Samsung’s 2019 TVs will include Google Assistant, reports Variety. Current Samsung TVs are limited to using the company’s own Bixby voice assistant, which significantly lags behind the competition. The new TVs are also expected to produce better sound by automatically adapting the audio to the room they’re in.
It’s not clear exactly how Google Assistant will work on Samsung TVs, but the report suggests it will function similarly to how it does on LG TVs, which added support for both Google Assistant and Alexa in 2018. Voice assistants can be used to control the TV directly (to change the volume or switch inputs for example), to control other Google Assistant compatible devices, or to ask more general queries about topics such as the weather. LG TVs let you access the voice assistant via the TV’s own microphones or else via a paired external smart speaker.
The addition of Google Assistant is a significant shift for Samsung, the world’s biggest seller of TVs. The company is trying to compete with Google and Amazon’s Alexa by installing its own Bixby assistant on everything that Samsung makes, including phones, smart home devices, appliances, and TVs. However, Bixby’s functionality has consistently lagged its competitors. It doesn’t have any support for third party skills (though this is reportedly coming soon), and only recently became available for other manufacturers to build into their hardware. A Bixby smart speaker announced in August is still yet to be released.
Along with Google Assistant support, Samsung’s 2019 TVs are also expected to be able to automatically adapt their sound depending on the room they’re in. Variety points towards a number of patents that Samsung filed last month as supporting evidence, which include “audio scenic intelligence” and “audio spatial intelligence.” This second patent is described as, “optimizing sound quality depending on the surrounding environment, such as space size and ambient noise.”
Apple’s HomePod and Sonos’ speakers are already capable of something similar, where they play a number of test sounds and measure how they react with a particular room. The HomePod relies on microphones inside the speaker to measure a response, while Sonos uses the microphones in your smartphone to tune its sound.
Although Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment, it’s unlikely that we’ll have long to wait for an official announcement. The company is expected to announce its 2019 TV lineup at the big CES 2019 tech show in January.
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