Fire TVs are getting expanded Alexa controls, new smart home features

The highly anticipated voice control update for Fire TV is now truly here

Alexa in front of Amazon Video app on a 4K Display
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
There’s something satisfying about controlling your smart TV or streaming device with just your voice. Since there’s no remote to keep track of or device inputs to fiddle with, you can just kick back, relax, and enjoy your what you’re watching. For Fire TV users, Amazon is expanding Alexa integration in Fire TVs and Fire TV Edition smart TVs so you can maintain your lounging position for the duration of your TV binge.

The first new feature is the ability to pair any Echo devices with your Fire TV. This combo enables you to control all playback on your Fire TV through voice commands, so yes, finally you’ll have truly hands-free operation of your television. You’ll also be able to perform complex voice searches, such as “Alexa, show me comedy movies.”

The setup process between the two is simple, with the Echo and Fire TV automatically pairing when you ask a question that includes the phrase “Fire TV,” while users with multiple Fire TVs will have to use the Alexa app.

For those with a Fire TV Edition smart TV, further voice command functionality is being added, including volume control, input switching, and even changing the channel when connected to HD OTA antennas. If you don’t yet have an HD antenna, check out our list for the best indoor antennas you can buy. Paired with a DVR, they’re a great option for cord-cutters.

Amazon also announced Alexa control of smart home cameras is coming to Fire TV devices in the future. With this new feature, users will be able to access live video feeds of smart device cameras installed in your home, and control them with voice commands.

While this news is sure to be a welcome addition for those with a Fire TV and Echo devices, we should point out that many Sony Smart TVs are also compatible with Alexa and share much of the same functionality that the Fire TV has. Similarly, many streaming devices, specifically the Google Chromecast family of devices and Android TVs can can also be controlled with Alexa’s rival AI, Google Assistant. Still, we welcome more Alexa integration for Fire TV devices, especially if it means we don’t have dig for the remote in order to things like change the channel, turn up the volume, find a new show, etc., and the new smart home video controls will be interesting to see in action.

The far-field TV control functionality is now live for all Fire TV and Echo owners, and all generation of Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are compatible with this update. As for controlling your Fire TV Edition smart TV, Amazon is still working on rolling that particular feature out.

Update: All Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners can now control their devices with Alexa. 

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: The Coen brothers ride again and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Nnarcos: Mexico, and more.
Deals

Here are the best 4K TV deals for November 2018

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Product Review

Hisense’s new H8E 4K TV serves up a pretty picture at a very nice price

Budget TVs continue to get more attractive and that includes the latest from Chinese TV maker Hisense. The company’s new H8E offers 4K resolution, HDR, and a slick design for well under $500.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Home Theater

LG slashes the price of its Xboom speakers for Black Friday

If powerful portable audio at a terrific price sounds good to you, now is the best time of the year to pick up an LG XBoom portable Bluetooth speaker. The company has slashed prices by as much as 50 percent.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Alita: Battle Angel,’ ‘Detective Pikachu,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for cyberpunk adventure Alita: Battle Angel, game adaptation Pokémon Detective Pikachu…
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Deals

The best Walmart Black Friday deals in 2018

Walmart has historically been the undisputed king of Black Friday deals. The mega-store is known for offering deals on products in almost every category, from smart TVs to children’s toys. We're combing through every deal as it is…
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…