Amazon has updated the on-screen visuals that accompany Alexa responses on Fire TV devices to be more compact and unobtrusive. Prior to this update, all Alexa responses that displayed something on Fire TVs would take up the entire screen. These new visuals take up only the lower third of the screen and don’t take you away from what you’re currently watching. Only select Alexa responses will use the new visuals and they’re only available on some Fire TV models.
When an Alexa response uses this new interface, the video being watched does not pause, as it used to with the old interface that took up the entire screen. Instead, the audio of what your watching is reduced and Alexa is heard speaking over the ongoing video while the new compact visual is displayed at the bottom of the screen. This makes it possible to get information from Alexa during a movie or show without taking you fully out of the content. Of course, you can always manually pause the playing video if Alexa speaking over the content’s audio is too distracting or annoying.
A nice touch is the ability to press Select on the remote while Alexa is speaking to silence the audible response but keep the visual response on the screen. This allows you to see/read the information being displayed with very minimal interruption to what you’re watching because the video’s audio immediately returns to normal when this is done. You can also press the Back button on the remote at any time to dismiss both the audible and visual response. If too much text is displayed, you can use the Up and Down buttons on the remote to scroll the text.
Amazon says that the new compact Alexa visuals are only being used for weather and information requests. Other requests will continue to use either no visual response, such as smart home control requests, or full-screen visual responses. These new compact Alexa visual responses are already available on the Fire TV Cube (1st and 2nd gen), Fire TV Stick 4K, and some Fire TV Edition televisions and soundbars. It’s unknown if other Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models will receive this change in the future.