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Opera sings praises of voice-command TV
2/23/2005

 
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Technology/New Products/VOIP
OSLO, Norway - Web browser developer Opera Software today unveiled technology designed to allow users to control home entertainment systems with voice commands.

The Oslo, Norway, company's Electronic Program Guide (EPG) is based on IBM's ViaVoice implementation of the XHTML+Voice (X+V) multimodal markup language specification currently wending its way through the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) standards process.

The company plans to roll out a voice-enabled version of its desktop PC Web browser in late March or early April. Beta testing of the new browser began in December.

The voice-enabled EPG is a significant breakthrough in the effort to enhance the customer experience. Finally, there is an easier way for people to interact with their DVD players, DVRs and digital TV set top boxes without having to negotiate an array of remote controls.

A differentiating benefit for consumers, the voice-enabled EPG helps make navigating complex data structures easy by using simple voice commands.

For example, with the increasingly daunting number of television channels available, sorting through information and channel navigation can be done without effort by talking to your set top box.

Opera is making headway into the home media market with their Web browser solutions and powerful HTML and JavaScript-based presentation engine. The voice-enabled EPG is a multimodal (or multiple forms of input and output such as speech, keyboard or handwriting) project aimed at increasing awareness in the consumer electronics sector of the benefits of voice-enabled Web technologies.

"Opera is a leading player in making technology easy and accessible for people in their everyday lives, and the voice-enabled EPG is not science fiction, but a compelling demonstration of what you can do with Web technologies for home media," says Igor Jablokov, Director, Multimodal and Voice Portals, IBM Software Group. "We are excited to continue our relationship with Opera to help set the standards for a voice-enabled Web."

"Opera's Web-based presentation environment is ideal for applications like EPGs, Video-on-Demand, Web browsing, and other interactive services because of its speed, standards-compliance and easy customization," says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software.

"Operators can brand and specialize their offerings, and end-users can customize the appearance and functionality to their liking. The integration of voice with data is a natural evolution, and has enormous potential in the integrated home media market. Through our efforts with IBM, we hope to enable operators and OEMs to quickly get their HTML and JavaScript-based applications talking."
Opera's voice-enabled EPG announcement was made just weeks before Opera rolls out their new voice-enabled edition of the Opera browser for PCs.

The voice-enabled EPG is written in XHTML+Voice or X+V multimodal programming language and is available in English with initial targets aimed at enterprise customers and developers. For a demonstration of X+V multimodal speech applications, visit: www.ibm.com/pvc/multimodal.

Opera Software ASA is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with development centers in Linkoping and Gothenburg, Sweden. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol OPERA. Learn more about Opera at www.opera.com

 
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