Speech Technology Magazine

AT&T Launches U-verse Voice-Enabled Remote App

Latest U-verse enabled app includes gesture and voice controls.
Posted Sep 27, 2012
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AT&T U-verse is making it easier for U-verse TV customers, including those with disabilities such as vision and hearing loss, to control their TV with the new voice-enabled U-verse Easy Remote App.

Available in the iTunes store, the U-verse Easy Remote App lets customers easily use their iPhone or iPad as a U-verse remote control.

AT&T U-verse is the first major TV provider to allow customers to use voice remote control capabilities. The app was built with a commitment to universal design and is optimized to give all users access to features to control their TVs, including the following:

  • A voice initiated remote control to perform a variety of commands, including channel up, channel down, fast forward, rewind, replay, pause, play, record, and go to channel.
  • A voice command feature that lets users choose shows they want to watch by simply saying the show title or channel number into their devices.
  • iPhone's VoiceOver screen reader, enabling users to hear TV show and channel information as they scroll through the programming guide.
  • Multiple screen color, button, and font size choices that let users customize their iPhone or iPad screen for a better viewing experience.
  • Gesture commands, which allows users to control shows they're viewing with gestures.
  • One-touch access to closed captioning.

The U-verse Easy Remote App was initially developed by researchers at AT&T Labs. 

The voice control functions of the Easy Remote app are powered by the AT&T Watson speech recognition technology using AT&T's Speech API, which uses advanced natural language processing to recognize and understand spoken words. Also developed in AT&T Labs, AT&T Watson speech recognition technology has been powering advanced speech services in the marketplace for many years and is now available for third-party developers to use in their own apps.

"We're always looking for ways to improve the U-verse TV experience, and we knew this was an area where we could take a big step forward and use our IPTV platform to deliver a better and more accessible TV watching experience for seniors and customers with hearing and vision impairments," said Maria Dillard, vice president of U-verse and video products at AT&T Home Solutions, in a statement. "Voice command and one-touch access to closed captioning are just a few examples of how AT&T is using universal design to develop innovative technology to improve the TV experience for all customers with and without disabilities."

The U-verse Easy Remote App is the latest app to use the U-verse Enabled platform, which lets customers connect their iPhone or iPad to their U-verse TV receiver over their in-home Wi-Fi network. Because AT&T U-verse is 100 percent IPTV, customers with a U-verse High Speed Internet account can connect their apps to any U-verse receiver in the home through channel 9301, without needing special equipment, such as Internet-connected receivers or TV sets. To access Easy Remote, customers must subscribe to both U-verse TV and U-verse High-Speed Internet.

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