Alexa … can we cut the cord yet?
Alexa’s ongoing quest to become queen bee in the smart home shows no signs of slowing down. The voice-activated assistant is already able to control an interior environment (thermostats, lights etc.). Now Alexa will be equipped to handle everything on the primary screen in your house.
Amazon announced that over 75 apps accessed via its streaming devices (Fire TV or Fire Stick) will have voice-enabled capabilities. Customers who own either of the devices will get an automatic update over-the-air. This update will allow them to search for specific entertainment or recommendations on streaming apps such as Netflix or HBO Go by speaking into the Fire TV Voice Remote.
“With support for universal search across more apps and content providers than any other streaming media player, Fire TV makes it easy to find and watch your favorite TV shows and movies,” said Amazon. “In addition, if a TV show or movie is available on multiple apps, Fire TV will now show you viewing options—watch, stream, rent, or purchase—so you can choose an app or channel based on convenience and value.”
The Amazon Fire TV box is one of the more popular streaming devices on the market, delivering picture quality up to 4K Ultra HD. The Fire Stick is capable of streaming HD video at 1080p from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.
“At Netflix, we are always seeking new ways to help connect people with stories they’ll love,” said Netflix’s vice president of device partner ecosystem Scott Mirer, in an Amazon press release.
Alexa … Cut To The Chase
Alexa is the key to Fire TV’s increased functionality in the smart home.
Alexa-enabled support for Amazon Video will mean that people will be able to advance, rewind or pause streamed content just though using their voice. For example, you can tell Alexa to fast forward if you don’t want to watch the “previously on …” lead in to a TV episode or go directly to the next episode during a binge watch.amazon_fire_alexa
Subscribers to popular steaming services will see all their personalized recommendations on the Fire TV home page without the need to launch multiple apps. Custom rows for each service will display what is new on multiple apps or channels, Amazon said.
In addition, you can now ask Alexa for scores or game information from favorite sports teams just by asking her to “give me my sports update” … provided that you have taken a few seconds to enable that skill on the Alexa app.
“Customers have told us they love having access to the wide selection of apps, games, and Alexa skills on Amazon Fire TV, and they love how easy it is to find their favorite shows with universal voice search,” said Amazon Fire TV’s vice president Mark Whitten. “Now, we’re making it easier than ever for customers to find their favorite content with universal voice search across 75 apps and channels, and a new, simple way to see recommendations from Netflix, HBO GO, and HBO NOW right on the home screen.”