Philips plans launch of voice-activated TV sets

Consumer electronics giant Philips is planning to have the first voice-activated television set in the shops by the middle of next year.

The new sets will dispense with the need for a remote control handset, and respond instead to pre-programmed voice commands.

The system will enable users to change channels, adjust volume and other functions by talking to the TV set.

Philips claims the system is so sensitive it can pick up commands in a crowded room and learn to recognise its owner’s voice.

The marketing campaign is expected to focus on humanising owners’ relationships with their TV sets. It will initially be introduced at the top end of Philips’ range, priced at &£1,000 to &£1,200.

The Dutch giant is the market leader in professional voice-control systems, including legal and medical applications, and the technology is believed to be central to its global strategy.

Philips already manufactures voice-activated mobile phones and a Web browser. Further product launches are in the pipeline. The technology also features heavily in designs for third generation Philips mobile systems.

Cesar Vohringer, president and chief executive of Philips Speech Processing, says: “The TV is still the focal point of the home – this is an important way of introducing the voice-activation concept.”

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