Amazon brought Alexa to the TV with its second-generation Fire TV set-top box, and now, a few months later, the company is also doing the same for owners of its original box. Starting today and continuing “over the next few weeks,” Fire TV and Fire TV Stick customers will be receiving a software update that adds Amazon’s personal assistant to the older hardware. Both devices already include voice search for finding movies and TV shows to watch, but Alexa adds a bit more functionality to the mix.
From an execution point this seems challenging as especially the first generation Fire TV stick is not a powerful computer. (Also, as those shipped with non-microphone remotes, users would need to order new remotes and may instead just buy newer generation Fire TV sticks.)
Features for Alexa include information on weather, traffic and sports or search results for local restaurants and control for certain smart home products; and of course reordering purchases on Amazon. It is not the full feature set available with Echo for obvious reasons. (For one, Alexa on Fire TV can not listen constantly for potential commands. Yet. This may come with future Fire TVs gaining microphones.)
This is yet another step in making the Alexa voice interface available everywhere. But there is a little bit more to it: As we discussed before the more voice inputs the Alexa system gets to analyze the better its voice recognition becomes. That is a classic scale effect. It makes sense for Amazon to push every device of its own to be able to use Alexa. The more the merrier.
More on Fire TV and Alexa:
- Black Friday: Amazon Fire TV Sales Up 6x Over Last Year
- Apple TV vs. Fire TV: The Next Platform Battle
- ‘QVC 2.0’ and beyond: Why Fire TV is Amazon’s most important device
- Amazon as a TV bundle reseller
- Amazon’s Alexa and Dash Replenishment Service – A Level of Convenience Unseen Before
- At CES 2016 Amazon Alexa Was Everywhere
- Amazon’s Alexa Fund Invests in Smart Home Communication Device Triby