Dish Finds Its Voice

Rovi To Power Dish’s New Voice-Based TV Interface
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Rovi said Dish will use its technology to power a new voice-based TV interface, a win that comes about four months after Dish announced at CES that it would add that capability later in 2015.

Throughout the year, Dish plans to integrate the Rovi Conversation Services platform with its Dish Explorer second screen app for the iPad, Hopper Voice remote (pictured), and the Dish Anywhere app. The coming voice function will be capable of searching for shows and movies across Dish’s live TV lineup and VOD library and a Dish sub’s DVR recordings.

Rovi said its Conversation Services platform includes the “Knowledge Graph”-driven semantic technologies and natural language controls it obtained last year via its $62 million acquisition of Veveo, a company that had also been working with AT&T, Verizon Communications, DirecTV, Cablevision Systems, Rogers Communications, and Comcast. Rovi estimates that its Knowledge Graph for the voice-based system contains information on more than 100 million entertainment-related elements, such as program titles, celebrity names, and brands.

Using that system, Dish subs, for example, will be able to place search queries with their voice and ask follow-up questions that would typically be found in a “natural conversation,” Rovi said, noting that the technology is also capable of talking back to clarify questions, make suggests or confirm the user’s request.

“Consumers seek a television experience that gets them to their shows with minimal hassle,” Vivek Khemka, senior vice president of product management at DISH, said in a statement, adding that the addition of voice recognition technologies will provide subs “with a more intuitive search experience.

“Given the scale of DISH’s subscriber base, we hope to significantly shift the public perception of how people can discover and navigate content with next-gen semantic technologies in ways that have not been possible before,” added Daren Gill, vice president of products, advanced search and recommendations at Rovi, who was formerly Veveo’s chief product officer.

For more about how pay TV and OTT video providers are turning to voice-powered search technologies, see this story (subscription required) in the April 12 issue of Multichannel News.