Arabic-speaking smart TVs to debut in Saudi Arabia

An employee showcases the artificial intelligence functions of the latest LG TV model to a Saudi citizen at a store in Jeddah by speaking into the microphone to interact with the TV. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 25 July 2019

Arabic-speaking smart TVs to debut in Saudi Arabia

  • KSA ‘major market with high demand for premium brands’

SEOUL: The world’s first AI-powered TVs with Arabic voice recognition will debut in Saudi Arabia, South Korea’s LG Electronics has announced.

The new range of AI-focused TV models are the 2019 version of OLED AI ThinQ and NanoCell AI ThinQ. 

ThinQ is the home appliance giant’s latest brand based on built-in AI operating systems that enables users to interact with the TV directly via voice.

“This is the world’s first TV models supporting Arabic voice commands, as we’ve caught the local demands of these kinds of AI-focused language service,” Lee Jong-min, a senior communication manager at LG Electronics in Seoul, told Arab News.

Arab consumers can ask, “What’s the weather like in Jeddah?” or “Let me know the recipe for a kebab,” and the TVs recognize the questions in Arabic and provide related content on the screen, Lee said.

Users can speak into the microphone on the TV remote for a variety of functions, including search, volume control, channel selection, image and sound-quality adjustment.

“Saudi Arabia is an important market for us since there is high demand for premium brands and products with up-to-date technologies in the Kingdom,” the manager said, noting that the Arabic voice-controlled TVs will be subsequently launched in other countries in the region such as Iraq and Jordan.

LG Electronics’ sales representative in the region expressed confidence that the Arabic-customized smart TVs would win the hearts of consumers.

“We’re fully ready to offer never-experienced AI technologies to Arab consumers with TVs having overwhelmingly sharp pictures and Arabic recognition systems,” Lee Jae-seong, executive of sales in the Middle East and Africa, said in a news release.

Besides Arabic, LG TninQ TVs have added the AI-recognized languages of Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Sweden, taking the numbers of language options to 15.

“Users in as many as 140 countries can control LG AI TVs in their own tongue,” the company said in a news release.

LG’s new AI TVs feature built-in support for Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2 and Amazon Alexa. The consumer electronics giant is described as the only TV brand to provide support for both Google and Amazon’s AI assistants without additional hardware.

In recent years, the South Korean TV maker has put a priority on the high-growth potential Middle Eastern market.

In 2017, the company opened its largest overseas brand shop in Iraq and last year the company opened a premium-brand shop in Kuwait.

Currently, LG runs 13 brand shops in the Middle East, including in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the UAE.

185 disabled Saudi children ready for new academic year

Updated 41 min 58 sec ago

185 disabled Saudi children ready for new academic year

RIYADH:  Saudi Arabia’s Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) finished its preparations for the new academic year with the completion of its educational programs aimed at developing children’s mental, cognitive and motor skills.

The DCA’s centers are getting ready to welcome around 185 new students, who will be enrolled in the preparatory and elementary stages. The association is also housing early intervention children in 11 centers throughout the Kingdom.

“The DCA’s centers finished their preparations early in line with the directives of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, chairman of the association’s board of directors,” said Awadh Al-Ghamdi, the DCA’s secretary-general.

He added: “The association is keeping pace with new technologies by developing the educational care system every year. It continuously adopts new methods for children with special needs by providing the centers with what is necessary for the development of linguistic, social and psychological skills.

“The DCA held consultative meetings to approve an implementation mechanism by consulting experts from the educational committee at King Saud University about the importance of establishing an innovative resources room in all of the DCA centers.

Al-Ghamdi said: “The project will be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education after it is judged by specialists from Saudi universities and adopted as part of the association’s initiatives. This comes as a continuation of the DCA’s role in caring for children with special needs for more than 35 years.”

The director of the DCA’s center in Al-Rass governorate presented the project’s original idea, which included reviewing the centers’ educational care programs according to modern educational trends.

A working group, which included a number of specialists, was assigned to the investigation. It presented a final vision to the DCA’s secretariat with a guide to the project’s implementation.