Amazon has announced that you can now pair your Fire TV with any Echo device “for far-field voice control”. The Alexa voice system has also learned new tricks and will soon do even more.
Alexa is “always getting smarter”
Pairing an Echo and Fire TV should make it easier to find new content just by using your voice, says Amazon. Now you simply engage the Alexa voice system by saying “Alexa” followed by a request. The microphones in your Echo devices will pick up what you said and make Fire TV comply.
- “Alexa is built in the cloud and always getting smarter, and these new Fire TV features are the latest way that Alexa is making it simple for you to enjoy and control your living room entertainment,” said Marc Whitten, Vice President, Amazon Fire TV. “Simply ask Alexa to play your favorite show, or keep an eye on your kids’ playroom during movie night, right from the comfort of your couch. This is just the beginning and we’ll continue to create new ways to simplify the way you interact with your TV—we can’t wait to see what customers think.”
Here are some of the things you can say to Alexa:
“Alexa, show me comedies on Fire TV”
“Alexa, watch Bosch”
“Alexa, show me action movies”
“Alexa, go home”
“Alexa, open Hulu”
Currently, it appears that Alexa integrates only with the Amazon Prime Video service but the company says that “companies like DISH, Netgem, and YouView are already working on integrating their services”.
Competing manufacturers are also working on integrating voice assistants into TVs. Google Assistant will soon arrive on Android TVs and Apple TV offers Siri. Apple is expected to expand Siri integration with Apple TV later this year with the release of tvOS 11 and the launch of the HomePod speaker. Sony has implemented Amazon’s Alexa into its Android TV.
Change the channel, watch camera feeds
Besides controlling the Fire TV boxes via the Echo microphones, Alexa will also soon control ‘Fire TV Edition’ Smart TVs from partners.
This will allow you to use voice commands such as:
“Alexa, turn on Fire TV”
“Alexa, tune to FOX”
“Alexa, tune to NBC”
“Alexa, switch to HDMI one”
“Alexa, mute the volume on Fire TV”
‘Fire TV Edition’ TVs are available from Westinghouse and Element.
In addition, Amazon says that integration with smart home cameras is “coming soon”. Partners include Ring, Arlo, Nest, EZVIZ, Vivint Smart Home, Amcrest, Logitech, and August.
Amazon says that if you have only one Fire TV, getting started is as easy as asking Alexa a question that includes Fire TV. For example “Alexa, watch The Grand Tour on Fire TV”.
If you own more than one Fire TV you can use the Alexa app to pair the devices. You can pair any Echo with any Fire TV.
The new Alexa features are available to customers in the US now, and are coming to owners of ‘Fire TV Edition’ smart TVs within the coming week. Amazon Echo is available starting at $50 dollars and Fire TV is available starting at $40 dollars.