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Smart Home

Logitech Harmony expands Alexa's entertainment skills

New, deeper Alexa controls for Logitech Harmony AV setups will let the virtual assistant change the volume, pause, fast forward, or jump to a specific channel.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Buttons. Who needs 'em?

You'll need a Logitech Hamony Hub in order to connect with Alexa.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Not Logitech Harmony users who also happen to own an Amazon Alexa product, that's for sure. The universal remote maker already offered a fairly robust Alexa skill that lets the virtual voice assistant turn your AV gear on and off, jump to specific inputs and presets, or trigger smart entertainment scenes.

Now Logitech is adding in even deeper controls that will let Alexa handle more of the basics, such as adjusting the volume, pausing and fast forwarding, or jumping to a specific channel. You'll also be able to set a sleep timer that turns your TV off automatically after a set period of time.

The new couch potato powers come by way of Harmony's new custom Alexa skill. It'll join the existing, native Alexa controls that allow the assistant to start and end your pre-programmed Harmony activities. Unlike those native commands, though, the new custom skill requires you to add invocation words to your command to tell Alexa which skill to draw from. So asking Alexa to turn the volume down would sound something like, "Alexa, tell Harmony to turn the volume down."

The new controls are available today for users in the US as well as in the UK, where Logitech's Alexa integration is only just now making its debut.