SAN FRANCISCO — Comcast today announced Talking Guide, a feature that lets you talk to your cable box to search for shows to watch.

For example, you can ask the system when your favorite sports team is going to play, and the X1 operating system will answer you and give you the schedule of the next televised game.

Comcast says its Talking Guide will launch in the next few weeks.

The talking guide will be especially useful to the vision-impaired, or to people who may have trouble reading in English. Users will be able to hit the “A” key on their remote control to turn on voice guidance, and the system will give them cues on how to navigate through a series of simple menus.

If you’ve been reading characters off a computer screen all day, as many of us do, communicating with your TV via voice might be a welcome change. That’s probably why Amazon included such a voice feature in its Fire TV set-top box earlier this year.

A new smart home platform?

At a press event in San Francisco, Comcast’s CEO also talked about other features his company is working on, the most interesting of which involves a smart home service.

The company says it’s building an integrated platform that can connect with the Comcast app and with connected devices ranging from smart thermometers to tablet PCs. This new platform will use an app to control more and more experiences in the home.

The question now is how far Comcast will stray from entertainment and into home automation features like security.

IFTTT integration

Comcast also announced that it has integrated its X1 video platform with the IFTTT consumer tech integration tool.

So users can set up a trigger that notifies the viewer via a message on the TV that the temperature has dropped below freezing, for example. Or a specific TV show could be programmed to play at a specific time each day.
The cable giant is also partnering with some other companies on integration using IFTTT. Those partners include Jawbone (to notify you when you’ve hit your step goal), or ESPN (to notify you when your team scores a goal), or Audi (to notify you when your spouse’s car has left the parking lot at work).

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