Alexa Routines can now control Amazon Fire TVs to automate TV power, content, and apps

Amazon has made it possible for Alexa Routines to control your Fire TV, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Edition television. Through routines, either triggered automatically by some event or manually through a spoke Alexa command, Alexa can new automatically launch apps, play content, navigate home, pause/resume video, and even control the power and volume of your TV.

To access these new Alexa capabilities, launch the Alexa app on a mobile device and head to the Routines section. From there, create a new routine and select the new “Fire TV” item listed under the “Add action” portion of the routine creation screen. From there, you’ll be able to select which of your Fire TVs you’d like to control through the Alexa routine.

The Fire TV and television functions available for you to control through an Alexa Routine seem to vary by the specific model of Fire TV that you own and the capabilities of the TV that it is connected to. TVs that have HDMI-CEC capabilities are necessary for TV power control, for example, while devices like the Fire TV Cube, with their built-in IR blasters, seem to have access to all of the possible controls. Having the latest Alexa Voice Remote and its Equipment Control capabilities configured may also play a factor in what you can and can’t control through an Alexa routine.

Above are the options shown for one of my 2nd-gen Fire TV Sticks (named “T1 – 231”), a Fire TV Stick 4K (name “MM3 – 238”) and a 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube (named “R2 – 252”). The ability to start playing content, launch an app, pause/resume the currently playing video, and navigate home seems to be available for all Fire TV models. Being able to power on and off your TV seems to only be available through some Fire TV models and/or depends on the TVs HDMI-CEC capabilities. The option to control the volume of your TV seems to only be available for the Fire TV Cubes.

For most actions, you simply select it from the list to add it to the routine. To add the action of playing content or launching an app, you type in the spoken Alexa command that would normally result in that action. For example, you can enter “Play [MOVE/SHOW NAME] on [APP NAME]” to starting playing something specific from a specific app. To launch an app, you would just enter “Open [APP NAME].” It’s best to first try the spoken command yourself on the Fire TV to ensure that it works as expected.

For volume control, you’re able to select how much to increase or decrease the volume by, from 0 to 15. You can only change the volume relative to where it is currently set because Alexa has no way to jump to a specific volume setting or know what your TVs volume is currently set to. If you want your routine to always set an exact volume, you can try adding the action to decrease the volume by a very large amount so that it always reaches zero and then add a second action to increase the volume by an amount that gets you to the exact volume that you want.

Given that there are numerous ways to trigger an Alexa routine, the possibilities for automating your Fire TV control with this new capability are endless. You could ensure your TVs are all off when you go to bed or leave the house. You could pause the playing video and brighten your smart lights in one step when someone needs to step away from a movie. If you come up with an interesting routine of your own, you can share it for others to add to their own account.

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3 comments
  1. Ryan O says:

    Kind of off topic but will the cube or any of the fire tv devices ever gain sleep timer capabilities? I was hoping this would function like one.

    • Jeff says:

      You can add a wait time in an Alexa routine, so this should work, you will just have to decide what a good wait time is for your sleep timer, or make separate sleep timers.
      Example: When someone says “sleep 90”
      Wait 90 minutes
      Turn TV off

  2. Anthony Rossetti says:

    i saw this , half way there
    one annoying thing i noticed a long time ago is that every time i set up a new 4k fire TV stick on my account a new device would be added to my Alexa device list, i set up 3 sticks and i see “TV” “TV” “TV” listed in there plus i already had a device named “TV” in there because i was using a broadlink RM pro with the now non working RM plugin app to control my bedroom TV , so now i have 4 devices with the same in my Alexa device list , 4 devices all named “TV” with no way to differentiate between them
    i was wondering what this was for and when they planned on making use of it

    but what i really want now is a way to make a routine trigger only from a specific echo device so i can use the same syntax in all 3 rooms i have TV’s in
    without having to name them all by the room the TV is in ,like bedroom TV, living room TV, etc

    would also be nice if Alexa would just infer which TV i want to turn on/off by default depending on which echo i am speaking to
    for example if i say turn off the TV tot he living room echo
    it would by default know i want it to turn off the living room TV where the living room fire stick is paired to the living room echo dot
    and if i want it to turn off another TV i would just be able to specify like turnoff the bedroom TV

    like it does with lights, saying turn off the lights only turns off the lights grouped in with that echo
    device
    and if i want to turn the lights off in another room i just specify the room, “Alexa, turn bedroom lights off” when speaking to the living room echo

    i don’t know why Amazon has not figured this out yet, they must know people have echo devices and fire TV devices in multiple rooms by now
    and more than one TV

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