Amazon upgrades Alexa's video API for better binge-watching
A new upgrade to Alexa's video skills API will let you ask her to record shows or launch specific video apps on your smart TV.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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Specifically, that software will now let
record programs with a simple voice command, a la, "Alexa, record the Reds game." New "state" controls should also make it easier for Alexa to distinguish when you're watching something, which lets developers craft skills that let you control what you're watching using simple commands like "Alexa, pause" that don't need any extra, awkward invocation phrasing.
You'll also be able to launch streaming apps and commonly used menu navigations like "home" and "guide" using phrases like, "Alexa, launch Prime Video."
The new controls are based on the same top-level voice controls Amazon uses for
. Amazon says that the new software can handle multiple video skills at once, so simple commands like, "Alexa, play 'La La Land'" shouldn't trip her up just because you've got a couple of video skills enabled. As an Alexa user and a confessed couch potato, I'll certainly look forward to testing that out.
Amazon says that services like Dish, TiVo,
and Verizon are already creating newly refined Alexa controls for their streaming video services, and more stand to follow. Deeper controls could also be coming for Alexa-compatible smart TV sets from brands like
, which added support for Alexa just last month.
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