Amazon is expanding what Fire TV users can do with their Echo devices. Starting today, you’ll be able to control your Fire TV from your Amazon Echo device. The company announced that it’s officially rolling out the ability to pair Echo devices with Fire TVs, so users can tell Alexa to “show me an action movie,” or “open Hulu.” Alexa can launch apps, play shows or movies by title / actor / genre, and control video playback. This functionality was first announced last month with a limited rollout, but today it’s available for Fire TV owners in the US. All generations of the streaming hardware are supported.
Alexa can also control TVs with Amazon’s software built in, like the Element 4K Fire TV Edition. People who own that or future Fire TV Edition smart TVs get the ability to control TV settings like volume and input switching. If connected to an HD antenna, users can also change the channel and pause and resume live TV. They can launch the channel guide, too. Amazon says the update will be available to Fire TV Edition TVs “in the coming week.”
You can link your Fire TV to your Echo device through your phone’s Alexa app. It’ll work similarly to Amazon’s Alexa Voice Remote for the Fire TV, just without the actual remote. The update is compatible with all generations of Fire TV and Fire TV Stick in the US.
Amazon also says users will soon be able to view live video feeds from Alexa-compatible smart home cameras on their Fire TV as well. This makes sense, especially if you don’t feel like checking your phone to see who’s at the front door, or if you want to check in on your kids while watching TV in another room.
Generally, all this Fire TV functionality is a long time coming. It’s sort of shocking that we couldn’t control our Fire TV products from Echo devices before now. I’m sure people will use it frequently. Of course, Google already lets its users control their Chromecast through the Google Home, so now Amazon matches that virtual assistant’s level.