AT&T unveils U-verse 'easy remote' app

AT&T (NYSE: T) today introduced an app for its U-verse TV service that it said will make the experience better--or at least easier--for customers, who can use their iPhone or iPad as a remote control. The new app is also the first offered by a "major TV provider" that lets customers use voice control remote control capabilities, the carrier said in a news release.

Among other things, AT&T said, the Easy Remote App is designed to ease the experience for customers with disabilities such as vision and hearing loss.

"Most Americans rely on their television as a critical source of news and entertainment and it is important that these resources be made accessible for all users," Larry Goldberg, director of WGBH's Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) said in the release.

Among other features, the new remote offers voice-initiated control of channel up, channel down, fast forward, rewind, replay, pause, play, record and go-to-channel functions, as well as a voice command that lets the viewer choose a show by saying the show title or channel number. When connected with an iPhone, a screen reader pronounces TV show and channel information as the consumer scrolls through the programming guide. There is also the ability to use gesture movements to control shows and one-touch access to closed captioning, according to the multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD).

The app was developed by researchers at AT&T Labs. Its voice control functions are powered by AT&T Watson speech recognition technology that uses AT&T's Speech API.

"We're always looking for ways to improve the U-verse TV experience, and we knew this was an area where we could take a big step forward and use our IPTV platform to deliver a better and more accessible TV watching experience for seniors and customers with hearing and vision impairments," Maria Dillard, vice president of U-verse and Video Products for AT&T Home Solutions, said. "Voice command and one-touch access to closed captioning are just a few examples of how AT&T is using universal design to develop innovative technology to improve the TV experience for all customers with and without disabilities."

For more:
- AT&T issued this news release

Related articles:
AT&T launches Facebook app for U-verse TV subscribers
AT&T adds premium TV channels to U-verse apps for iOS
AT&T opening Watson speech recognition APIs to developers

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