Nuance Communications has been spreading the wings of its Dragon line of speech recognition software beyond the desktop with products like the Dragon Drive! platform designed for in car use. Now it’s making its way into the living room with its Dragon TV platform giving Panasonic’s 2013 Smart TV line the ability to listen and talk.

When Panasonic unveiled its 2013 Smart TV lineup at CES in January, including its flagship ZT60 series, voice recognition was one of the listed features. Nuance’s announcement that it is its technology under the hood provides more details on just what this means.

Specifically designed for Smart TVs and set-top boxes, Nuance’s Dragon TV platform is designed to allow viewers to control their TV using natural language. Using their voice, users can change channels, control the volume, search the program guide for a particular program or actor, and search the web via the TV’s browser. Voice commands can also be used in the Smart TVs' email, Skype and social media applications.

Conversely, Dragon TV’s text-to-speech capabilities also allows onscreen text such as show synopses and TV menu options to be read aloud – something that should prove handy for those with limited vision or reading skills.

It’s been a while since I personally tried any Dragon speech recognition software, but I'd expect some training of the system is still required to allow it to get a handle on an individual’s speech patterns and accent.

Panasonic’s Dragon TV-enabled LED and plasma Smart TVs will be introduced over the Northern Hemisphere spring.