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Speak into the mic

Wed, 11/30/2005 - 7:00pm
Staff

Memorizing the numbers of their favorite channels has become a thing of the past for some of Sunflower Broadband's digital customers. Soon, many of them will be able to simply navigate the wide, wide world of digital programming by simply uttering what they want into a special remote.

The Kansas-based cable operator has teamed up with AgileTV Corp. to try out the company's voice-activated navigation system. Under a "predeployment agreement," Sunflower will begin to place AgileTV's technology in customer homes, and support it with a marketing campaign.

AgileTV's custom remote
In the home, AgileTV's Promptu platform uses an IR remote with a built-in, push-to-talk button and a set-top "sidecar." The headend, however, is where all of the heavy lifting is done. There, an off-the-shelf Dell server deciphers and cross-sections commands received from the consumer with a massive database that contains more than 100,000 phrases.

Presently, AgileTV can voice- enable an operator's broadcast lineup, but support for VOD and DVR is on the roadmap.

Initially, Sunflower will test AgileTV's technology on Motorola set-top models such as the DCT2500 and all-digital DCT-700, and the Gemstar-TV Guide iGuide IPG.

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