Amazon adds Alexa voice control to all Fire TV Sticks

Alexa And Siri Are In A Fight To Become Your Hotel Concierge

Customers without a voice remote can use the Fire TV app for iOS and Android to access Alexa, in the same way they do today with Voice Search. You will need to use the Alexa Voice Remote that ships with the Fire TV Stick, but that's no real hardship as the first iteration came with a remote control anyway.

Since its inclusion on Amazon's Echo speakers, Alexa has grown into a formidable voice assistant.

The new Fire TV Stick has been completely redesigned, with a quad-core processor and faster Wi-Fi. "Not only are we shipping a new Fire TV Stick - a faster and more powerful successor to our fastest-selling United Kingdom device ever - we're also rolling Alexa out to every single Fire TV device in the United Kingdom", said Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president, Amazon Devices International. Google last week brought its Google Home device to British homes, the first time its Amazon Echo rival had been made available outside of the US Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana is built into its Windows 10 operating system by default, as well as the Xbox One games console.

Alexa power users (and CNET) will point out that this voice-enabling capability was rolled out past year, but the new big change here is about semantics. Once you activate it you just ask, "Alexa, what's the news?" and she'll read the top stories.

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Amazon describes its new user interface as a "cinematic experience", with trailers and screenshots from shows and films embedded directly into the menus. It's called a Flash Briefing, and it's now available for the Los Angeles Daily News.

Amazon this morning announced a free software update that will bring its Alexa smart assistant to all Fire TV devices in the United Kingdom, including first generation Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

"This is a big day for Fire TV customers", said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President, Amazon Devices International.

Upgraded hardware will let new viewers quickly search for content and rewind programmes using only their voice, while software updates mean owners of previous versions can also get in on the act. This friction-reducing move can make it easier for people to try new skills that they hear about from friends, on television commercials, or elsewhere.

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