Amazon Fire TV Cube gains hands-free voice navigation in Netflix and other 3rd-party apps

The Amazon Fire TV Cube has plenty of hands-free voice capabilities that allow users to navigate around the main interface without needing to use the remote. Most mainstream 3rd-party apps have added support for Alexa which allows users to search for content and control media playback using only their voice, but when it comes to navigating within apps, you had no choice but to use the remote. That is, until now. Amazon has added support for hands-free voice navigation for several 3rd-party apps so that much more can be achieved with the Fire TV Cube without needing to use the remote.

What Amazon has essentially done is add voice commands that mimic the remote’s directional buttons. By saying “Alexa, go [right/left/up/down]” you can navigate around an app as if you were pressing those same navigation buttons on the remote. You may also use the command “move” in place of the word “go” if you prefer. Once the item you want is highlighted in the app, you can then say “Alexa, select” or “Alexa, select this” to mimic a press of the remote’s circular center select button.

To make moving around an app by voice a bit easier and quicker, Amazon has also added a “scroll” voice command. Depending on the app being used, saying “Alexa, scroll [right/left/up/down]” will often move the highlighted selection several positions at once. In Netflix, for example, saying “Alexa, scroll right” will shift the entire row of content to the next group of videos. This is actually just as fast, if not faster, than tapping right on the remote several times in a row, since the entire row slides all at once. You can see these new voice commands in action in this video.

Navigating in this matter with repeated voice commands can surely get tedious if you’re trying to move deep into an app’s interface. It’s certainly not meant to be an all-out replacement for the remote, but it’s a great alternative control option that’ll save you from having to reach over for the remote in certain scenarios. When you ask Alexa on the Fire TV Cube to play something from Netflix, for example, if you haven’t launched the app in a while, you’ll need to select which user profile you’d like to open. With these new voice commands, you can now make the profile selection hands-free using your voice.

To start things off, Amazon has added support for these new hands-free voice navigation commands to 17 apps, which are ABC, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, The CW, CW Seed, DramaFever, ESPN, FilmStruck, FOX Now, FXNow, Hallmark Movies Now, HBO Go, HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix, Red Bull TV, and Tubi TV. Amazon will be adding support for more apps in the near future. The behavior of these commands, such as the “scroll” command, is slightly different from app to app, so it seems like Amazon can’t simply make these commands universally available within all 3rd-party apps at once.

All Amazon Fire TV Cubes should already be able to immediately start using these new hands-free voice commands for navigation. If the commands aren’t working for you, a quick restart of your Fire TV Cube should make them available.

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9 comments
  1. sylvio2000 says:

    Does somebody really uses voice commands instead of a remote? I dont understand why this is so popular. Maybe somebody around here can lighten me up?

    • HN says:

      It makes you feel like you’re in Star Trek.

    • Jp says:

      Carrying a baby chasing a toddler or while cooking in the kitchen. That and when I’m letting the dog out and getting the TV to charge to Nick Jr for my toddler. Most use case scenarios I use it for.

    • Flokic says:

      It’s an exciting new thing until you realize that half of the times Alexa will either not understand or just completely misunderstand your commands.

    • Scott Lewis says:

      I use them. Alexa, tune to the Red Sox game. Next thing you know, Hulu opens and I’m watching the game without wondering what channel.

    • CB says:

      A 98 year old mother in law whose in good health but has very low vision and now has no trouble finding her talk shows. My personal opinion this is wonderful for anyone with physical limitations and a toy for everyone else

    • Jim Carter says:

      I agree these devices are overkill for most. However;I need all the shortcuts and conveniences I can afford. Managing two households and a business is enough responsibility. This is how I pamper myself. Walking through the house shouting out instructions brings a certain enjoyment. Not having some unpleasant return conversation is the cherry on the sundae!

  2. Farley says:

    Because it’s really cool that it pauses whatever you watching when it hears a voice command then freezes.

    (EX:DirecTV Now: Echo raise volume…pause then system freezes. )

    • Pausotron says:

      Sorry, but complaining that it pauses when it hears the wake word is the dumbest complaint of all. It has no way to know what you’re watching, what volume you have things set to, or what you’re about to ask. So of course it will optimize the environment for clarity by pausing. Theres a whole sh!t ton of things that Alexa can do. You could be watching an action scene at loud volume and ask it to schedule a meeting with your boss where it literally will email your boss. You’re damn right I want it to pause to make sure it got that command right.

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