Better get those patents in quickly boys.
Sony plans to revive its fortunes in the TV market by launching a new type of telly that it hopes will compete with - of all companies - Apple in the future goggle-box marketplace. So said CEO Sir Howard Stringer, speaking to the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, he didn't detail the new kind of television he has in mind. But …
Voice controlled TV?
How exactly is that going to work when a TV announcer mentions a channel name or gives some other instruction that controls the TV?
The TV has the advantage of knowing exactly what sound is coming out of its speakers, giving it a head-start with noise cancellation. Acoustics of the room may muddy the waters a bit, but probably not too seriously.
"TV, record all the future episodes of The Simpsons"
You don't just need voice recognition for that to work. Your TV needs to understand that "all episodes" shouldn't include duplicates shown on different channels. It needs to understand whether "future" means "broadcast after now" or "first broadcast after now". (Sorry, did you want to watch episodes that you haven't seen yet, but which have been broadcast elsewhere? Hmm, tricky.) It needs to understand that the definite article in "The Simpsons" is part of the show's title.
I expect most El Reg readers can imagine ways of resolving these ambiguities. But *we're* used to dealing with computers and twisting our commands so that they are unambiguous. The general public aren't, and will be bitten badly by any implementation of voice control that hasn't also solved numerous problems in artificial intelligence.
In short, don't hold your breath for any kind of voice control of any consumer gadget.
"TV, record all the future episodes of The Simpsons"
That might run into conflict with some of the PVR patents awarded to TiVo and which have been upheld in the courts.
I'd just like it if Sony released TVs that were actually distinguishable from one another by more than the 22nd digit in an unmemorable product code. Fewer different TVs would help people pick one from the multitude.
Oh and don't make them so inflammable next time.
"TV, record something worth watching"
My current TV can do that, it doesn't record anything.
Hmmm ... doed that mean....
... what i think it means? That someone will put the money behind resurecting Caprica and Stargate ... 'cause that's really the only thing I want to buy. Apart from Dr Who, there is nothing among the current TV drivvel that appeals to me.
Futurama, etc. I buy on DVD, seventeen years after it airs in the US, of course.
TV tied to playstation 3...
So it can be remotely crippled when Sony choose to remove some of its functionality unilaterally?
I'll pass thanks "sir" Howard.
How about ...
... something as simple as a TV you can connect to a wireless network to play videos kept on a hard disc elsewhere on the network.
A tv that can wirelessly connect to a hard drive? Got one already, a fairly cheap LG Smart. I have it wired but it can work wirelessly. The interface is horrible though and it seems to randomly decide which files it wants to display, haven't spent the time looking at what codecs its looking for but the basics are there.
Already play content from local network
My current Sony TV will play videos from the network using DLNA and Wi-fi is built in.
It also has iPlayer, Lovefilm, Sony's own movie store and a number of other services. User interface is less good than last years but not too bad. If you connect a hard disk it can operate as a simple PVR. There is a web browser but it really isn't worth the bother but why would you want to browse on TV rather than phone/laptop/tablet.
New kind of television...
That'd be a TV with something worth watching on it then?
Can't see it catching on.
Beat me to it
Looks like I'm 2nd in line. Gotta login sooner.
Plausibly Deniable, Naturally.
That sounds to me like Sony are planning to make Virtually Real and Actually Live Recordings of Future Realities for BroadBandCasting as Post Modern Edutainment to replace Current Affairs and Politically Incorrect News with Novel Work in Progress Views introducing Product and Program Placements with Sublime and Advanced Governance Protocols.
Now that would be one Helluva Heavenly Pilot to Program with Projects, Sony San.
And what are the BBC going to counter with, from their Creative Department, Mr Alan Yentob? Apart from Diddly Squat, that is?
Sony competing with Steve Jobs?
“I spent the last five years building a platform so I can compete against Steve Jobs."
I thought Sony had spent the last five years digging a hole. Which is kind of appropriate if they still want to compete with Steve Jobs.
Hopefully its the kind
With a wire you jack into your brain.
> "We can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we do]," said Sir Howard.
> "Every TV set we all make loses money.” The only way around that:
> to drive content sales that will cover the cost of the hardware.
That makes me shudder. First of all, I don't believe that every TV set they sell loses them money. I just don't. I suspect that what they mean is "why should Sky, the BBC, CBC make all that money out of people using our TV"
Why should I buy tv programmes from the set maker? That looks like restricting my choice and putting up my prices.
If I go and buy a set of plates from Denby, they don't try to sell me my food for the rest of my life. I get that from the Butchers, or the market, or the farm shop, or the chip shop. Denby are not trying to put all of them out of business.
if I buy a Ford, ford do not tell me what roads to drive on. if I buy a Radial arm saw Wadkin do not expect to sell me the wood and glue for the rest of the project.
