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Amazon Fire TV extends voice search to Hulu, Crackle, Showtime

The new content helps pad the video-streaming device’s much talked about, but limited, voice search options.

Sarah Tew

Amazon announced Thursday that Amazon Fire TV users will soon be able to use the device's voice search to pull up videos from Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Showtime Anytime, giving the feature a much-needed boost of content.

When the retail giant unveiled its video streaming device earlier this month, it emphasized how its voice-controled search sets it apart from already established TV streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV. But reviewers found that the voice search generally pulled up videos from Amazon Instant Video. Amazon said games and music videos from Vevo are also searchable by voice.

Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Showtime Anytime will make their full catalogs available by voice search starting this summer, according to Amazon.

None of these additional content partners come close to competing with Amazon's Prime Instant Video service, a subscription video service that competes with video streaming leader Netflix. Fire TV does have a Netflix app but its library isn't accessible through voice search.

Amazon said it's sold out of the Fire TV quickly, but didn't release any actual figures.

"We're excited and energized by the momentum we're seeing with Fire TV," Dave Limp, Amazon's vice president of Devices said in a statement. "Customers are telling us they love it, developers are building for it, and we're working hard to expand existing features and build new ones. We're thrilled to have Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Showtime integrating their full selection of movies and TV shows into Fire TV's unified voice search."

Amazon also said it's working with several developers to increase it's content overall. The company said new apps are coming from Telltale Games, Halfbrick, Pixowl, Disney Interactive, Minority Media, Paradox Interactive, Gaiam, AllRecipes, and Twitch.

It's also planning to add a Prime-focused browse function, Amazon MP3 integration, and Kindle FreeTime, a kid-friendly mode, to the device through an over-the-air software update.

Correction, April 27 at 12:11 p.m. PT: This article had an incorrect spelling of Showtime Anytime.