The days of frantically searching for a lost TV remote may soon be coming to an end, at least for Dish customers, as Amazon’s digital brain Alexa can now control Dish DVRs.
For it to work, users will need an internet-connected Hopper or Wally DVR, as well as an Alexa-powered device like the Amazon Echo. After a quick setup, Alexa is then able to navigate, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content based on channel, title, actor or genre.
Alexa’s reach extends across live, recorded and on-demand programs as well as Netflix content. Dish says it is the first TV provider to offer direct compatibility with Alexa.
“Instantly, it’s easier to read player stats on your phone while flipping between basketball games; to chop ingredients in the kitchen while rewinding a TV scene you just missed; to snack on popcorn while searching for your favorite film — the list goes on,” said Niraj Desai, DISH vice president of product management.
In addition to the new Alexa capabilities, Dish also said its Dish Anywhere is now available on all Amazon Fire TV products. That gives users access to all their live and recorded programming through any Amazon Fire TV product.
Alexa has been piling up skills — 12,000 as of April — as well as integrations with third-party devices. Much of that stems from Amazon’s decision to open the digital brain up to developers and device manufacturers in 2015.
Alexa Voice Service lets manufacturers integrate Alexa into their products. The Alexa Skills Kit encourages third-party developers to build skills for Alexa. Developers who want to add to Alexa’s abilities can write code that works with Alexa in the cloud, letting the smart assistant do the heavy lifting of understanding and deciphering spoken commands.