CES: Universal Electronics powers AirTV voice remote; touts WOW, Huawei deals

AirTV's player and Bluetooth voice remote. (Image: AirTV)(AirTV / Dish Network)

LAS VEGAS—After helping Comcast establish the voice remote as an essential component of the X1 platform, remote-control specialist Universal Electronics is working with other operators on voice search and discovery solutions.

The company announced that it is supplying the Bluetooth Low-Energy voice remote for Dish Network’s new AirTV platform. Just introduced, AirTV combines over-the-air reception of local channels with virtual pay-tv service Sling TV and SVOD service Netflix.

The voice remote includes Universal Electronics’ proprietary setup feature QuickSet Cloud. It also has dedicated buttons for Sling TV, Netflix and Google.

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“Voice remote technology started with Comcast, but it’s evolving beyond Comcast,” said Lou Hughes, COO of Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI). “It won’t be very long until every subscription broadcaster has voice search.”

UEI’s proprietary QuickSet Cloud technology, meanwhile, enables remotes to recognize any brand of connected audio or video equipment. It’s found in Samsung TVs. “Plug an HDMI cable into a Samsung TV, and the TV will automatically recognize the device and take it over,” Hughes added. “It automates the set-up process using all the meta data that already exists, as well as the device markers that already exist with remote codes.”

Santa Ana, California-based UEI said QuickSet Cloud has just been integrated into the new Porsche-designed Huawei Mate 9 smartphone, enabling the device to be used as a controller for home-entertainment devices. 

Today will mark the 30th straight year in which UEI has set up a booth at CES. The company will also use the show to tout a new deal with WOW!—the operator has selected UEI to develop and manufacture a new remote for its Ultra whole-home DVR platform.