All the newly expanded Alexa/Echo hands-free voice controls for Fire TV devices

Amazon has announced today that they’ve significantly expanded what Alexa commands you can say to an Amazon Echo device to control your Fire TV or Firestick. For a long time now, it has been possible to ask an Echo that has been linked with your Fire TV to perform a few basic tasks, such as launching apps, searching for content, and controlling video playback. When the Fire TV Cube was first released, what you could do hands-free with Alexa and a Fire TV expanded, but all the new capabilities required speaking directly to a Fire TV Cube and did not work through a separate Echo or Echo Dot and something like a Fire TV Stick. Today’s Alexa expansion on Fire TV brings many of those voice commands that formerly only worked on the Fire TV Cube to the rest of Amazon’s Fire TV devices. Here’s the full list of Alexa voice commands that can be used to control a Fire TV hands-free.

You have always been able to say these commands directly into your Fire TV’s Alexa Voice Remote, but what’s new is that you can now also say them to an Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Studio, or other Alexa smart speaker. Some of these commands won’t work through a smart display, like an Echo Show 5/8/10 or an Echo Spot, because the display itself will execute the command instead of passing it off to the Fire TV. You first need to link your Fire TV to your Alexa device, which can either be done verbally when you first issue one of these voice commands along with “…on Fire TV” appended to the end, or through the Alexa app. If, for whatever reason, a command doesn’t work, you can always try adding “…on Fire TV” to the end of the request.

Play Movie, TV Show, or Channel

These are some of the older commands that have existed for some time, but I’ll include them, and all of the other old commands, here for the sake of having a complete list. To play content, say “Play [TITLE]” or “Watch [TITLE].” If it’s available from multiple apps, you’ll be asked which app you’d like to use. To play something from a specific app, you can say “Play [TITLE] on [APP].” If you’re using an app that has been integrated into the Fire TV’s Live experience, you can say “Go to [CHANNEL/NETWORK]” or “Watch [CHANNEL/NETWORK]” to load that live channel. If you want, you can add “…on [APP]” to load the channel in a specific app. These channel commands also work for loading channels from the Fire TV Recast or the built-in tuner of a Fire TV Edition television.

Searching

To search, say “Search for [QUERY]” or “Find [QUERY].” The query can be the title of a movie or TV show, or it can be a genre. If you have an app open that supports Alexa integration, issuing a search command will search within just the currently open app. You can also direct a search towards a specific app by saying “Search for [QUERY] on [APP].” To bring up search results for a particular actor, you can say “Show me movies/shows/titles with [ACTOR]” or “Find [ACTOR] movies/shows.” If you don’t want to even be that specific, you can say “Show me new movies/shows” or “Show me free movies/shows.” While viewing search results, you can use voice commands to navigate and select from the results. Saying “Select number [#]” or “Play number [#]” will select that item on the screen. You can view additional results by saying “Scroll right/left” or “Show more.”

Opening & Controlling Apps

To open an app, simply say “Open [APP]” or “Launch [APP].” If opening the app doesn’t work, like if the app shares its name with an Alexa Skill, I’ve found that saying “Open/Launch the app [APP]” will usually work. You can control an app by saying “Move right/left/up/down” to move the cursor one spot over or by saying “Scroll right/left/up/down” to move the cursor across an entire row, column, or page in the app. Once the cursor is highlighting what you want, you can say “Select” to pick it. Of course, this is quite tedious, but it’s there if you need it. As previously mentioned, issuing search commands while an app is open will search within that app if the app supports Alexa integration.

Fire TV Navigation

You can use hands-free voice commands to navigate around the Fire TV interface. Saying “Go Home” will always take you to the home screen. If your TV supports it, this command has the added bonus of sending an HDMI-CEC command to your TV that will usually power it on if it’s off and/or switch to the Fire TV’s input. To bring up the Fire TV-s built-in channel guide, say “Go to Channel Guide.” To go to the Live tab, say “Go to Live.” To go to your video library, you guessed it, say “Go to my video library.” While on a particular screen, you can say “Scroll down” or “Show more” to interact with the tab. From there, you can say “Select number [#]” to pick a particular row. Lastly, saying “Go back” will usually take you back to the screen you were just on.

Playback Controls

Once you have content playing, you can “Pause” or “Stop” to control the video. Saying “Play” or “Resume” will also work to get the video playing again. To move around a playing video, you can say “Rewind [#] seconds/minutes” or “Fast-forward [#] seconds/minutes.” The commands “Go back/forward…” and “Jump back/forward…” are interchangeable for rewinding and fast-forwarding. To start the video over, you can say “Watch from the beginning.” If you’re watching a TV show, you can start the next episode by saying “Next” or “Next Episode.”

