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Amazon announces new Alexa features for Fire TV

MUMBAI: US and global online retail major and content creator Amazon has announced new Alexa features for Fire TV that make it even easier to control your movies, TV shows, and more using just your voice.

Users will be able to pair any Fire TV with any Echo device and easily control your Fire TV—just ask, and Alexa will start a show, help find a good movie to watch, control playback, and more. In addition, users will soon be able to view live video feeds from their supported smart home camera right from their Fire TV.

“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. 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,” said Amazon Fire TV VP Marc Whitten

Far-field control of Fire TV: Users can now pair any of their Echo devices with Fire TV for control of the entertainment experience using Alexa.

Getting started is easy, explains Amazon: if a user has only one Fire TV, then the Echo device will pair as soon as the user asks Alexa a question that includes Fire TV. For example, “Alexa, watch The Grand Tour on Fire TV” or “Alexa, show me comedies on Fire TV.” If users have more than one Fire TV, then they can use the Alexa app to pair devices. Then, simply ask, and Alexa will launch apps, 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.”

Here are some of the other things users can say to control Fire TV hands-free:

  • “Alexa, watch Bosch”
  • “Alexa, show me action movies”
  • “Alexa, go home”
  • “Alexa, open Hulu”

Far-field control of Fire TV edition Smart TV : In addition to playing shows and movies, launching apps, and controlling video playback, users can also pair their Echo device with the Fire TV Edition smart TV and 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”
  • “Alexa, mute the volume on Fire TV”

Smart home camera support: Coming soon, Amazon will also enable users to use Fire TV to view live video feeds via Alexa from compatible smart home cameras by simply saying “Alexa, show my kitchen camera.”

Users will be able to see who’s at the front door or check on a sleeping baby in the nursery. Smart home camera support on Fire TV works with a range of devices from companies including Ring, Arlo, Nest, EZVIZ, Vivint Smart Home, Amcrest, Logitech, and August.

Alexa Is always getting smarter: This announcement, Amazon said, is the latest example of Alexa always getting smarter and adding new capabilities for home entertainment. 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 Electronics and Logitech Harmony are the first to take advantage of these capabilities, which give customers ultimate voice control over their entertainment systems.

Amazon also last month introduced the Video Skill API, which lets developers build experiences that allow customers to easily find and consume video content using their Amazon Echo or other Alexa devices. Companies like 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.

Availability: Far-field control of Fire TV is available for customers in the US on all generations of Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Customers in the US with the new Fire TV edition smart TVs will have far-field control within the coming week. Smart home camera support is coming soon on all Fire TVs and second generation Fire TV Sticks in the US.