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Google Glass, the New TV Remote Control?

Google Glass headgear is expensive and hard to obtain -- not to mention odd looking -- but such wearable computing devices could one day evolve into a natural way to interact with content on a big-screen TV.

In a new project, Dutch telecommunications provider KPN teamed with consulting firm Accenture to develop a proof-of-concept demo using Google Glass for a series of interactive TV applications. While the wearable technology is not yet developed as a commercial product, the companies said they're actively exploring the potential of letting viewers use such tech to control their TVs using voice-activated commands and access info related to the programming.

"It's actually quite surreal," KPN director of TV Diederik Rosenbaum said in a video about the project. "I like the way it allows me to interact with TV, being able to watch TV on a big screen and simultaneously being able to see extra information on the Google Glasses."

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Several pay-TV providers and connected-TV devices (including Google's Chromecast) already offer smartphone and tablet apps for navigating and displaying content on TV. The Google Glass demo takes it a step further.

KPN and Accenture are demonstrating the Google Glass proof-of-concept this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The demo shows three example applications: remote control, which gives Google Glass users the ability to control TV functions like channel, program and program preview selection, plus fast forward/rewind; a "second screen" app, which lets viewers access an real-time information (such as sports stats) while watching programs; and TV Everywhere, which provides on-demand access to video content on Google Glass devices.

"We are constantly looking for differentiating services we can offer to our subscribers," said KPN's Rosenbaum.

Google Glass devices cost $1,500 apiece, and they are still far from becoming a mainstream product. The headgear is still in a limited release; late last year the company expanded the invite-only beta program to up to 40,000 users.

Research has shown video is a popular service on the glasses. More than half of browsing time (54%) among Google Glass users is spent on media and entertainment content -- the biggest single category, according to an Adobe Systems study released this month. Tech sites were second with 21% of time spent viewing on Google Glass.

Watch the video of KPN's Google Glass demo, produced by Accenture:

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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