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Amazon Fire TV Cube and the Future of Voice Control in OTT

Learn more about the end-user OTT playback experience at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete presentation from Streaming Media West, Keynote. Fireside Chat: How Amazon FireTV's Customer-First Approach to Streaming Is Revolutionizing Home Entertainment, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: I was a voice control skeptic for quite a while, until I got a smart TV a couple years ago and was entering all of my passwords for all of my accounts and really just wished I had that voice control to do that. Now, obviously, voice control has gone way beyond simply controlling your TV with the Fire TV Cube. What role does voice control play in general in the future of OTT and living room devices and specifically for Amazon?

Sandeep Gupta: So Voice, it's a very natural experience for people. This is how we do, when we grow up. You're talking. And I think the complexity now of television in some way is hard for people to manage. You have all these great services. Disney+ just last week. You have a lot of breadth of content. And the best way to get at that is with your voice.

So there's several aspects to this. First, you're trying to find your show or manage your show. And just being able to say the title is a much easier way to do that. The other aspect is just controlling your experience. With our integration with IR and Voice, you can do things like say "Play Jack Ryan" and it will tune in your TV and go straight to the show. And that's truly magical. Where you just made and utterance and all this thinking, all this logic was managed for you. And Voice just kind of resonates with customers.

It's funny. I just literally came back from India yesterday and I was there working with my team and I had these great anecdotes from the people that work for me. How they set up Fire TV for their parents and grandparents. And India is and interesting country because--interesting fact-- 67% of customers in India still have a CRT TV. Using a set-top box with composite inputs.

So they're just starting to transition, and so, obviously, people that work in our company, Fire TV's grown to be number one there already in the past year. And they set up Fire TV for their parents and grandparents but the parents and grandparents have no idea about apps. None of that. They just look for the shows with their voice and it just works. And I think that's what makes it magical.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: How many people in the room are currently using voice control on their video watching experience in the living room? That's a pretty good number. A little under half. My next question is, do you think voice control is the future? Clearly you do. But how do you see voice control developing as we move forward?

Sandeep Gupta: Beyond voice control, voice interaction, voice interface, I think for years we had the concept of a remote with buttons. And that works in sort of a generic way. I still think it was challenging people when you had to bring in a DVD player or a Xbox and you gotta try to figure out which input do I go to? Which remote do I pick up? And Voice has this ability to cross over domains.

The example I gave you is make an utterance to watch a show. It could be "Play Stranger Things," and the ability for that utterance to then translate into turning on your TV, turning on your soundbar, launching your Netflix app, and then go in Stranger Things. With that utterance, only comes with that flexibility. To do that with a remote, I would have had to hit three or four different remotes and try and make that work.

The other example is we have integrated cable box control with our devices. So if I say "Tune to NBC," the Fire TV knows that you watch NBC on your cable box and it automatically will switch your input and tune your cable box to NBC. And all you did was say that utterance. So I think the ability for Voice to transcend the domain, the app, the device, the method of viewing is what makes it so powerful.

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