Amazon has unveiled new features for Alexa that enable the voice-activated virtual assistant to control Fire TV features and functions in-home, according to a company press release.
Fire TV users can ask Alexa through any Echo device to do things like play a video or launch an app within Fire TV, and control video playback and other functions. Amazon also plans to integrate Fire TV and Alexa with in-home smart cameras so Fire TV users can ask the assistant to show footage from a specific in-home camera.
The Alexa-Fire TV integration is now available for customers in the U.S. on all generations of Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. U.S.-based owners of the new Fire TV Edition smart TVs will have far-field control via Alexa available to them within the coming week, while the e-commerce giant said smart home camera support is “coming soon” on all Fire TVs and second generation Fire TV Sticks in the U.S.
The move is a logical step in Amazon's progression of Alexa integrations. The company launched a Video Skill API for developers in June that was intended to help build skills that would allow Alexa to control video content, making it seem like Amazon planned to leverage this capability all along.
It's worth noting that the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick already had a voice-activated remote control capability that either pre-dated Alexa, or arrived at a time when she was still just a wee virtual assistant learning how to do the simple things. However, a voice capability in the remote itself has always seemed a bit of an odd, redundant juxtaposition, and having voice control in an Echo sitting elsewhere in the same room makes a lot more sense.
This announcement also follows reports a couple of months ago that Amazon was planning to introduce a shopping app on its Fire TV offerings that would allow users to shop through their TVs from home. While Amazon has made no mention in this announcement of Alexa initiating shopping searches and functions through Fire TV, it wouldn't be out of the question for this functionality to follow shortly.
Maybe that's on the roadmap. Video playback and smart camera control are nice, be what consumers really want to do is shop.