Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DirecTV adding voice search to its iOS and Android phone apps, beta coming this summer


Tuesday, April 23, 2013 9:03 AMDirecTV adding voice search to its iOS and Android phone apps, beta coming this summerEngadgetDana Wollman

Now that it's finally got an Android tablet app to speak of, DirecTV is returning its attention to phones: the company announced today that both its iOS and Android applications will be receiving voice search starting this summer. As the company describes it, the app is meant to address the age-old problem of there being "nothing on TV." (And also, the fact that searching for things on your television is damn tedious.) In particular, you can use the app to search by person, title, channel show time or genre, using commands such as "find comedy movies," etc. Like other voice-control services, too, you can give follow-up instructions like, "with Bill Hader" and it'll know to narrow down your results instead of starting a new search. Considering DirecTV whipped up its own search algorithm from scratch, it seems to work intuitively. Still, the fact that the landing page is filled with sample queries suggests there's very much a right and wrong way to ask for what you want.

If you're using the app away from home, you can set your DVR to record different shows. When you're on your home network, though, you can have the search results show up on your television, at which point your phone transforms into a remote you can use to scroll through menus and the like. With the TV, too, you can wade through various programs, as well as search for sports content or ask the app to switch to a certain channel (saying either the channel name or number will work). You can even tell the app to go back through menus, but you can't use your voice to access features like the settings menu. No word on when the beta will roll out, except that it'll happen sometime this summer.

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