Alexa devices will soon be able to control playback and launch apps on the Amazon Fire TV

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 5.2.4.2 version for the Fire TV 2 and the 5.2.4.1 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.

Update

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.

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14 comments
  1. Terence Jeremiah says:

    It’s about time. Always wanted this after buying an echo dot.

    • grdoid666 says:

      i already got a similar thing working , all you need is an always on android device running the anymote app and the anymore alexa skill
      i set a macro for it to wake the fire stick and then open kodi

  2. Mike Agner says:

    It’s nice to know that it is at least semi-officially on their radar. I hope eventually Alexa will be able to completely control the fire tv (including launching the various hidden functions); but this is a good start.

    Such naughty folks to tease us Alexa users (heh)

  3. This feature will make me finally buy the Dot.

  4. AJ Bless says:

    I was just researching this capability yesterday right before purchasing a Echo on Prime Day. I couldn’t believe that the Echo couldn’t do this and it appears can’t control your TV without another Smarthome device like a Harmony Hub.

    To note for those of you looking to purchase an Echo. Upon ordering the Echo it was to be delivered 2 days via Prime but now My Orders shows a deliver date of August 9th. Clearly they are out of stock and/or behind in manufacturing the Echo.

  5. Mike Agner says:

    Alexa (on the FireTV) already has some limited functionality to control the FireTV, but it’s not extensible – yet – to the Echo or Dot. Just on the FireTV itself. It’s a bit hidden, too, since the URL starts with ‘smiles’ (yeah, I know…wierd)…

    http://smile.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?tag=techhivecom-20&nodeId=201859020

  6. Mark says:

    And if we have more than one firetv device? Likely have to say the name of each one along with the command. PITA

  7. Mark says:

    I want to know when the new Fire TV will be launched and its specs and price.

  8. Itzme says:

    I think there’s already been some changes to Alexa’s software. I have DIRECTV (not dish) and I have a Harmony hub. Strange things happened this morning while I was listening to my News Flash. All of a sudden my voice commands (pause, play, skip forward, stop, change channel’ etc) had no effect on my News Flash but started controlling my TV. I lost control of my News feed, but eventually “Alexa Next” started working. Usually any tv command had to be preceded with Alexa Tell Harmony. I can’t recall for sure but I may have said Tell harmony to do something, but if I did it was just one time.

    When I opened the app the audio News controls weren’t there to manually pause either. Strange experience but maybe exciting, too.

  9. J says:

    Controlling playback of video is already working on my Echo Dot and FireTV 2. I used to have to ask Alexa through my Echo Dot to “Ask Harmony to Pause”. I no longer have to do that, just ask “Alexa PAUSE” or “Alexa PAUSE my FireTV”. Launching apps doesnt work yet…

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