Anyone who’s ever used the latest speech recognition technologies with a plain old microphone will tell you that the results can be surprisingly good, as long as you stay close to the mic, have no background noise and turn the mic off when you’re not speaking.
But if you wanted to place a mic under your TV and have it listen to you while the TV is on, then good luck! The mic won’t be able to hear you over the TV audio and worse still, the TV content will trigger the speech recognition causing it to execute all sorts of spurious commands.
Well that’s now changed. There are several audio “smarts” built into Microsoft’s Kinect game controller that allow it to sit next to a TV and make speech recognition possible at a range of several meters! I’ve made a couple of videos that show just such a scenario:
I think the Kinect video capabilities such as skeletal tracking and depth sensing have tended to overshadow the audio capabilities of the unit. From my experience with Kinect so far, I think its audio smarts are seriously impressive.