When the new Fire TV arrives at customers’ doorsteps this October 5th, one of its best new features will be Alexa voice capabilities. Shortly after, Amazon will be bringing this great new feature to all existing Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks through the upcoming Fire OS 5 software update. Not all of Alexa’s abilities from the Amazon Echo will work with the Fire TV, but here’s a few of the things we already know you’ll be able to do with Alexa on new and existing Fire TVs.
Alexa will be able to stream music from many sources like your Amazon music library (both purchased and uploaded), Prime music, Prime playlists, Prime stations, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and TuneIn. Some voice commands are:
- Alexa, play [Artist/Genre] Prime Station.
- Alexa, shuffle [Artist/Album] songs from Prime Music/My Library.
- Alexa, play [Artist/Genre] station on Pandora/iHeartRadio.
- Alexa, create a new Pandora station for [Artist].
- Alexa, play [Radio Station Call Sign/Frequency] on TuneIn.
- Alexa, add this song to my library. (For when a song is playing through Prime Stations or Prime Playlists)
- Alexa, thumbs up/down. (For iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Prime Stations)
- Alexa, next/previous/play/pause/shuffle track.
Audio Books & Podcasts
In addition to music, Alexa can play audiobooks from Audible and podcasts through iHeartRadio. Some voice commands are:
- Alexa, play the book [book title].
- Alexa, play the audiobook [book title].
- Alexa, play [book title] from Audible.
- Alexa, read [book title].
- Alexa, go back/forward. (To move by 30 seconds)
- Alexa, go forward.
- Alexa, play the podcast [podcast name].
Alexa can manage a Shopping List and a To-do List. The lists are synced to Amazon’s servers and can be viewed and managed from anywhere through the Alexa Android or iOS app or through the alexa website. Some voice commands are:
- Alexa, add [item] to my Shopping List.
- Alexa, I need to buy [item].
- Alexa, put [action] on my To-do List.
- Alexa, I need to [action].
- Alexa, what’s on my Shopping List/To-do List?
Alexa can give you sports scores and information. Some voice commands are:
- Alexa, what was the score of the [sports team] game?
- Alexa, did the [sports team] win?
- Alexa, how tall is [athlete name]?
Alexa can give you weather information for the city you’re in or any city you specify. Some voice commands are:
- Alexa, what’s the weather?
- Alexa, what’s the weather for this week?
- Alexa, what’s the weather for Thursday?
- Alexa, what’s the weather in [city, state]?
- Alexa, will it rain tomorrow?
- Alexa, what’s the chance of rain?
- Alexa, do I need an umbrella?
Alexa can tell you how long it will take to reach a destination. Unfortunately, it can only give you traffic information for one destination, and that destination must be configured with the Alexa app. The idea is you configure it with your most common commute, like your drive to work. Some voice commands are:
- Alexa, how is traffic?
- Alexa, what’s my commute?
- Alexa, what’s traffic like right now?
Alexa is able to recognize a slew of general knowledge questions. There are too many question types to list here, but for the most part, if you’re wondering something, just ask. You’ll be surprised at what kind of questions Alexa recognizes. Some examples are (find more here):
- Alexa, what time is it in [city]?
- Alexa, how many calories are in [food item]?
- Alexa, what’s the definition of [word]?
- Alexa, what’s the capital of [state/country]?
- Alexa, who is [name]?
- Alexa, when did [historical event] happen?
- Alexa, who starred in the movie [movie title]?
- Alexa, what year did the movie [movie title] come out?
- Alexa, how many ounces are in a cup?
- Alexa, what’s the square root of 64?
If Alexa doesn’t know the specific answer to a question, or you just want to hear general information about something, you can ask Alexa to look something up on Wikipedia. Some voice commands are:
- Alexa, search Wikipedia for [thing].
- Alexa, Wikipedia: [thing].
- Alexa, tell me more. (To hear more than just the intro.)
There are many more things Alexa can do. Many things will not trigger a visual card to appear on the Fire TV, but are still very handy audio-only responses. You can hear what’s on your Google calendar, ask to hear a joke, interact with a Skill, and listen to a news briefing, just to name a few. One of the first things you should do when you get Alexa on your Fire TV is to simply say “Alexa, tell me what you can do” and go from there.