Don’t know what to watch on TV?
Too tired to flip through the channels?
Ask the box.
With a new service by Shaw Communications Inc., viewers can now search for shows by talking to their TV.
Called BlueSky TV, the package features voice-activated remote control, the first in Canada.
Launched last month in Calgary, the service was introduced in Vancouver last Wednesday (February 1).
“This is like Jarvis,” Chethan Lakshman, Shaw’s vice president for communications and public relations, told the Georgia Straight at the company’s Vancouver office downtown.
The Shaw executive was referring to the artificial intelligence created by movie character Tony Stark in the Iron Man film franchise.
“He talks to Jarvis, ‘Jarvis do this, Jarvis do that’,” Lakshman said as he and other Shaw executives showed how the service works.
With the voice-enabled remote control, viewers can look for shows by saying a keyword.
It could be the title of the show or the name of the actor.
“George Clooney,” Lakshman spoke into the remote control.
The TV set immediately displayed Clooney’s bio, the movies he appeared in, parental guides, and ratings.
“It’s easier to find anything you want,” Lakshman said.
The Shaw executive recalled that two years ago, the Calgary-headquartered telecommunications company partnered with Comcast Corporation, an American company that offers the same services to TV viewers in the U.S., to develop the product.
“What they’re experiencing as a success in the United States, we can deliver to our customers in Canada,” he said.
According to him, Shaw customers in Calgary are happy.
“They’re excited about how easy it is to watch TV now. You’re no longer scrolling around, and trying to find something, and sometimes you miss the programs you love and you don’t know where it is on the dial. This takes away all that kind of frustration,” Lakshman said.
For those who don’t know what to watch, they can simply ask the TV what they should see, and it displays recommendations based on viewing history.
Celeste Mueller, product development lead, was among the Shaw executives who showed how easy BlueSky TV works.
“The most fun part is,” Mueller said before uttering the phrase ‘to infinity and beyond’, and the movie Toy Story, where the quote came from, flashed on the screen.
One of the features of BlueSky TV is the KidsZone, which has shows that are appropriate for children.
Sports lovers will like the real-time scores and other information provided by the service.
With so much content now available on TV, finding something is sometimes difficult.
Not anymore, Mueller said with the BlueSky TV service.
Mueller said; “If you have an hour to watch TV, you don’t spend 30 minutes trying to find something to watch.”