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.

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 Bell
Duncan Bell

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years and fitness ever since he became middle aged and realised he could no longer rely solely on his boyish good looks. He 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."
Pre-lockdown Duncan was widely regarded as the best-dressed man ever to work for T3 – admittedly not saying much. Post-lockdown he is looking forward to wearing clothes other than shorts and hoodies again very soon, assuming he can still fit into them. He currently writes about cycling, fitness tech that isn’t too heavy, and all things kitchen and home related.