Samsung has confirmed the rumor. The 2019 TVs will gain support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice commands but only in limited form. Bixby has also learned new tricks.
Multiple TV voice assistants
Bixby still has a job. Samsung’s acquired voice assistant will continue to form the basis for the TV’s integrated voice functionality and the remote control’s built-in microphone.
Samsung will add support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa but you need an external device such as an Amazon Echo og Google Home. Via these external devices you give commands to control basic TV functions such as turning on/off your TV or launch apps.
- ”Thanks to their open ecosystem, 2019 Smart TVs are able to have seamless interactions with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Users can navigate a range of simple operations such as turning the power on/off, controlling the volume, changing channels and launching apps all with their pre-existing voice assistant,” said Samsung.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa will be supported in the 2019 Samsung TVs. The company has not announced plans to bring the voice assistants to previous TVs, despite these running on the same Tizen operating system, although older versions.
Enable Bixby in English
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa both have limited language support but Samsung says that you should be able to use it in English to control a Samsung TV even in non-English speaking countries.
As for the company’s Bixby voice assistant it is also limited to a few countries and languages. It will debut in version 2.0 with the 2019 TVs, promising a more conversational approach with faster responses. Starting in 2019, Bixby will be a separate setting in the menu enabling users to set it independently of the user interface language and thus use it in English - although with some limitations in functionality.
At CES 2019, Apple and Samsung also announced that Airplay 2 is coming to Samsung TVs, and Apple is saying that it will enable users to use Siri voice commands via en iPhone/iPad to find content on the TV screen.