Amazon's voice-activated virtual assistant can stream your favorite songs, dim your smart lights up and down, or tell you a corny joke -- but controlling what you're watching on your TV has never been her strong suit. Today, however, Amazon is moving to change that with new native software tools that'll help content creators put her to work as a voice remote.
Called the Video Skill API, the new software gives Alexa new vocabulary that'll let her play or pause media, adjust the volume, or search for specific titles, actors or genres. Outside developers can use that software to create their own Alexa skills that'll let you control their content using simple, standardized voice commands.
What's especially cool here is that the Video Skill API claims to keep track of the services you've enabled. That means that you won't need to specify a provider or a device when you want to watch something, and you won't need to tack any extra invocation phrases onto your command. The API features what Amazon describes as "a mechanism to enable catalog ingestion," to help Alexa find what you're looking for, even if it means sifting through multiple services. Translation: Just say, "Alexa, play episodes of 'Family Guy,'" and she'll take it from there.
The API debuts just in time for the arrival of the CNET Smart Home, too. Stay tuned., not to mention the upcoming release of the touchscreen-equipped on June 28. Expect both to take advantage of the new video skills as soon as they arrive -- and expect us to take all of it for a test drive in