A little over a year ago, Vizio added support for voice control via Google Home to its SmartCast line of smart TVs. That might have been great for Google Home users, but those who prefer Amazon’s Alexa weren’t as thrilled. That is no longer an issue, as the new Vizio SmartCast skill for Alexa is now available, bringing another voice control option to SmartCast TVs.
The new skill lets owners of the multitude of Alexa-powered devices like the Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, Echo Show and more adjust the volume, change the channel, change inputs, and even turn their Vizio SmartCast TV on or off using only their voice. That’s not all, either: In supported apps, users can pause and resume, rewind, and fast forward using voice controls as well. A list of supported apps isn’t currently available, but this is likely a feature that needs to be explicitly supported by the app’s developer.
“Vizio SmartCast is an industry leader with voice control and mobile device integration, in addition to a traditional remote and SmartCast TV interface,” Vizio chief technology officer Bill Baxter said in a statement. “With the introduction of the Vizio SmartCast skill for Alexa, we’re excited to expand voice controls, giving users with Alexa-enabled products a convenient way to control key features on their Vizio SmartCast TVs and displays.”
While voice control makes much of your viewing experience easier, you won’t be able to toss your remote in a drawer and forget about it. For example, you’ll still need the remote to browser and launch various apps, and powering the TV on and off via voice control only works if you have quick-start mode enabled. There are also privacy concerns to consider when using a voice assistant, but fortunately you can easily erase the recordings of your voice stored on either Alexa or Google Assistant-powered devices.
The new skill currently works with Vizio’s 2016 and 2017 P-Series, M-Series, and E-Series 4K Ultra HD TVs. Vizio says that support for its 2018 SmartCast Full HD (1080P models — ie. most of them) and HD (720P D-Series models) displays will be added in the coming weeks. If you’re still looking for a new TV and aren’t sure what to look for, make sure to check our buying guide before making a decision.
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