Amazon has just updated their Fire TV Software Updates page with a new feature listing that states compatible Alexa devices can now control video playback on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Additionally, you’ll be able to use compatible Alexa devices to launch Fire TV apps. The feature is not yet functional, but it should be available soon.
The software version number on the updates page has not changed and still lists the same version number, specifically 126.96.36.199 version for the Fire TV 2 and the 188.8.131.52 version for all other Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks, as was released earlier this month. This presumably means the feature is present in the current software version, but is not yet activated.
The feature listing mentions having to link your Fire TV with Alex through the Alexa app, but the option is not yet available. The listing also directs users to a help page to learn more about the new feature, but that help page is also not yet available.
It seems like controlling Fire TV’s through standalone Alexa devices is coming very soon, but somebody at Amazon jumped the gun and updated the new features list on the updates page too early. Amazon typically does not update this page until well after a feature has been deployed and is live for everyone.
Once the new feature is functional, you’ll be able to launch Fire TV apps remotely by saying “Alexa, open [app name] on my Fire TV.” You’ll also be able to start playing movies and TV shows from Amazon Video, on the Fire TV, by asking an Alexa device. While video is already playing, you’ll be able to have Alexa control playback by using commands like pause, play, resume, fast forward, next episode, and rewind.
Currently, if you ask an Alexa device to open an app or control playback on your Fire TV, the voice assistant responds with: “Fire TV is in a mode that doesn’t accept requests. Please change its mode in the app or on the device.” No such options exist in either place yet. Presumably, you’ll be able to configure these options in the “Video” portion of the “Music, Video, & Books” section of the Alexa app, which currently only lists the Dish set-top box options.
Amazon has just reverted the “New Features” list on their updates page to what was listed yesterday, so it definitely seems like the feature is not ready and this news was not yet intended to be made public. For those interested, the full text regarding Alexa’s upcoming ability to control Fire TV devices was as follows:
You can now use your compatible Amazon Alexa device to control the video playback on your Fire TV device after linking them in the Alexa app. While playing an Amazon video, you can use playback commands like pause, play, resume, fast forward, next episode, and rewind. Also, you can ask Alexa to search for videos by titles, genres, or actors. Or you can ask Alexa to search for an app and open it by saying, “Open [app name] on my Fire TV.” To learn more, go to Use Your Alexa Device to Control Your Fire TV.