Fire TV Products Add Alexa Far-Field Voice Control Integration
Amazon revealed today that Alexa far-field voice control functions through its Echo and Echo Dot speakers are being added to Amazon Fire TV products, making it possible to link Amazon Echo control speaker/hubs with Fire TV over-the-top streaming media adapters and integrated Fire TV sets.
With the update, Fire TV owners will find it easier to use spoken commands to control the TV to search for and playback content when watching movies, music and programs through their streaming content services.
Amazon said that beginning Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, and with updates continuing through the end of the week, Fire TV users will be able to pair any Fire TV with any Echo device to almost effortlessly control the Fire TV experience. The capabilities are coming to all Fire TV set-top adapters and Fire TV Sticks, as well as new Fire TV Edition Element and Westinghouse-brand smart TVs.
Users need only ask Alexa to aid in the process of finding a movie or TV program to watch. Then, they can speak a command to control playback, and perform other functions without the need to lift a finger.
Read more about the enhanced Alexa voice-control capabilities of Amazon Fire TV products after the jump:
Through the enhanced experience, Fire TV owners also will be able to view live video feeds from a supported smart home camera using the Alex and Fire TV platforms.
“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, Amazon Fire TV VP. “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.”
Amazon said that users with only one Fire TV in the home will soon find that an Echo device will pair as soon as a they Alexa a question about watching the TV.
Relevant questions would include: “Alexa, watch The Grand Tour on Fire TV” or “Alexa, show me comedies on Fire TV.”
Users with more than one Fire TV or Fire TV adapter in the home will find they can use the Alexa app to pair their devices.
For there, a user can ask Alexa to launch apps and play movies or TV shows by title, actor or genre, and control video playback with commands such as “Alexa, play,” “Alexa, pause,” and “Alexa, fast forward.”
Samples of spoken commands that will engage the function include: “Alexa, watch Bosch;”
“Alexa, show me action movies;” “Alexa, go home;” “Alexa, open Hulu;” or “Alexa, open XXX.”
Owners of a new Element or Westinghouse-brand Fire TV Edition integrated set will be able to pair an Echo device with the display to control TV settings including volume and input switching. When connected to an HD antenna, users can also change the channel, pause and resume over-the-air live TV playback, and launch the on-screen channel guide with voice commands including: “Alexa, turn on Fire TV;” “Alexa, tune to FOX;” “Alexa, tune to NBC;” “Alexa, switch to HDMI one;” or “Alexa, mute the volume on Fire TV,” among others.
Amazon said users soon will be able to use the Alexa far-field system with a compatible smart home camera on all Fire TVs and second-generation Fire TV Sticks in the United States. Amazon Fire TVs will be able to present live video feeds from compatible smart home cameras by saying “Alexa, show my kitchen camera.”
This way, users can monitor who is at the front door safely on the TV screen, or to check up on a sleeping baby in the nursery. Amazon said smart home camera support on Fire TV works with a range of devices and brands from companies including Ring, Arlo, EZVIZ, Amcrest, August and others.
Amazon said the new capabilities are merely the latest examples of improvements and enhancements that will help to continuously make Alexa smarter. For example, last month, Amazon introduced new entertainment capabilities as part of the “Smart Home Skill API,” allowing developers to create skills that connect home audio and video devices directly to Alexa entertainment capabilities.
Sony and Logitech Harmony were among the first partners to take advantage of these capabilities.
Amazon last month introduced the “Video Skill API,” which lets developers build experiences that allow customers to easily find and watch video content using an Amazon Echo and other Alexa devices. Amazon said companies including DISH, Netgem, and YouView are already working on integrating their services directly to Alexa video capabilities so that customers can control their content using just their voice.
By Greg Tarr
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