Show Me Info

There are a lot of requests for information that you can make that start with “Show me…”. For example, saying “Show me the weather” to an Echo will bring up a 7-day forecast on your Fire TV. Other “show me” commands include calendars, cameras, traffic, and lists. For music, you can say “Show me albums by [ARTIST]” or “Show me [GENRE] stations” to have a list appear on your Fire TV to select from. There are many more “show me” requests, so if you think something could be better done visually than verbally, try adding “show me” to the front of the request. These “show me” requests don’t work on echo smart displays, since the display will show you the requests instead of your Fire TV.

Movie & TV Show Detail Page

The detail pages of movies or TV shows have some unique voice commands. While on a movie page you can say “Play this movie” to start watching it or you can say “Watch the trailer” to play the trailer instead. You can also say “Add this to my wishlist” to save it for later. If you’re on a TV show detail page, you can say “Show me episodes/seasons” to view the available episodes or seasons.

Fire TV Edition TVs

Lastly, Fire TV Edition televisions have a few commands that are unique to them. For starters, you can say “Turn Fire TV on/off” to control the power. For this to work, you need to have the option under Settings > Alexa > Turn on TV with Alexa enabled. To control the volume of the TV, you say “Turn up/down the volume on Fire TV” for an arbitrary amount or say “Volume [#] on Fire TV” for a specific volume level. You have to include “…on Fire TV” with volume commands or else the volume of the Echo will be adjusted instead. To mute or unmute the TV, just say “Mute Fire TV.” Lastly, you can change inputs on the TV by saying “Switch to [INPUT/DEVICE]” or “Change to [INPUT/DEVICE],” where INPUT is the input name and number, like HDMI 2 or COMPONENT, and DEVICE is the name you’ve assigned to the device on a particular input, like XBOX.

ShareTweetShare+1

11 comments
  1. John says:

    That’s neat, but why can’t the Echo turn on/off Fire Stick connected TVs? My Google Nest Mini and Chromecast can do that with HDMI-CEC.

    • Hugh says:

      It works just fine for me.,, “Alexa, turn off the Fire TV”…the Echo has to be associated with a particular Fire TV, but it works fine on BOTH a Fire TV and a the Fire TV Stick. I just tested both of mine to make sure nothing has changed and it’s working as it should.

    • As Hugh said, it should work if your TV supports HDMI-CEC. Maybe try saying “Alexa, go home on Fire TV” while your TV is off.

      • Hugh says:

        Elias, getting this working was not easy for me and I’m still not sure about everything I did to make it work. There are naming issues, connecting Echo issues, and HDMI CEC issues. Not one YouTuber that I’ve seen has done a very basic step-by-step to get this working. Thanks for what you’re doing.

  2. TechyChris says:

    I have been going NUTS trying to get my new Cube 2’s Voice Control to switch inputs between the HDMI 1 Fire TV Home Screen and my OTA Input on my Insignia TV’s. Voice Control functions for everything else but if I can’t switch inputs I still have to use the TV remote. If I’m on my OTA saying Alexa switch input takes me to the FTV Home screen BUT saying Switch input again back to OTA does not work! Any help appreciated THX

    • craig says:

      ive found that just saying alexa hdmi 1

      • H.E.C. says:

        THANKS for this!! That was the only thing I couldn’t figure out, how to switch to other inputs …

      • TechyChris says:

        Thanks. I am able to switch FROM the TV/Antenna input TO HDMI 1 input (Fire TV) but the voice commands will not allow me to switch BACK to the TV/Antenna input, doesn’t matter if I say “Alexa switch input or switch to TV or Antenna” I get a voice prompt that says “I don’t know that one”
        I have to use the TV remote input.
        Both problem TV’s are 2 year old Insignia. I also have a 13 year old Samsung that works perfectly with ALL the Alexa Cube voice prompts, go figure.

  3. Vnz Junk says:

    Thanks for putting together the article. It would add to the usability of the info if you had put a list of the commands and what the would accomplish in a small chart. It would save a lot of reading and re reading of the article or searching it.

  4. Ray says:

    Wait… what the…??? When did AFTVnews go back online??? This has long been one of my very favorite, go-to tech sites, and I was incredibly bummed when Elias hit the pause button and went to work for The Man. Then I see a link in Jared Newman’s Cord Cutter Weekly pointing to… dum dum dum… AFTVnews!

    Welcome back Elias! In zombie speak, when did AFTVnews rise from the grave?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Get AFTVnews articles in your inbox!

Get an email anytime a new article is published.
No Spam EVER and Cancel Anytime.

FOLLOW