Amazon Fire TV Stick makes bid to wee on Google Home's chips with voice-controlled movies and TV plus Alexa's other skills

Google Home loses U from its USP after just two hours

Always wanted to be able to say "Put Breaking Bad on my TV" and have it happen, as if by magic?

One of Google Home's selling points over Amazon Echo was that it added voice control of Netflix (and certain other video services, via third-party apps) when it launched in the UK, two hours ago. (opens in new tab)

However, by a bizarre coincidence, Amazon also started mailing out its new Fire TV Stick today (pre-orders began last month), and is also issuing an upgrade for existing Fire TV Sticks and the larger Fire TV and Fire TV 4K boxes – you can add voice control via the Fire TV mobile app, or by splashing out £20 on a new remote with a mic for it, if you prefer to rick your futuristic control methods in an old-school way. 

Can you guess what the upgrade does?

Yes, it adds Alexa voice control to all those devices, so you can search for shows and movies, watch shows and movies and even rewind and fast forward shows and movies. 

Now, curiously, this video functionality is ONLY on Fire devices, so if you have an Amazon Echo and a Fire TV, you can't issue instructions to the former and have them carried out on the latter. But on balance, that's not such a big deal. 

Alexa isn't just for scouring Netflix, Amazon, iPlayer et al for content, either. Most of Echo's capabilities and 'Skills' (third-party apps) are now accessible via Fire TV devices, with the likes of weather and sports scores gaining a visual element.

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."