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.
- Fuller details are here, but you get the gist. (opens in new tab)