Nuance Communications, the company behind the successful Dragon speech recognition software on the PC and Mac, has made some serious spread its wings in recent months, moving away from the desktop and onto products like Dragon Drive! for in-car use. And now it’s the turn of the living room to get its own dosage of voice-activated controls, with the launch of the Dragon TV platform on Panasonic’s new Smart TV line-up for 2013.
|Panasonic Smart TVs integrate Dragon TV voice recognition|
We first got whiff of Panasonic Smart TV’s new capability back in January when the struggling Japanese firm unveiled its new line-up at CES, mentioning that its flagship ZT60 series would incorporate voice recognition. Now, with the announcement that Panasonic is boasting Nuance’s technology under the hood, we really do have something to get excited about.
Fact is, Nuance’s voice recognition software is by far and away the best in its class, and has become a staple for office workers that need to get some serious multitasking done (not too mention for writers like myself when things get on top of me!). Designed especially for the Smart TV platform, Dragon TV basically means that viewers will be able to control all the functions on their telly simply by telling it what to do. For example, users will be able to increase or decrease the volume, switch between channels, view the program guide and even browser the web using voice commands. In addition, the software also allows viewers to play with their Smart TV apps, Skype, send emails and more.
Another capability of Dragon TV is its text-to-speech function, which allows for on-screen menus and subtitles to be read out loud, a feature that may well come in handy for anyone with limited reading skills or poor vision.
Most likely Dragon TV will require some kind of training setup before it can recognize user’s voice commands accurately. On the PC version, this involves reading a variety of texts into the microphone for a minimum of ten minutes (but the longer you speak, the better it gets) so that the program gets used to the ‘nuances’ of your speech patterns. But for those that have never used Dragon before, rest assured, this is well worth doing if you’re at all interested in using the best speech recognition software available on your TV.
Panasonic’s new range of Smart TVs are set to hit the shops in the UK later this spring. Meanwhile, Dragon TV will also launch on other platforms such as set-top boxes in the near future.