Your smart TV may soon get a little smarter, thanks to artificial intelligence.
At this year’s CES trade show, three different television manufacturers announced plans to add AI to some of their sets – albeit for different purposes.
LG and Sony are adding Google Assistant, the search giant’s voice computing technology, to some of their TVs. Instead of fumbling to find the right button on a remote, users will be able to change channels, fire up their game consoles, or view photos by just speaking commands to their TVs.
Meanwhile, Samsung is using AI to improve how lower-resolution images look on its new line of high-end 8K televisions.
Check out how AI will fit into TVs of the not-too-distant-future.
On LG’s line of Google Assistant-powered TVs, you’ll be able to change the channel or switch to a specific show using your voice.
You’ll be able to ask your TV for information about the video you’re watching, such as the name of an actor in it.
You’ll be able to ask the TV for sports scores and other information without having to launch a separate app.
You’ll also be able to check the weather without having to remember to say a particular phrase.
And you’ll be able to turn on your music by just talking to your TV.
You’ll be able to get Assistant on the LG TVs to do other cool stuff.
For example, when you’re running on a treadmill, you’ll be able to ask it to show you a video that’s synced to your pace that will make it look like you’re going through a forest.
You’ll be able ask Assistant to show you pictures from your Google Photos account.
You’ll be able to use your TV to control your smart home devices, including connected light bulbs.
And you’ll be able to turn on game consoles and other devices connected to your TV with just your voice.
You’ll even be able to get your TV to turn off as soon as the show you’re watching is over.
Instead of building in a smart assistant, Samsung is using artificial intelligence to make videos look better on its new 8K TVs.
These 8K televisions offer four times the resolution of 4K TVs and 16 times the resolution of regular HD sets. They promise to offer ultrasharp images on jumbo-sized sets. Unfortunately, there’s exceedingly little 8K video around.
Samsung plans to use AI to solve the problem. The electronics giant says it can take 4K, 1080p, and even 720p videos and upscale them using its AI technologies so they appear sharp and detailed on its 8K sets.
The image below, according to Samsung, shows how one such technology, which it calls Edge Enhancement, can make letters, in particular, appear sharper.
It’s not entirely clear exactly when AI-powered TVs will hit store shelves.
LG says only that it will have one of its sets out “soon.” The company demonstrated Google Assistant on its new Signature OLED W8 line.
Still, it isn’t surprising that TV manufacturers are starting to look closely at AI, especially for use in controlling TVs. Users have complained for years about the complexity of TV remotes. Those could eventually become extinct if we only need our voices to control our TVs.