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.


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister denies Israel meeting reports

Updated 52 min 52 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister denies Israel meeting reports

  • Prince Faisal bin Farhan says no Israeli officials were at meeting between crown prince and Mike Pompeo
  • 'No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.'

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Monday denied that a meeting took place between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli officials.
“I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by @SecPompeo,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a tweet. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the crown prince in NEOM on Saturday evening as part of his regional tour.