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Smart Home

6 essential Amazon Echo tips you'll use every day

Impress your friends with these Alexa commands.

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Alexa can help you set alarms and listen to music with one simple command.

Ian Knighton/CNET

You use your Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon) to play your favorite music and to get updates on the weather, but there's a vast world of skills that can make Amazon's Alexa assistant your new best friend. For example, you probably knew that you could ask Alexa to turn on the lights when you're home, but did you know you can remotely turn the lights off with your Amazon Echo, too?

Read on for six essential tips you'll use on the daily, and check out even more Alexa tips at the end.

Connect your Echo to your smart home devices

First things first, whenever you get a new smart home device, connect it to your Echo (just make sure it's Alexa compatible). This helps you to turn off any lights or plugs you missed while rushing out the door and you can even control your thermostat while away.

After you've got your smart home devices installed and Alexa skills enabled, just say "Alexa, discover my devices."

While you're away from your house, you can open the Alexa app and say "Alexa, turn off the porch light" or "Alexa, turn off the bathroom plug."

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With Alexa, you can crawl in bed and turn the lights off with just your voice.

Ry Crist/CNET

Set an alarm from home or while on the go

Option 1: If you're around your Echo, you can say "Alexa, set an alarm for 6:30 a.m."

Option 2: If you're out of the house and want to set an alarm, go to your Amazon Alexa app menu. Tap Reminders & Alarms > Alarms > Add Alarm. You can also have Alexa wake you up with music.

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Set an alarm on your Echo.

Ian Knighton/CNET

Listen to music, audiobooks and podcasts

Once you have your Amazon account linked to your Echo, you can immediately begin listening to music. However, unless you have Prime or Amazon Music Unlimited, you may run into some songs and artists that aren't available, so it's a good idea to have your other music services linked to your account.

Connect Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn: In the Alexa app menu, tap Settings > Music and select the music service.

Connect to Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, SiriusXM, Tidal, Gimme or Vivo: If you're connecting to one of these, tap Link New Service, select the service and enter your login info.

Connect to Google Play Music or iTunes: If you have one of these two music streaming services, you can only use your Echo as a speaker. You will have to manually select the songs you want to listen to on your phone. Go to your phone's settings and turn on Bluetooth. Then say "Alexa, pair." Select your Echo when it appears on your Bluetooth screen.

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Play games with your friends or kids

This one can be fun if you've got no board games and you're trying to entertain friends or kiddos. Alexa has a ton of games you can play, like Jeopardy, Harry Potter trivia, music games, kids games and many more. You can also play multiplayer games with Amazon Echo buttons.

Just say "Alexa, play a game," or if you know exactly what you want to play, say "Alexa, play [name of game]."

Alexa will explain how to play each game.

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Play multiplayer games with Amazon Echo buttons.

Ry Crist/CNET

Ask for measurement conversions

When you're cooking and need to know how many ounces are in 3 cups, just ask Alexa. You can say "Alexa, how many ounces are in a cup?" and your Echo will immediately give you a conversion.

Find movies playing in theaters near you

Once you have your location set up, Alexa can help you find theaters and showtimes near you.

1. Say "Alexa, which theaters are near me?" to get started.

2. Ask Alexa which movies are playing in the theater you're going to.

3. Ask Alexa what time the movie is playing. For example, "Alexa, what time is Avengers: Endgame playing at Regal Theater today?"

Ready for more Amazon Echo tips? See how to control your smart home devices and how your Amazon Echo can find your phone if you lose it in the house.

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Amazon Echo (2017,Heather Gray Fabric)
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