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Shaw BlueSky TV offers first voice-controlled video box in Canada

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WATCH ABOVE: Shaw Communications has unveiled BlueSky TV. Global’s Kris Laudien looks at how the platform will change the relationship you have with your tv – Jan 11, 2017

Shaw Communications customers can now ‘say it, then see it’, with the launch of the first premium, voice-controlled TV technology product for Canadians.

On Wednesday, the Calgary-based company unveiled Shaw BlueSky TV, which includes a voice remote to search for content by actor, genre or even movie quotes.

Viewers who are looking for recommendations can ask, “What’s trending?” to activate BlueSky TV’s database of popular selections and what’s trending on social media.

Shaw Communications

The technology is powered by Comcast’s next generation X1 platform, which has proven to be very popular with cable customers in the United States.

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“I don’t think there’s really anything like it right now,” said Vancouver technology expert Mike Agerbo, who has seen demonstrations of the product.

Agerbo also hosts GetConnected TV.

“The Comcast technology is best-in-class in the United States, and so it’s exciting that Shaw is able to bring that into Canada right now,” he added.
Shaw Communications CEO Brad Shaw said the company is excited to be the first to offer voice-controlled video content in Canada.

“Shaw BlueSky TV leverages the strength of our network to make this new television experience possible for Shaw customers,” said Brad Shaw, CEO of Shaw Communications.

Agerbo said while many American cable companies are bleeding subscribers, the BlueSky TV technology has actually helped Comcast get more business.

“With features like the voice remote and advanced search, (this technology) has given Comcast customers a completely different video and entertainment experience than what they’re used to in the home,” said Tony Werner, President of Technology and Product for Comcast Cable.

According to Shaw, BlueSky houses a customer’s content all in one place, regardless of whether a program is airing live, recorded on their PVR, available on-demand or offered through an over-the-top service.

Customers no longer need to remember channel numbers, or scroll through a guide to figure out what to watch.

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The company said while a Netflix interface is not available at this time, it is being considered.

For sports fans, BlueSky TV promises real-time scores, standings, player stats, and the ability to follow their favourite teams.

The KidsZone is filled with age-appropriate content, making it the all-in-one TV experience for kids, while providing parents with peace of mind thanks to the easy-to-use parental controls, and program descriptions written for parents, by parents.

Shaw BlueSky TV’s specialized KidsZone is filled with age-appropriate content, making it the all-in-one TV experience for kids, while providing parents with peace of min. Shaw Communications

“There’s so much choice as far as content out there – which is exciting – but complicated to find what you’re looking for – now you can use your voice to find what you’re looking for, and that’s the easiest way to find anything,” Agerbo said.

He added that BlueSky TV’s voice recognition ability is “just as good as anything out there right now.”

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BlueSky TV is available Shaw customers in Calgary, and will be available in additional markets in the coming months. It is being packaged with WideOpen Internet 150, BlueSky TV and prices start at $99.90 per month for the first 12 months as part of a two-year ValuePlan.

“Shaw BlueSky TV gives Canadians the best television experience available. Simply say what you want, then see it,” said Jay Mehr, President of Shaw Communications.

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