AgileTV has secured a $22 million investment to fund the ongoing development and delivery of its voice recognition system for cable television.

The Promptu voice controlled television remote employs network based voice recognition to allow viewers to search for programmes using spoken instructions.

“The cable industry is very focused on solving the challenge of finding
ways to help consumers experience the full array of television programming
available today,” said James Caccavo of Valence Capital Management, the New York based private equity firm that led the investment. “AgileTV’s voice navigation service is the solution. We believe the overall opportunity with the cable industry is very promising.”

Lauder Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has invested in over twenty other cable or interactive TV ventures since 1990, also invested in this funding round.

Promptu employs an extensive, dynamically managed database of more than
100,000 phrases and delivers better than 90 per cent voice recognition accuracy. The response time from a viewer’s voice command to the requested programme appearing on screen is said to be less than a second.

The system is designed to scale from thousands to hundreds of thousands of customers from a single cable headend. The server-centric approach is claimed to be more cost-effective than embedded systems and is compatible with millions of deployed set-top boxes.

Developed and tested with significant input from several leading cable operators and their customers, consumer trials have apparently resulted in a very positive response.

“Our investors see the tremendous potential of voice navigation in delivering a compelling interactive television service that is a competitive differentiator for cable operators,” said Paul Cook, founder and chief executive of AgileTV. “This latest round will help support our continued growth and development as we deploy the service with cable operators.”