Nuance, Rovi join forces for a future of voice-command TV

Voice-recognition-software maker Nuance is licensing entertainment data from Rovi to stick in its platforms and applications for TVs, PCs, tablets and handsets.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
Samsung's Smart Interaction and Microsoft Kinect could soon be getting company.

Rovi and Nuance are joining forces to offer voice-activated digital entertainment guides and content discovery apps. The idea is that, for example, you can turn on your TV, ask it to "Recommend similar TV programs to 'Breaking Bad" -- and it directs you to HBOGo episodes of "The Wire."

Nuance, the software maker that plays a part in some of the most well-known speech-recognition services on the market, is licensing entertainment metadata from Rovi, which makes digital guides and collates information about TV shows, movies and music, among other pursuits.

The companies, timing their announcement to coincide with the IFA show in Berlin, say their partnership paves the way for service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, PC vendors, and the like to make devices that access Rovi-indexed data on TV shows, movies, and music via voice. Nuance's mobile voice and language-understanding platforms ship on millions of devices, including televisions, PCs, tablets and mobile handsets.

But they aren't telling us anywhere to find it yet. Their unveiling didn't outline any manufacturers -- big or small -- who had signed up for the product.

But their partnership could open the door to voice-activated entertainment content on any device. So start watching what you say around your electronics. They could soon be listening.