Home Theater

How Do You Use Voice Control in the Living Room?

How Do You Use Voice Control in the Living Room?

We’ve got a simple question that might not have such simple answers. Over the last few years we’ve seen a proliferation of voice control technologies. Amazon’s Alexa certainly didn’t invent voice control, but it helped make it something that far more people use on an ordinary basis. While we talk about Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Cortana, a lot around the DMZ when looking at smart home technology, voice control has also made big in-roads in the living room.

Amazon offers Fire TV devices that integrate directly with Alexa. Some Roku streamers have a voice remote. The NVIDIA SHIELD TV can be controlled with your voice. Even TiVo and Comcast offer voice remotes. The Xbox One launched with the Kinect. LG built Google Assistant right into their 2018 televisions, and of course Alexa and Google Assistant speakers can integrate directly with much of the equipment that is already in our entertainment centers.

So the question is: how much do you actually use it? Okay, we lied, we have more than one question. What are you trying to accomplish with voice control? Are you just turning the TV on and off? Do you change inputs on your A/V receiver? How about choosing shows to binge on Netflix? Maybe you’re displaying your video doorbell’s camera feed. Perhaps you can dim the lights in your home theater and close the blinds by uttering “Hey Google, it’s movie time.”

CES starts in just a few days. Last year the show was dominated by Alexa integrations and real-life Google Assistants in dozens of booths. We fully expect the voice control players to be an even bigger presence this year. But will they be offering capabilities you actually want to use?

We want to hear all of your answers to these questions! Please use the comment section below to tell us how you’re using voice control, or why you’re not. Let us know what you wish you could do!


About the author

Josh Pollard

Josh has been writing software since his parents brought home their first computer. His love for gadgets and technology eventually spurred a passion for home theater technology. After starting the DMZ, he received Microsoft’s MVP award for Windows Media Center. Even though the beloved home theater PC platform is all but dead he continues to tinker with consumer entertainment technology. He’s a life-long gamer and DIY smart home enthusiast. He co-hosts the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Richard Gunther and the DMZ’s gaming podcast, Story Players, with Joe DeStazio.