control is worthless. Actually, anyone who spends enough time beached out in front of a TV that they even NEED a remote is worthless as well.

In the future ... (1)

fantail (90626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128875)

... the programs will be generated in real time; if you get bored, the brain interface will create an explosion or have someone shot ...

Re:In the future ... (1)

QangMartoq (614688) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129241)

In the future... the programs will be generated in real time; if you get bored, the brain interface will create an explosion or have someone shot ...

LOL.. Now *that* would be a worthwhile invention! ;)

This is... (3, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128879)

Personally, I'm waiting for the version that interfaces with your brain.
Assuming you have one left, after all that TV...

Re:This is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129172)

Well, he just needs a little brain - one that can say: Yes, no and where's my tea?

Fine, depending... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128881)

I'm cool with it, as long as the following exchange works:

Me: Computer

Remote: (beeps)

me: Replay video, time index minus five seconds

TV: Lay in a persuit course. Engage.

PocketPC (1)

dejamatt (704418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128885)

You can do this from a PocketPC with a Mic and infrared already:

http://www.pdawin.com/tvremote.html [pdawin.com]

It's not as cool as you'd think though... pressing buttons is actually easier than saying "One-One" or "Up Up Up" to change channels... plus you feel like a weirdo alone in a room talking to yourself...

In Soviet Russia (2, Insightful)

yahyamf (751776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128891)

the television programs voice command YOU oh wait... actually that's true in Democratic USA too

My voice-activated remote control is broken (2, Funny)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128892)

My voice-activated remote control is broken. I keep asking for cooking shows about "prawns" and I get something wayyyy different.

I lose everything... (1)

Pepsi__Blue (862561) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128893)

so how much would a replacement remote cost? I'm thinking it would be quite a bit, and since you can't buy them in stores (at least not now) you would have to wait for one to be sent to you. The real question, I think, is will talking into my remote not only make me appear crazier than people already think I am, but also impair my ability to drink soda/booze and eat?

chanel surfing (1)

oneeyedelf1 (793839) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128932)

chanel surfing must be a pain in the ass to do with speaking, also wouldnt the tv mess up the command sometimes, due to background noise(the tv)?

Adds (1)

qyiet (851101) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128936)

If these become common does this mean we will get adds that loudly, and repeatedly say the name of another channel to get these devices to switch to it?

works great until... (2, Funny)

the-build-chicken (644253) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128954)

...you watch a show about the english channel and the increase in the volume of ships using it.

Bah humbug. (1)

atomm1024 (570507) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128977)

Great, a new device to help people be even lazier. Is it really so hard to push a few fucking buttons?

What's next -- people will be too lazy to talk, so they'll want something that lets them blink Morse code? Come on, using a normal remote control is not hard.

(Disclaimer: Aside from news, Simpsons, and Jon Stewart, I watch no TV. Maybe for hard-core teevee usars, pushing buttons does get tiring. But just remember that you're better off than when people had to actually stand up and walk to the TV to change the channel.)

No need to wait... (1)

Tyler Durden (136036) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128978)

Want a TV remote that intefaces with your brain? Here ya go. [deccanherald.com]

Don't know whether or not you're willing to undergo the surgery though.

That's a solution in search of a problem (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128982)

Firstly, opening your mouth and speaking up takes up more energy than pressing a button wih your thumb. Value for laziness == 0. I can see a big value for disabled people though.

Secondly, what's really needed is a TV that can recognize commercials and informercials and switch channel instantly (or switch to some radio station for the duration of the commercials), then comes back to the program when the junk is over. Cuz ya know, besides setting the volume, that's what people use their remote for when they don't go to the bathroom during the ads...

Americans... (1)

Delta2.0 (846278) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128985)

And now we have truly accomodated the american stereotype. Now Joe Sixpack doesn't even have to lift a finger. There goes my excuse for exercise. damn

These are no good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12128989)

I have one, and once you have the tv volume loud enough to hear or if there is another person talking and the remote isn't 1 inch from your mouth, it wont work, and when it does work, it's becuase you have said the same thing to it 10x.

dangerous (1)

alphan (774661) | more than 9 years ago | (#12128994)

TV makes sound, meaning dangerous feedback.

