TiVo DVRs Get `Alexa Skill’ For Voice Control
Owners of TiVo’s BOLT, Roamio and Premiere DVRs will find their devices can be upgraded beginning this week to include a “TiVo skill” supporting Amazon Alexa AI voice control through a connection with an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot or Echo Plus far-filed speaker.
The integration will enable owners of TiVo boxes including TiVo series 4, 5 and 6, BOLT, Roamio and BOLT Vox to control various functions of the TiVo DVR using only their voice. The integration is expected by June 1.
Amazon Alexa will enable users to ask Alexa to change the channel, “Alexa, watch CBS,” or launch a streaming app, “Alexa, open Netflix.”
In addition voice commands can be used to skip commercials for SkipMode enabled shows, by saying, “Alexa, skip commercials” or to manage simple media controls like play, pause, fast-forward or go back, which jumps back eight seconds in programming.
The addition of Alexa voice control follows a similar announcement last Fall that new TiVo BOLT Vox and Mini Vox DVRs would add voice-powered remote control via what TiVo called “Vox Remote.”
Ironically, the Alexa announcement comes as TiVo is selling off its standalone DVR-box business to an as-yet-unnamed third-party manufacturer and marketer, leaving TiVo to handle the software portion of the business.
TiVo will continue to sell its DVRs direct to consumers through its web site, but distribution to other retailers like Amazon and Best Buy.com, will be handled by the new partner.
Enrique Rodriguez, TiVo’s president and CEO, said the company’s recent Q1 earnings call that TiVo will no longer produce or contract directly for the manufacturing of TiVo’s retail devices.
Consumers aren’t expected to see any appreciable difference in how TiVo products are sold. The TiVo brand will remain intact and the products will continue to run TiVo’s popular software, user interface and program channel grid.
The change follows TiVo’s previous move in the cable multi-system operator (MSO) end of its business, where the company stopped producing set-top hardware and instead supplied cable systems with its software and interface for boxes manufactured by Arris.
By Greg Tarr
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