Mid-Week Poll: Voice and Gesture-Controlled TVs

With the success of the Wii and Kinect videogame systems, several TV manufacturers have worked to revolutionize the way we interact with our televisions by adding gesture or voice controls in place of the traditional remote control. Are these worthwhile innovations, or useless gimmicks? Tell us what you think in our poll.

Unfortunately, I fall on the “gimmick” side of this debate. I really don’t see the point of either gesture or voice controls, other than the vaguely amusing notion that we’re practically already living in the ‘Minority Report‘ future.

This video demonstration of Samsung’s voice and gesture controls just makes both look like a tremendous pain in the butt to use:

Toshiba’s gesture control seems marginally better, but still more annoying than useful.

Honestly, what’s so difficult about using a standard remote control?

What do you make of this? Would you be interested in using either?

Are You Interested in Voice or Gesture-Controlled TVs

View Results

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  1. Neither interests me. My thumb works just fine. Changing the channel doesn’t need to be an interactive experience like playing the Wii is.

    • Although, now that I think about it, this could be a good thing. I’m always misplacing my remotes, but I rarely misplace my hands.

    • William Henley

      Agreed – it seems like it would take MORE effort to gesture than to grab a remote. As for voice recognition, I rarely have it work for me on the phone (probably because of my horendious southern accent). Besides, I can just imagine yelling over a movie “VOLUME DOWN” or “PAUSE”

      Its an interesting idea, but I think its just too much of a gimmick.

      As for misplacing your remotes, I hear that you can get little things that you can duct tape onto the back that will beep when you clap or whistle or something. Don’t know what they are called, but I need to get one. I have misplaced my Windows remote, and my PS3 remote. As for the Windows remote, I just downloaded WinRemote for my Android tablet. Sadly, it eats the battery on my tablet like crazy.

  2. EM

    If you’re playing with a Kinect or a Wii using a gesture-controlled TV, would it be easy to accidentally turn off the TV or change the channel? Similarly, I’d be concerned about accidental voice control. And for that matter, how well could a voice-controlled TV hear me over itself (or the audio components)? What if the volume’s too loud, and I have to repeatedly shout “VOLUME DOWN!!!!”?

    On my Amazon wish list I do have a “Kymera Magic Wand Remote Control” (which operates on gestures much like a Wii controller), because I think it would be a fun occasional gimmick, rather than a standard control…much like the cheap pistol remote I gave my father (the trigger activates one and only one IR command…I would have used it for “power off”, but Dad uses it to go up during channel surfing—I guess he thinks of it as dismissing the current channel with a bang).


    • William Henley

      LOL, I responded to Aaron before I read your comment! I was thinking along the same lines.

      For that matter, how can it distinguish between the TV and you? I can just imagine them advertising this, like they do the XBox stuff “Xbox – Power off” and suddenly your TV shuts down.

  3. RollTide1017

    I had a Kinect for my 360 but have already sold it. The games were bad and the voice and gesture controls only worked about half the time. Sure, people told me to make sure my volume wasn’t to high so voice control would work better, they said to make sure the room had enough light for gestures. Look, it’s night and everyone but me is asleep in my household, I’m not going to yell at the Xbox to get the voice stuff to work and I’m not setting up stage lighting to get the gestures to work.

    The stuff never worked from my comfortable spot on the couch, I either had to stand or sit on the center edge of the couch, even then it didn’t work great. There are people on game forums that claim to love it and use it all the time, I just don’t get it, don’t see what is so great about voice and gesture controls. Let’s say the Kinect does work perfect every time, it still takes about 3x longer to get to what you want when using voice and gesture vs. just using a controller or remote. It’s just quicker to hit the stop button on a remote vs yell “Xbox Stop,” then wait 3-5 seconds for it to accept the command, if it heard you at all.

    This stuff will always be a gimmick IMO.

  4. Prayformojo

    New parents are a great target audience for voice controlled TV. Hands are at a premium when caring for newborns.

  5. JM

    Mind control will be perfected before they figure out this gesture shit.

    Even voice is too slow. The human is the bottleneck.

    Button pushing is the minimum acceptable level of lag.

    Smart tvs should use cpus to make button pushing create faster onscreen results.

    You want my money, give me some velocity.

  6. Zaserov

    Gesture controls could be useful, if they become sophisticated enough to be of about the same effort as pressing a button: flick a finger to the left, channel changes. Anything requiring a full arm movement, though? Pass.

    Voice control, though, I could see becoming a great thing, but again it would have to be more sophisticated, and not linked to a single component. If I could just tell me TV to “play next DS9 on Netflix,” and it then turns on, selects and turns on the PS3, loads Netflix and starts the show, that would save a lot of effort.

    I’d still want the remote for simpler pause / volume controls, though.

  7. Alexws

    I use my Kinect with Netflix all the time. It’s brilliantly addictive to simply say “Xbox pause” whenever I need to go to the bathroom/get some snack/impress friends. The voice recognition is almost spot on, I almost never have to repeat phrases, and English isn’t even my native language. If similar control could work on my tv, blu-ray player or other consoles, I would be very pleased.

  8. Alex P.

    I could see either being really problematic when having friends and family over. I can see someone on the the side talking and then the tv picking it up and changing channels or someone getting up or stretching and same thing happening. Classic remote still works for me lol