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Smart Home

7 awesome Alexa skills for the Echo Show

Alexa skills are part of what make Amazon's speakers so useful. But these skills are better with a screen.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Last year, Amazon released two new Alexa speakers that had a feature no other smart speaker had before: a touchscreen. This blew the possibilities of dedicated digital assistants wide open and breathed new life into the already blossoming world of Alexa skills.

With over 25,000 Alexa skills available today, only some of them take advantage of the displays on the Echo Show and Echo Spot. Here are some of the best.

Fandango

It's one thing to ask your Alexa speaker about upcoming movies or for showing times and having it read everything back to you, one item at a time. It's something else altogether when you can ask for that and swipe through all the theaters and showtimes available.

With the Fandango skill, you can not only look up (and display) showtimes, but you can purchase tickets from the skill, provided you have a Fandango VIP account.

Twitch

Since Twitch is under the Amazon umbrella, the Twitch skill has been updated to take full advantage of a display. Just link your Twitch account (by going to Skills, searching for "Twitch" and selecting Settings) and you can browse Twitch by channels you follow, popular channels or popular games.

Follow the voice prompts and you can watch Twitch streams directly from the Echo Show or Echo Spot.

Jeopardy!

The Jeopardy! skill is great, even if it's audio-only from other Alexa speakers. But being given a visual element definitely helps make it feel more like the real thing. Each clue you're given is displayed on a blue screen with white text, just like the clues in the real show. Just don't forget to give your answers in the form of a question.

Allrecipes

Having an Alexa speaker in the kitchen delivering recipe ideas to you -- hands-free -- is an entirely novel thing in and of itself. When you add a visual element to it, it almost feels like you're living in the future.

With the Allrecipes skill, Alexa will not only deliver recipe ideas for certain ingredients, it will give you pictures to go along with them. But that's just the beginning. It will list all the ingredients needed and give you a step-by-step visual guide to help you while you cook.

Similarly, Food Network will show you recipe ideas, tell you what's currently playing on television. These are easily one of the best use cases for an Alexa speaker with a display, bar none.

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Nest Camera

If you have Nest cameras around your home, you can use the Nest Camera skill to display those feeds directly on the screen of your Echo Show or Echo Spot. After you've linked your Nest account, just say, "Alexa, show the feed from the back yard."

Ring

The same goes for Ring Video Doorbell skill. If you have a video doorbell installed by your front door, you can just say, "Alexa, show my front door camera."

While this skill will only work with the Echo Spot and Echo Show speakers, it will also work with the Alexa app on your iPhone or Android device.

Kayak

The Kayak skill is great for getting quick, hands-free price estimates for trips. You can ask how much it will cost you to fly from Charlotte to Portland or where $500 can get you. But getting those results in a verbal list can sometimes feel overwhelming and hard to process.

With the Echo Show or Spot, Kayak will show you a short list for your query, which makes the skill all the more useful.