Amazon Fire TV to get hands-free features through paired Alexa devices
If you have Amazon Fire TV and other Alexa-enabled devices like an Echo smart speaker, you can leave your remote aside and go all-voice. With a new update rolling out soon, a host of new hands-free features are going to be added to the Fire TV and you will be able to use it to view calendars or the weather, control menus and also play music.
Many of these smart display-features have been available on the Fire TV earlier thanks to the Amazon voice remote, the new thing here is that you will be able to access this hands-free. All you need to do is to pair an external Alexa-enabled device, like an Amazon Echo to get it to work. The Fire TV Cube, which is not available in India yet, is the only one of Amazon's streaming boxes that has far-field mics to handle hands-free voice controls that are built into the device.
You could have paired Alexa-enabled devices with Fire TVs for hands-free control for years now, but the functionality has been limited till now and has mainly accommodated opening apps, playing movies and shows, searching for content and controlling playback.
The main thing here is that you will be able to turn your TV into something more like an Echo Show smart speaker as you will now be able to ask it to show your calendar, weather and even feed from a compatible internet-connected camera. There are some navigation controls as well that will allow you to verbally scroll left, right or ‘go back'.
Amazon is also adding more music playback features and will let the smart speaker play music from the TV speakers.
Amazon says the new features are rolling out to all Alexa-enabled, Fire TV, and Fire TV Edition devices except the Echo Show and Echo Spot. This includes all Fire TV devices that predate Amazon's voice remote. The functionality will be available in the US, the UK, and Canada, Amazon says. There is no news if this is coming to India yet though.