Experimental BBC iPlayer tech adds voice recognition

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The BBC likes to innovate and, when it can’t, it does its best to catch up. A good case in point is its new voice recognition software for iPlayer.

Rather than just being a Siri-cum-Alexa command line interface, the BBC are allowing iPlayer users to register their voice as their password, logging them into the service by listening in to see who is issuing instructions.

What this really reminds us of is how the iPlayer will soon expect users to prove they have a TV license before they can watch it. We’re sure some folk will complain about this, but there’s no real argument.

While this experimental tech is just one of many new ideas bubbling away at BBC R&D, it’s a particularly appealing notion, as has been proven by the historical popularity of the remote control.

The system won’t be perfect until TV sets change channels and volume simply by reading the intention of their viewers, but if you are lucky enough to have the voice, then speaking can be a far nicer, more natural interface than pushing buttons.

And no, we don’t think there’s any need to be paranoid. A TV set that records and transmits your conversations isn’t the inherent outcome here, just a specific add-on by certain manufacturers who probably should know better.