Apple wants Siri to be more helpful in interacting with the Apple TV 

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Apple wants Siri to be more helpful in interacting with the Apple TV set-top box. The company has been granted a patent (number US 11838579 B2) for “Intelligent Automated Assistant For TV User Interactions.”

About the patent

The patent relates generally to controlling television user interactions and, more specifically, to processing speech for a virtual assistant to control television user interactions.

Intelligent automated assistants (or virtual assistants) such as Siri provide an intuitive interface between users and electronic devices. These assistants can allow users to interact with devices or systems using natural language in spoken and/or text forms. For example, a user can access the services of an electronic device by providing a spoken user input in natural language form to a virtual assistant associated with the electronic device. 

The virtual assistant can perform natural language processing on the spoken user input to infer the user’s intent and operationalize the user’s intent into tasks. The tasks can then be performed by executing one or more functions of the electronic device, and, in some examples, a relevant output can be returned to the user in natural language form.

However, Apple says that while mobile telephones (e.g., smartphones), tablet computers, and the like have benefitted from virtual assistant control, many other user devices lack such convenient control mechanisms. For example, user interactions with media control devices (e.g., televisions, television set-top boxes, cable boxes, gaming devices, streaming media devices, digital video recorders, etc.) can be complicated and difficult to learn. 

What’s more, with the growing sources of media available through such devices (e.g., over-the-air TV, subscription TV service, streaming video services, cable on-demand video services, web-based video services, etc.), it can be cumbersome or even overwhelming for some users to find desired media content to consume. 

As a result, many media control devices can provide an inferior user experience that can be frustrating for many users. Apple wants to change this when it comes to interacting with the Apple TV app on the Apple TV set-top box.

Summary of the patent 

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “Systems and processes are disclosed for controlling television user interactions using a virtual assistant. In an example process, a virtual assistant can interact with a television set-top box to control content shown on a television display.

Speech input for the virtual assistant can be received from a device with a microphone. The speech input can comprise a query associated with content shown on the television display. A user intent of the query can be determined based on one or more of the content shown on the television display and a viewing history of media content. A result of the query can be caused to be displayed based on the determined user intent.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.