14 Sep Voice Controlled Assistant
The voice controlled assistant is one of the most misunderstood recent technologies that my clients are asking for. There are several products that have become very popular. There are set top cable boxes that utilize voice control. These work best with standalone TVs. When the TV is part of an advanced home theater system the voice controlled assistant provided by the cable box falls short in many important areas. Universal remotes that are normally utilized to control simple and also full featured home theaters don’t recognize the voice controlled assistant. So that means multiple remotes, if you want the cable box voice control feature.
The popular voice controlled assistant products by Google, Apple, and Amazon are fun and convenient as well. If you want to plop one down in your kitchen or home office as a convenience, then go for it. They are great for getting weather and traffic reports, making hands free phone calls, finding out who won the playoff game, and streaming music from the internet. They can be connected with a TV and then provide hands free operation for channel changing, volume, and some other similar functions. Again, unfortunately they will not recognize and control full home theater systems. When streaming music the size and quality of the built-in speaker in the Google Home, or Alexa, is the limiting factor. The sound is generally thin and lacks dimension.
Using a technology called Chromecast will allow an interface between the voice controlled assistant and an existing higher performance music system. So that means you can interface the voice control unit with either a whole house audio system or single room, 2 channel high-end audio systems. Streaming music services like Pandora, Amazon, Spotify, Tune In, and many more will then be available. Again, sound quality is somewhat limited by the compression utilized by the streaming services.
In the final analysis, voice control is a fun toy and convenience, as long as the users expectations are reasonable, and well managed by a professional tech company.