Why should I hand the future of entertainment to Sony? Buggerm.
If they are loosing money on TVs, then let them go bust.
>> "Every TV set we all make loses money.” The only way around that: to drive content sales that will cover the cost of the hardware.
They're already starting with the wrong premise. As Steve Jobs would say, the money is in the device, everything else are value adding features.
"It’s finished, and it’s launching now"
What do Sony understand as the definition of "now". I guess understanding what "launching" means is quite essential as well.
Shall I put of buying that Samsung 64 inch plasma TV El Reg reviewed recently - ah ha, that's Sir Welshman's tactic - everyone is buying LG / Samsung TVs, this should stop that !
Re: "fiddly remote controls and complicated DVR user interfaces"
Simple solution - make user friendly remote controls and user interfaces - there's loads of em out there.
Simple TV - monitor with loads of i/o ports.
Microsoft commercial just last night...
... was advertising a voice-activated Xbox Kinect for your TV (telly for Brit Reg folks).
Thought is was cute, actually. Still wouldn't want the thing in my house but there it is.
A Freeview HD telly with build in disk record, USB socket for external devices, wireless connection to internet/PC/NAS (iPlayer et al of course), internet browser that you can flip easily from TV to for looking stuff up (Finally a use for picture in picture), and a Wii style remote for use as a pointer, plus optional wireless keyboard. Built in webcam(s) and Skype, again PiP. Have a decent amp in there too, so no need for a separate HiFi, DVD/DC player slot. About the only thing I don't want is GPS.
Nothing too technically off the wall, and yet exactly what I want.
Two tuners for freeview, two for freesat, recording/timeshifting to internal or USB devices. Format of recorded material to be playable on other vendor's gear (no lock-in)
ability to initiate recording by sms/irc/twitter/some sort of app on ios/android
blueray support as well as dvd? or is blueray dead?
up to 1080p, skip the 3d it's pants.
".....ability to initiate recording by sms/irc/twitter/some sort of app on ios/android"
Sky+ app on droid works great.
So a HTPC then...
are we going for true 3D (holosite type projection) at last?
Putting a PV layer across the front so it can absorb energy when not being used to save power when it is?
or can we roll the screen up and hide it when we don't want it, pulling it down like a roller blind when Attenborough comes on?
IS the new TV ...
....one that people don't have to watch?
No. Quite the reverse. It's the one that won't let you do anything else until you have watched the compulsory channels for the designated times.
Had them since 'Take 3 Girls' finished
Wow some people here really lack common sense!
Every discussion I see about an Apple TV integrating Siri there's always some fools who seriously believe that what the TV audio is playing, what others are saying or what you are saying to others will be a problem causing misinterpreted commands. You aren't gonna be talking to the *TV*, you're gonna be talking to the remote! Imagine a button on the remote (more likely THE button on the remote if Steve Jobs designed it) that you press to let it know you are giving it a command. You know, just like how Siri works on the iPhone now. Seriously, I think some people would have dismissed Siri this way if it was described before release, by wondering what happens if you say something during a phone call that Siri interprets as a question...sheesh!
As for Tivo patents, given how narrowly the courts interpret patents, at least in the US, where you can have a patent for something and I can patent pretty much the same thing but "on a computer" and then some other joker can come along and patent pretty much the same thing "on a mobile device such a cell phone or tablet" I doubt Tivo's patents will carry much weight, at least as far as the "season pass" concept they presumably have patented and that the instructions to record future episodes of the Simpsons alludes to.
While I think its silly that Apple or Sony would be able to get around Tivo's patent just because Tivo's patent presumably describes it being done via menu and it would now be done via voice, I also think the idea of instructing a DVR to record all new (non repeats) episodes of a program is pretty damn bloody obvious and should never have been granted a patent in the first place.
That's a shame, really, since it will significantly lower the odds of, when you've lost the remote down the couch, being able to yell at the television, "SIRIIIIII!!!! Where's THE REMOooooOoTE!??!!?" and have it chirp the remite. Assuming the remote finally isn't IR-based, anyway.
Voice controlled TV
Great yet another thing in my house that won't do a thing I ask.
At least I'd have a legit reson to be yelling at the TV
If there are any IVR people out there , please, PLEASE! make sure there is another way of dealing with your thrice damned systems. They never ever understand a bloody word I say.
I end up screaming incohearently down the phone, Although one system; after I started cursing & swearing, did route me through to a human operator, in india, that I couldn't understand :(
voice recognition systems = Evil
The Simpsons? Who would want to record that?