I wouldn't want my remote doing crazy things on its own.

How about a Promptu commercial on TV just after you pressed talk :)

Plus, pressing a button and talking cannot faster than pressing two or tree buttons.

Whats the point? (1)

bazmail (764941) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129011)

why not just bypass the remote and put the voice sensors in the TV? cut out the middle man and all that? Its as useless as those small remote controls on the headphone wire for an mp3 player. I mean think about it.Seriously.

Be careful with voice commands (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129013)

If you mix up the commands with previous article [slashdot.org] , you might end up with a dancing TV.

This is not that new... (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129021)

There are lots of them out there. My brother bought me one from the Discovery Channel store 4 years ago for Christmas. (Can't find a link to it right now, can't remember the manufacturer.)

This Promtpu one has some nifty features like the "Find..." thing, but I can honestly say that the one I have is a PITA to use. More trouble than it's worth, especially considering my wife would have to train it to respond to her voice as well, and she doesn't have the patience for that.

Obligatory Apple joke (1)

Zapraki (737378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129027)

Coming soon... Impromptu by Apple

The remote control that makes you watch what it wants to watch!

What, don't you "Enjoy uncertainty" [apple.com] ?

Sounds like a lot of hot air to me (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129042)

Sounds like a real hassle for channel surfers:

"Down... down... down... down... down... down... down.."

And isn't there a danger of the TV controlling itself?

"Okay, Marsha, I'll tell you my horrible, horrible secret. Now listen UP"

How lazy do you have to be? Damn! (1)

AvatarofVirgo (865568) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129081)

It's bad enough that the majority of Americans are over weight. Now they don't even have to move their fat fingers to push the buttons.

Not to mention that it is about as dumb as a remote for the car stereo which I have seen by the way.

My cousin who has the car stereo remote is a coonass so I wouldn't be surprised if they're the first people to get something like that.

Stoopid (1)

bananahead (829691) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129095)

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid... This is a classic example of technology for technology sake. If you have ever tried to use voice activated ANYTHING, you know that it is the WORST UI possible. We just don't talk the way these devices want to be talked to, and it is just not natural. Microsoft has a pilot program internally using technology from the research group that allows every employee to register themselves in a voice-activated phone directory system. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seem people in conference rooms hitting the button and carefully stating 'Fred Ziffelwitz', and having the system come back with 'Are you trying to reach Bob Zuffenheimer?' It was NEVER right. I have tried the voice interfaces to Office, and just end up drooling all over myself trying to speak the way the damn thing wants to hear. It is just not natural. On top of all that, what is wrong with the current TV controllers that voice solves? You press up, the station changes. You press down, it goes the other way. So now, you say 'up' and the station changes, you say 'lower' and the thing turns your TV off. I hate this technology crawl. We simply DO NOT NEED VOICE ACTIVATED CRAP. If I ever see one, the first thing I am going to do is turn it on and set it in front of the TV speaker, just to see if it will ever become self-aware and take control of the house. When it can do that, I will become a believer. Until then, IT IS JUST A TECHNO-CRAP SOLUTION LOOKING FOR A PROBLEM TO SOLVE.

Need programmable surfing by time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129109)

On my wish list would be the ability to change available channels by time of day. Some channels offer nothing bout infomercials during certain hours. With smart channel surfing, your TV would skip these channels. Also it could help you avoid accidently stumbling onto Larry King or the Teletubbies.

Dictation technology. (1)

Ajeebwon (873131) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129126)

Is a lot more trouble than it is worth, in my opinion. I can still remember the horror of frustration resulting from my attempt to use Dragon Naturally Speaking eight-ish years ago... My copy of which is currently residing in a land fill somewhere; though if I had the choice I'd have sent it right to hell.

Huge and ugly (1)

SassyDave (557868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129139)

That thing looks awful [promptu.com] .

