Fire TV owners can now use Alexa on an Echo speaker to do even more things without needing their remote control.
The ability to pair your Amazon Echo with your Fire TV Stick meant true hands-free control over searching and playback (among other things) and was always a handy fall-back for when the inevitable happened and the remote control disappeared.
Amazon is now expanding the features available via an Alexa-enabled device (it doesn’t have to be an Echo, but it does have to be compatible) so you get more of an Echo Show-like experience when you ask Alexa for a weather forecast.
Instead of an audio-only reply through your TV speakers, you’ll now see graphics similar to those on the Echo Show. The same goes for other functions such as your shopping list, video feeds from your security cameras and search results when you ask for nearby Chinese restaurants, say.
If you’ve never used a separate Alexa-enabled device to control your Fire TV, you’ll need to pair them first, but we’ve got a step-by-step guide which explains how do this.
After that, it’s simply a case of saying, “Alexa, show me the weather” or “Alexa, show me pop music stations”. The difference is to include the phrase “show me” instead of just asking “Alexa, what’s the weather”.
Alongside this, Amazon has improved hands-free searching and navigation, just as you can on Fire TV Cube, or a Fire TV Edition TV.
There are various commands you can use to navigate through and select search results, such as “Alexa, scroll right”, “Alexa, select number 2” and “Alexa, go to my Watch List”.
Using hands-free Alexa you can also open specific apps by name.
The updated capabilities should be enabled on your Fire TV over the next week or so. Note that you can’t use an Echo Show or an Echo Spot: it must be an Echo speaker.