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Alexa can now take over DVR duties for TiVo, DirecTV, and more

A new update for Alexa will give the Amazon voice assistant even more power in your living room. The Video Skills API update announced on the developer blog will let Alexa interact with DirecTV, TiVo, DISH, and Verizon services to record shows with a voice request.

Rather than fumbling through menus with your remote, you can now just say “Alexa, record the Mariners game,” and it will be cued up and ready to view when you return home.

You’ll also be able to jump straight to your favorite apps or streaming services with the network or name of the show. “Alexa, launch Netflix” will let you check out what’s new this month, while “Alexa, play episodes of Silicon Valley” will get you up to date on the new season.

Features like pause, rewind, or mute can also be handled with simple voice commands using the new API, without having to specify which service you’re referring to. “Alexa, pause,” is a lot easier than” Alexa, pause DirecTV DVD.”

“By integrating with Amazon’s Video Skill API, TiVo is making it even easier to control entertainment with your voice,” said TiVo’s Ted Malone in a statement. “Simply ask Alexa to change the TV channel using either the channel name or number. Pause, fast forward, or rewind any of your live TV, DVR recordings and popular Internet streaming services.”

Developers still need to catch up and learn how to use the new API tools, so these updated skills will likely appear over the next few months as the various services include them in their firmware.

Amazon added voice control with Alexa to Fire TV last year, including playback and navigation commands.

This latest Alexa update means the battle for control of your living room is just getting started. Google Assistant already integrates with Chromecast and Shield TV, and Bixby 2.0 is controlling Samsung TVs.

DISH was the first company to begin utilizing Alexa as a voice remote with an update in May of last year. “DISH customers love the convenience that our Alexa compatibility brings to their home entertainment,” said DISH’s Niraj Desai. “With Amazon’s updates to the Video Skill API, DISH has the ability to deepen our Alexa integration and continue working toward providing our customers with a completely Hands-Free TV experience.”

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Mark Austin
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