The newly announced Fire TV Alexa Voice Remote that is being sold separately and comes included with the new Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube has a lot of impressive tricks up its sleeve, but hands-free capabilities is not one of those tricks. The remote does not have always-listening microphones, like the Fire TV Cube, that can be activated with a wake word. It also cannot relay equipment control commands that are given to an Echo device paired to the Fire TV device.
Like all other Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models before it, the Fire TV Stick 4K can be paired with an Echo device to provide hands-free control. This is why Amazon is offering the new Fire TV Stick 4K bundled with a new Echo Dot for a discounted price of $79.98. Unfortunately, commands spoken to the Echo device will not be sent to the new remote’s IR blaster to control your home theater equipment.
I specifically asked Amazon about this capability and they were clear that the microphone button on the remote had to be used for the remote to control TVs, AV receivers, Soundbars, and cable/satellite boxes. In other words, if you have an Echo paired to a Fire TV 3, Fire TV Stick 2, or Fire TV Stick 4K that is using the new remote and you say “Alexa, turn on the TV” to the Echo, the TV will not turn on. You have to press the microphone button on the remote and say “Turn on the TV” or press the power button on the remote for the TV to turn on.
While hands-free equipment control relayed through an Echo is not supported by the new remote at launch, it could theoretically be added later through software updates. Amazon was very clearly not willing to speculate on this type of capability, so the feature is purely theoretical. Since we’re purely in hypothetical territory anyway, the new remote has a blue LED that, to me, is screaming to be a wake-word indicator light, like you find on Echo devices. Amazon could, again, purely theoretically, add hands-free capabilities to the remote itself, like they added to the Amazon Tap and Fire Tablets after the fact. For now, you’ll have to either buy a Fire TV Cube for hands-free equipment control or just continue to use your poor fingers.