Amazon is reportedly rolling out a software update for the Fire TV set top boxes and sticks to include Alexa, its voice-activated personal assistant.
According to a report announcing the news, with the update users will be able to control the set top boxes and sticks via voice commands given to Alexa on devices such as the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. The report noted that with the update, users can say playback commands including play, pause, rewind, fast forward and so on. It can also be used to open apps and search Amazon’s catalog of movies and TV shows.
In order for it to work, users will have to pair Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot via the Alexa app. The update, noted the report, works for all its Fire TV devices, including the first generation Fire TV stick.
In June, Amazon announced its virtual assistant has learned to control more than just the company’s own Fire TV stick: Now, for developers that opt to use the Video Skill API, any cable or satellite TV company, streaming service or content provider can add Alexa voice control to its app. Users will be able to say, simply, “Alexa, tune to HBO,” or, “Alexa, play Manchester by the Sea.” They won’t even have to invoke a specific skill. Instead of sending Alexa as the middleman to “ask Dish” to play this or that, they can just ask Alexa to do it herself. She will be cognizant of the services users subscribe to and which shows or movies those providers have available.
Not all developers will choose to update their apps to integrate with Echo and Alexa devices. It remains to be seen whether popular streaming services like Hulu, HBO and Netflix will take the plunge.