LG announced that its 2019 ThinQ A.I. TVs will eventually support all three major voice assistants, in one form or another. Currently, these TVs embed LG’s own proprietary A.I. and the Google Assistant, but starting this month, Alexa will be added to 2019 ThinQ A.I. TVs, including LG UHD TVs, NanoCell TVs, and OLED TVs. TVs in North America will be the first to receive the update, with Europe and Asia getting it in the weeks to follow.
Using Alexa on an LG TV will require the Alexa app on a smartphone or tablet, for account creation and the management of skills and other preferences, plus the TV’s remote. To talk to Alexa, you press and hold the Amazon Prime Video button, while a short press will still launch the Amazon Prime Video app. There’s no need for an external speaker, like an Echo Dot, and Alexa routines will be supported, too.
The regular microphone button on the remote will trigger LG ThinQ by default, but depending on your settings it will hand-off requests it can’t handle to either Alexa or Google Assistant.
As part of the announcement, LG also took the opportunity to remind us that the planned addition of Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit technologies is still on the horizon as a midyear update. When this happens, you’ll be able to control a 2019 LG TV via Siri commands through an iOS device or a HomePod.
LG’s strategy of delivering compatibility with all a multitude of voice assistants is a logical approach, and it’s not alone in doing so. Earlier this month, Sonos finally added Google Assistant compatibility to its range of Wi-Fi-connected speakers, giving users the choice of working with Alexa or Assistant — or both — within the same home network. Bose followed within a few days, adding Google Assistant to its existing collection of Alexa-enabled smart speakers.
The question now is, what will happen to companies that only support one of these voice-controlled helpers? Sony’s decision to use Android TV means it’s likely locked into Google Assistant for the foreseeable future. Or, as in Samsung’s case, what happens when you try to push a proprietary A.I. such as Bixby? We expect Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy Home smart speaker to appear shortly, and when it does, it will face an uphill battle if Bixby remains the exclusive voice assistant.
Updated on May 24, 2019: Added new details around how Alexa works on 2019 LG TVs.