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LG readies voice-control STBs

LG Uplus is building voice control into its latest line of set-top boxes (STB). 

Rapid TV News reports the manufacturer will use embedded voice control capabilities alleviating the need for on-screen keyboards that require users to type by moving a cursor. Users can simply say: “Go to BBC”, for instance, for hands-free channel navigation.

The Korean giant is using silicon from Conexant Systems, which has been tailored for far-field voice input. It has the ability to cut through room noise, such as TV programme audio and outside conversations, to enable clear voice communication and accurate speech control from up to five metres away, the company said.

“Voice control in an STB is a notoriously difficult proposition, as there are substantial challenges related to echo cancellation – which is what enables the ability to control the STB with your voice while the content is coming out of the TV speakers,” said Saleel Awsare, Conexant vice president and general manager. “Unlike any other solution on the market, our chip allows users to be at a far distance and at any angle relative to the product’s microphones with clear voice communication and accurate commands still possible.”

Users will also have the ability to locate their remote control using their voice. The device enables an ‘always listening’ mode in the STB, and a voice command prompts the remote control to start beeping – enabling users to find it.

“Our customers have come to expect – and demand – increasingly advanced features from their electronics,” said Geon-Yeong Lee, the IPTV service team leader at LG Uplus. “Speech recognition and voice control are penetrating a wide variety of appliances and electronics in the smart home, and the STB is a critically important device in the connected home. We’re improving the way our customers interact with their TV.”