The number of people who use voice control features on their smart TVs and set-top media streamers continues to grow around the world, although the usage percentage remains below 25% of all households, according to a new consumer survey released by IHS Markit this week.

The market research firm said that 22% of Internet users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and India have used available voice-command features to operate their TVs and connected video devices.

Further, the report, entitled “Voice Commands on Video Devices: Content Discovery and Navigation,” indicated that 30% of consumers do not use the voice command features in their products but are interested in using the eventually.

The survey was conducted last November using an online survey of 9,636 Internet users in the previously mentioned countries. The report identified consumer groups that are using voice commands on their TV/video devices and their uptake and usage of devices and video services.

According to the findings, among demographic groups, voice-control usage peaks in the 25-to-34 age group, compared to the universe of adults between 18 and 64. Despite this, manufacturers, content producers and distributors are targeting voice control at all age groups just the same. The study found that older age groups typically stick with traditional methods of content discovery and either have not found or have rejected some of the content discovery features available to them.

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The popularity of voice control AI through devices like smart speakers and more recently voice-powered TVs is becoming increasingly important and growing, IHS Markit found, and is increasingly taken into account by device manufacturers and content producers.

The research firm said content producers are reacting to increased use of voice commands by consumers search for available movies and television programs. In addition, smart televisions with built-in voice control assistant technology are slow being discovered by consumers interesting in device interaction for smart home automation devices.

IHS said simplified content navigation and searching is becoming of increased importance to TV makers and streaming services alike as consumers increasingly look for services with the largest libraries of movies and TV programs. As an essential complement to this is providing the easiest way of finding titles of interest from the thousands of available choices across linear channels, pay-TV video on demand and over-the-top (OTT) streaming apps. That increasingly points to the effectiveness of voice control AI.

IHS said consumers already using voice control for video watching are more likely to own connected living room devices.

In addition to device makers and content producers, TV services have discovered voice control systems to be an effective tool to help reduce subscriber churn, the IHS report found. As a result more and more cable and satellite pay-TV operators are leveraging voice control in set-top boxes while ensuring their content is prioritized over competitive options.

The study said one-in-five video service cancellations is the result of a perceived lack of available content.


By Greg Tarr


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