Vizio Will Integrate SoundHound Voice AI Across Smart TV Line
Vizio has announced it will augment most of its smart televisions with SoundHound’s Houndify voice assistant platform. The new arrangement builds on Vizio’s use of SoundHound for its first voice remote last year to a far more significant extent as Vizio is one of the largest TV manufacturers around.
The Vizio Voice Remote released by the TV manufacturer last year was the first to include a microphone button. Pressing the button lets viewers send voice commands by Bluetooth to the smart TV. The Houndify-powered voice assistant handles TV content searches and control on Vizio’s SmartCast platform, as well as pulling local information about weather, sports, and news. The remote was only packaged with couple dozen of Vizio’s V, M, and P Series of 4K televisions. The rollout included adding Vizio Voice to the SmartCast Mobile iOS and Android apps for any TV with SmartCast. Vizio and SoundHound claim the daily voice queries have doubled every quarter since then, which led to the new deal. SoundHound didn’t say exactly which new Vizio TVs will come with the voice remote, only noting it will be the majority of the company’s TVs.
“At Vizio we always strive to deliver the best-in-class television experience to our users. With SoundHound’s technology integrated into Vizio TVs, we are able to make the ease of voice interactions part of the TV experience,” Vizio senior vice president of product engineering David Rudnick said. “Our goal is to always improve the user experience and help consumers find the content they are looking for with simple voice commands. Overall, remotes have never made finding content an easy task, but with voice, users can quickly find the content they want with the complex search technology happening in the background.”
Smart TVs are getting a lot of focus from voice AI companies and television manufacturers of late. For instance, TCL recently picked Disruptel to add a voice assistant to its TVs. Amazon’s Fire TV platform started a renewed voice emphasis using new Amazon-produced Fire TVs. Meanwhile, Google has plans to make TVs the center of its smart home ecosystem. SoundHound has been exploring new options in the space, partnering with Netflix to add a Houndify-powered voice assistant into the streaming service’s Da Vinci Reference Design Kit (RDK). The voice AI developer has been deepening connections with partners like Snap ahead of going public this year after merging with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Archimedes Tech SPAC Partners Co. The deal values SoundHound at $2.1 billion and is expected to bring $244 million in gross proceeds. Vizio, which went public itself last year, is part of that trend growing embrace of voice AI in smart TVs, which could include voice commerce as well as entertainment.
“Vizio has always been at the forefront of providing cutting-edge technology and experiences to its users, so it was natural and seamless to integrate SoundHound’s voice AI technology with their product,” SoundHound co-founder and vice president of products James Hom said. “As voice AI becomes more ubiquitous and a commonly used interface for consumers, we believe there is a big opportunity to extend voice AI into interactive and commerce opportunities.”