Re:Huge and ugly (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129161)

The girl in the picture seems to disagree.

"German Shizer Porn" (3, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129140)

All I want to know, is which retard invented a voice-controlled remote but put a button on it that you have to press before you can actually talk? What would have been useful is a remote control that would make a beep when you called it after you had lost it down the sofa. They could have put all these search features on a device with a screen or just taken any PDA with an infra red port and written some software.

Verdict: no one is using it now and no-one will be using it in 6 months time..

Gesture Control (1)

mspring (126862) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129193)

I'd still prefer an approach where gestures are used to control the TV.
-Max

This is so wrong in so many ways... (1)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12129226)

This is so wrong in so many ways...
First of all, the woman on the web page looks like she is holding something other than a TV remote, which is quite off-putting in a rather pleasant way.
Secondly, it is well known that the only way to defend oneself against the mind altering effects of TV is to talk back to it - so what will happen when I do?
1) TV licence request lands on my door. I say to my TV: "I'm not paying you b*****d, go ahead and fine me"; my TV says: "This is the news from the BBC."; the new TV remote starts to look for a channel about me and eventually tunes into the spy camera hidden in my TV by the NBL.
2) BBC Question Time comes on the air (a popular political discussion panel show with an interesting mix of politicians, newspaper editors, and one comedian). I say to my TV: "Why am I still watching you?"; my TV says: "It's all the fault of the electorate."; the TV remote starts to look for a channel about you, and eventually tunes into the hidden camera in your house, planted there by the NFL.
3) Pop or American Idol comes on the air (a popular gay talent show). I say to my TV: "Oh for the love of God."; my TV says: "You can't sing, you can't dance, but Paula likes you."; the TV remote finds all the TV programmes starring God and eventually shows me an episode of South Park (the one with God in it, obviously) closely followed by an episode of Alias (the one with God in it, obviously).
4) Enterprise comes on the air (a popular sci-fi show starring a man last seen travelling through time on the command of Mo Sislack). I say to my TV: "Please dump Data"; my TV says: "You are a Vulcan"; the TV remote will dump the core out of set-top-box and my TV will die.
Luckily TV remotes don't work in my house, not since I covered everything in tin foil...

/. Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129271)

Here is the text of linked article:

AgileTV presents Promptu voice controlled television

AgileTV is aiming to change the way people watch TV, with a voice controlled television remote control.

The Promptu remote is designed to replace a conventional remote control and includes a "Talk" button and a built-in microphone, together with an infra-red receiver used in conjunction with an existing cable box.

The remote control translates spoken commands into speech features that are sent the receiver and then to a small runtime application in the set-top box. The actual voice recognition is performed at the cable head-end on commodity PC based Linux systems. This can be tuned to regional accents and can include a large vocabulary database. The response is returned in around a second, and an on screen prompt indicates when the command has been understood.

The remote control can be told to change channel by name or number, or show programme selections by up to 75 pre-defined categories. This perhaps demonstrates the problem of genre classification for television programmes and displays a certain North American bias. So there are currently categories for Cheerleading and Rodeo, but only one for Performing Arts, which might indicate something about the intended market.

It comes with a handy reference card that helpfully explains "You can also find an actor in an Adult program by saying 'Find Adult Actor' and the actor's name".

Voice control always seems to be a feature of visions of the future. While not dismissing its potential application for ensuring accessibility, the Promptu approach still requires a remote control and the user needs to hold down the Talk button when giving commands. However, the real advantage is that it may eliminate the requirement for keyboard entry when searching for titles, or adult actors.

Promptu is currently on trial by Comcast and Time Warner in the Philadelphia region. Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts has been quoted as calling it "one of my favourite new pieces of technology".

www.promptu.com

__
Manisha Patel [blogspot.com]

Re:/. Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129296)

mod up, informative because the website is down for me...

Re:/. Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129304)

mod up

but what if--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12129298)

But what if the kids of my neighbours are really noisy and I accidentally yell "fucking kids!"

Does it find me the channels which are playing R Kelly's or Michael Jackson's music videos?
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