Amazon Fire TV owners will soon be able 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 clunky interface. And if a show or movie is on Amazon Video, users can even just ask Alexa to play that title.
The added skills are a vital improvement to Alexa on the TV. While she has excelled in her original Bluetooth speaker form, her initial TV debut was a bit of a letdown. As some of the most basic uses for a streaming media player, opening apps and playing shows seem like things that should have been included in the initial Alexa rollout. But it took Amazon more than six months to add these features.
Amazon added some not-so-necessary but still-welcome improvements as well. Users can now use their voice to search for information on local businesses and movie showtimes, and can have Alexa read Kindle books through their TV. The Fire TV also now supports YouTube’s 4K library.
The free update will be automatically delivered over the air in the coming weeks to the latest Fire TV hardware.