Alexa lastly listens for Fireplace TV. It was definitely worth the wait

Amazon added Alexa to its widespread TV-connected streaming gadgets, the Fireplace TV field and Fireplace TV stick, method again in 2015, however it wasn’t the Alexa most individuals know and love. 

As an alternative of having the ability to say, “Alexa, what is the climate?” into skinny air, you needed to converse into the distant whereas holding a button, walkie-talkie type. It labored, however felt far much less futuristic than “actual” Alexa on an Echo speaker.

Now, practically two years later, Fireplace TV homeowners can lastly command their gadgets with a easy “Alexa…” command, with out having to make use of any distant. To take action, it’s important to personal an Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Present speaker. So how does it work?

In brief: very effectively.

I commanded the varied presently appropriate Fireplace TV gadgets — a $40 Fireplace TV stick, a $90 Fireplace TV field and an Aspect Fireplace TV version tv (beginning at $450) — with simply my voice, hands-free, and got here away impressed. I discovered that like many Alexa expertise I needed to get the instructions proper (specifically, bear in mind to say “Alexa” lots and “Fireplace TV” sometimes) however as soon as I acquired the dangle of that, it labored nice. Simply do not throw away the distant simply but.

The Amazon Echo and Echo Dot (spherical thingys) can now management Fireplace TV (sq. and rectangle thingys) and not using a distant.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Setup was a cinch, principally

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Screenshot by David Katzmaier/CNET

As detailed on Amazon’s Use your Alexa system to regulate your Fireplace TV assist web page, my first step was to hyperlink my check Alexa system, an Echo Dot on this case, to my Fireplace TV system. In the event you solely have one Fireplace TV system, Amazon says Alexa can hyperlink them robotically utilizing a voice command, however since I needed to check a number of Fireplace TV gadgets, I needed to hyperlink them utilizing the Alexa app.

Linked gadgets need to be registered to the identical Amazon account, and every Alexa system can solely management a single Fireplace TV on the identical Wi-Fi community. The reasoning, I am guessing, is so you possibly can simply say, “Fireplace TV,” as a substitute of a novel identify corresponding to “lounge Fireplace TV” or no matter.

The Fireplace TV field and tv I examined linked advantageous, however I did encounter one difficulty with each of the Fireplace TV Sticks. Regardless of showing to be linked, and having the newest software program in keeping with the menus, each did not work with Alexa. As an alternative my Dot issued responses corresponding to, “I had bother speaking together with your system. Verify its community connection and energy provide,” or, “Sorry, I could not launch House.” 

I requested Amazon’s rep for assist they usually have been capable of repair the issue. Their rationalization: “Sometimes, it takes gadgets that are not used frequently a day or two to obtain new software program updates. That appears to have been the case together with your Fireplace TV sticks. Clients who’re operating into this downside, can both contact Amazon buyer assist or examine for updates from Settings after which depart the system idle for a number of hours to permit the replace to be put in.”

Here is what I requested Alexa and the way the Fireplace TV responded. Normally, fortunately, I simply needed to say “Alexa, ___” not “Alexa, ___ on Fireplace TV.”

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Sarah Tew/CNET

What labored

  • “House” or “Go residence” returned to Fireplace TV residence web page.
  • “Launch Netflix” and “Launch Hulu” launched these apps.
  • “Play ‘Clear'” and “Play ‘Manchester by the Sea'” instantly began taking part in the newest episode of the Amazon unique present and the film.
  • “Discover Tom Hanks” and “Discover Maggie Gyllenhaal” pulled up search outcomes lists of the actors’ names.
  • “Films about canines” and “Reveals about hackers” led to related search outcomes showing.
  • “Hackers” — the film from 1995 appeared.
  • “Pause,” “Cease,” “Play,” “Rewind” and “Quick-forward” all labored advantageous.
  • “Skip ahead/again X seconds/minutes,” the place X is a quantity, however it labored finest on Amazon’s movies. In Netflix, it would not skip minutes, solely seconds.
  • “Subsequent episode” skipped to the following episode on “Clear.”

What kinda labored

  • “Watch ‘Stranger Issues'” launched a present web page studying “Watch on Netflix.” To start out it watching I needed to say, “Alexa, play.”
  • “Watch ‘Handmaid’s Story'” confirmed search outcomes with the Hulu present and the film, and I had to make use of the distant to pick out one.
  • “Watch season 1, episode 1 of ‘Clear'” performed the Amazon unique, however not the episode I requested for.
  • “Launch Plex” — as a substitute of launching the app on Fireplace TV, she guided me to the Plex Alexa talent. To launch the app itself I needed to say “Launch Plex on Fireplace TV,” which labored advantageous.

What did not work

  • “Watch Fireplace TV” is meant to activate the TV and swap to the precise enter utilizing HDMI CEC, a command protocol, however it did not work on the CEC-enabled TVs I attempted.
  • “Subsequent episode” when watching “Handmaid’s Story” on Hulu or “Stranger Issues” on Netflix, nothing occurred.

I additionally tried a bunch of stuff that is not formally supported, like navigations command corresponding to “Proper,” “Left,” “Again,” “Choose” “Menu,” and so forth, however they did not work. I needed to resort to the distant. I additionally wasn’t shocked when stuff like “Flip off Fireplace TV,” “Quantity Up,” and “Mute,” did not work. Till I attempted them on an precise Fireplace TV, that’s.

What labored on an Aspect Fireplace TV Version tv

The entire instructions above have been examined with a Fireplace TV Stick and Fireplace TV field, however Amazon’s new Fireplace TV Version televisions permit much more Alexa voice management. Here is what labored on the one I examined:

  • “Activate Fireplace TV” and “Flip off Fireplace TV.”
  • “Quantity up on Fireplace TV” and “Quantity down on Fireplace TV” which elevated and decreased in increments of 5 %.
  • “Mute Fireplace TV.” 
  • “Swap to PlayStation” and “Swap to HDMI 1.”
  • “Watch NBC on Fireplace TV” tuned to the antenna channel.
  • “Open TV Information” referred to as up this system information for antenna channels.
  • “Pause,” “Cease,” “Play,” “Rewind” and “Quick-forward” labored on the antenna enter to regulate stay TV.

It might need been too lengthy in coming, however now that it is right here, voice management of Fireplace TV with out having to make use of the distant is fairly nice. You will in all probability nonetheless have to preserve the clicker round for some duties, however for a lot of others the system lastly fulfills the promise of TV management through voice in a satisfying method: getting what you need by talking into skinny air. 

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