AT&T launches voice-controlled U-verse remote TV app

Michelle Clancy | 27-09-2012

AT&T has launched the voice- and gesture-recognition Easy Remote app to control its U-verse IPTV service, available for Apple iOS devices.

The idea, the telco said, is to make it easier for U-verse TV customers, including those with disabilities such as vision and hearing loss, to control their TV with an iPhone or iPad.

Multiple screen color, button and font size choices let customers customise their iPhone or iPad screens for a better viewing experience, while a voice-initiated remote control can perform a variety of commands, including channel up, channel down, fast forward, rewind, replay, pause, play, record and go-to-channel.

The voice control functions of the Easy Remote app are powered by the AT&T Watson speech recognition technology using AT&T's Speech API, which uses advanced natural language processing to recognize and understand spoken words.

A voice command feature also lets users choose a show you want to watch by simply saying the show title or channel number into the device, while iPhone's VoiceOver screen reader, enables users to hear TV show and channel information as he or she scrolls the programming guide.

"Most Americans rely on their television as a critical source of news and entertainment, and it is important that these resources be made accessible for all users," said Larry Goldberg, director of WGBH's Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM). "It is great to see an app like Easy Remote apply many of the universal design features that improve access for customers both with and without disabilities."

The U-verse Easy Remote App is the latest app to utilise the U-verse Enabled platform, which lets customers connect their iPhone or iPad to their U-verse TV receiver over their in-home Wi-Fi network, without needing special equipment.