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TiVo: ‘Voice search is key to making the UX simple again’

Consumers have been given access to multiple content platforms but not the tools to discover what’s on them – and the answer to making things simple again is voice, according to that original disrupter of digital TV, TiVo.

Speaking in a Friday session on the consumer experience, Charles Dawes, senior director of marketing at TiVo claimed that its natural language voice controls, which are currently being integrated into Sky Q’s premium service, would radically simplify the user experience.

“It can take more than 10 clicks to find the search. Voice search is a quick and simple way to get to content more easily,” he said.

TiVo’s new solution claims to enable natural language voice searches for finding digital content across linear TV and VoD. Viewers can find their desired programme by pressing and holding the voice button on the side of a touch remote and simply saying what they’re looking for.

Dawes said that the technology is based around the conversational way that people really speak and takes into account pauses in requests such as “Find me
an action comedy… one with Tom Hanks.”

Viewers can also use their voices to search for films from a specific director or actor and even through using a selection of well-known movie quotes such as “Show me the money!”

Fellow panellist Liz Ross, CEO of Freeview Australia, also shared her insight into research which was gathered ahead of launching Freeview Plus in her home territory. “People don’t like it when you only provide a grid text-based guide for browsing or relying on the use of coloured buttons. You need to be able to make content search and discovery easy and integrate it into all browsing screens.”

Chris McGrath, senior VP of data and analytics at Discovery Communications, also advised broadcasters to think carefully about how they programme recommendation engines.

“Think about the bias that you are putting in the algorithm if you like shows like Breaking Bad, then you usually get recommended lots more shows with anti-heroes in them – there’s not a whole lot of variety and it can result in audience fatigue which may flatten out the success of a show,” he warned.