Amazon is introducing a handful of new Alexa-powered features to its Fire TV this week, with users now able to open apps, search for content, and even play videos — all using nothing more than their voice.
The Internet giant’s streaming media device will let users vocalize instructions to the Fire TV’s voice-controlled remote — like “Launch Hulu” or “Open Amazon Video.” They can then say, “Play the Man in the High Castle” or request whatever movie or TV show they want.
What’s perhaps most notable here is that Amazon hasn’t restricted its voice-search functionality to its own services — it will work across HBO Go, Hulu, Showtime, Starz, and more. The new software will be landing via an over-the-air (OTA) update “in the coming weeks,” says Amazon.
Other voice-enabled features rolling out on Fire TV this week include the ability to seek out local movie showings by asking “What movies are playing nearby?” or find restaurants by asking “What Chinese restaurants are near me?” Additionally, you can request ebook readings from your Kindle library through Alexa, which will use text-to-speech technology rather than serving up audio books.
Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices leverage the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT), which is setting out to create smart interconnected homes. Alexa relies on third-party integrations to maximize its usefulness, and you can also do things like play music through Spotify and access your bank account with your voice.