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Set-top box serves as AI assistant at home

Posted August. 22, 2019 09:26,   

Updated August. 22, 2019 09:26


A set-top box (STB), which has often been considered as something to be hidden under the TV, is starting to transform into an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, stereo speaker, and interior item. The utilization of STB has been improved with the development of voice recognition technology and businesses are launching STB that serves as a lifestyle platform with sleek design.

SK Broadband held a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday and announced the launch of its new STB model “AI 2 Set-top Box.” It has been one and a half year since its previous model was unveiled in January last year.

The part where the telecommunications company put its best efforts into is voice recognition. Customers are now looking for a higher level of voice recognition accuracy as they have gotten used to talking to an STB unlike in the early days of its launch, when people thought it was awkward to do so. According to the data collected by SK Broadband, the monthly amount of speech recognized by “B tv” has increased 2.25 times this year compared to last year. In detail, commands regarding channel control, such as channel change took up the biggest share of 47 percent, but everyday life commands, including music, weather, and conversation, amounted to more than 50 percent.

The success rate of voice recognition fell when the speaker left the living room, where the TV is placed. But the new model enables users to make voice commands even from the kitchen. “The average distance between the TV and sofa is two meters and the distance increases to three to four meters if the speaker moves to the kitchen,” said Park Myung-soon, head of the AI business unit at SK Telecom, at the press conference. “The success rate of voice recognition has been increased to more than 90 percent even from a 4-meter distance by installing four microphones.”

From the design point of view, the AI 2 Set-top Box goes well with furniture. Unlike previous models, which were dark and often rectangle-shaped or cylinder-shaped, the new model wears bright-colored fabric.

Efforts to integrate AI into STB are in full swing as it is one of the most frequently used devices in the living room. KT and LG Uplus are also developing STB that serve as a lifestyle platform that provides users with information necessary in everyday life.

Do-Young Kwak now@donga.com