“Alexa, turn on my Living Room TV”. Owners of 2017 and some 2016 Sony Android TVs can now control their TV with Amazon Echo just by speaking commands. Alexa integration arrives before Google Assistant. Echo support is also coming to Amazon FireTV devices.
Alexa on your Android TV
The latest firmware update for Sony’s 2017 Android TVs and select 2016 Android TVs enable them to connect with Amazon’s Alexa-based Echo products.
Sony explains that Alexa can perform basic TV functions “such as controlling the TV power, volume, play/pause/stop/fast forward controls, switch inputs and change channels”. You can also say things like “Alexa, turn on my Living Room TV” or “Alexa, set the volume to 60 on my Kitchen TV”.
- “This is a great example of Sony’s commitment to delivering new, innovative technologies and offering customers a choice of how they want to interact with their TVs,” said Mike Fasulo, President and COO of Sony Electronics. “Amazon Alexa compatibility works today with Sony 4K HDR televisions and Amazon Alexa devices such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Show and Echo Dot that consumers may already have at home.”
To link your Android TV to your Amazon Echo look for the ‘TV Control Setup with Amazon Alexa’ app on the Home screen. It should automatically appear, says Sony. It works with 2017 Sony Android TVs as well as 2016 Android TVs launched in the second half of 2016. Sony has a technical support page here.
Notably, Alexa integration arrives before Google Assistant integration, despite Sony and Google’s close partnership. Google is working on integrating its voice assistant with Android TV devices as well as integrating the Google Home speaker with Android TV. The latter has already been enabled on Chromecast. Apple recently announced a Siri-enabled home speaker with HomePod. It will not launch until December 2017 and the company has promised to announce more details later. One feature could be integration with Apple TV and tvOS.
Future updates are planned to increase functionality and interactivity, said Sony. The will hopefully include the ability to launch apps.
Use Echo to control your FireTV
Amazon will roll out similar functionality for its FireTV devices to allow you to use Alexa voice commands through your Amazon Echo products.
The news was first reported by Android Police but Amazon has since removed references to the new features on its support page. It appears that you will have to wait a little longer for the software to be released.
FireTV devices already have Alexa integrated but via the always-on Echo products you will no longer need to hold the remote in your hand. You can simply speak commands.