Amazon Tuesday announced another wave of updates to its Fire TV platform, with an emphasis on improving integration of the company’s digital brain Alexa.
Amazon expanded voice search to 75 apps and channels, including Netflix. If the requested show or movie is available on multiple apps, Fire TV will give all possible viewing options so people can choose what works for them. The latest update also includes customized recommendations from top providers like Netflix and HBO on the Fire TV main page, saving users from having to search through apps for suggestions on what to watch.
Alexa will now be able to give people updates on their favorite sports teams and perform important remote control functions within the Amazon Video app. Users can say things to Alexa like “skip ahead 2 minutes” to bypass the opening credits or “rewind 30 seconds” to see the big plot twist again.
“Customers have told us they love having access to the wide selection of apps, games, and Alexa skills on Amazon Fire TV, and they love how easy it is to find their favorite shows with universal voice search,” said Marc Whitten, vice president of Amazon Fire TV. “Now, we’re making it easier than ever for customers to find their favorite content with universal voice search across 75 apps and channels, and a new, simple way to see recommendations from Netflix, HBO GO, and HBO NOW right on the home screen.”
The free update is being delivered automatically over the air to Fire TV customers.
Amazon has made several updates to Fire TV after Alexa’s initial TV debut was a bit of a letdown. A previous update in May gave Amazon Fire TV owners the ability to say things like “Open HBO Now” or “Launch Hulu” into their voice remote to open an app without scrolling around the streaming box’s interface. And if a show or movie is on Amazon Video, users can ask Alexa to play that title.