The two leaders in their TV fields ('luxury multi-channel, multi-room super satellite' and 'plug-and-play streamer', respectively) Sky and Amazon today announced small but significant upgrades for Sky Q and Fire TV respectively.
From today, you can control Amazon Fire TV not just with its voice-control mic, but also from any Echo device. In other words you can yell, "Play The Tick!" and it shall appear, as if by magic. This brings Echo in line with Google Home, which has allowed voice control of Play Video since its launch.
Amazon also suggests you might want to say things such as, “Alexa, pause”, “Alexa, fast forward 2 minutes”, “Alexa, go back 1 minute” and most obvious and universal of all, “Alexa, show me dramas with Titus Welliver, whoever he is.”
The upgrade also allows you to view compatible security cameras on your TV, using your voice and your Echo. There are not very many compatible cameras at present, but the number will doubtless increase.
If you have one Fire TV, your Echo device/s will automatically pair as soon as you give Alexa any Fire TV-related instructions. Those with more than one Fire TV will need to use the app to pair devices.
Meanwhile over in the Sky Bunker, Q will support Spotify from spring – tying in nicely with Sky's excellent Devialet soundbar. That'll be via both the Sky Q homepage and Spotify's app
Sky also crows that its 4K content will double in quantity during the course of 2018, with over 1,000 hours available. HDR will also officially launch on the service.
There'll also be more personalised choices based on hat you and your household have viewed in the past, a new, widescreen, user interface and an upgraded Kids mode that'll be "one of the safest and fun places for kids to watch TV."