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If you’ve had an accident and your TV remote is suddenly unavailable, there are a few life hacks you can try. Amazon’s smart assistant, Alexa, is an easy workaround and may become your preferred method after you give it a spin. A four-legged friend decided we should change the channel, so we opted to use a remote that’s not so chewy.
TV manufacturers like LG, Sony, Samsung, and Vizio recently integrated Alexa compatibility, and Roku released an Alexa skill that allows limited control. Here’s how you can enable Alexa for four popular models of smart TVs.
The most straightforward way to integrate Alexa into your entertainment experience is to use a Fire TV that already enables the functions. Amazon makes Fire TVs that include plug and play Alexa capabilities that are perfect if you don’t want to fiddle with installing anything.
If you plug in a Fire TV sticks or Fire TV media streaming device to your existing television through an HDMI port, you can use the included remote control with microphone button. If it seems like a strange sequence to pick up a remote and push a button to speak to avoid using a remote – you’re not alone.
If you already have an Alexa device in your living room, don’t waste time finding and picking up the remote to issue voice commands. Instead, link it to your Fire TV device and operate Fire TV features hands-free. After you finish setting it up, Alexa can control the Fire TV features and help you access content.
After years of not playing nice with each other, Amazon released an Alexa app for Sony Android TVs in the Google Play store. Previously, the only way to integrate Android TVs with Echo was with a Fire TV product.
Although the new Android TV Alexa app is limited to select Sony Android TVs at this time, consumers appreciate integration between Amazon and Google products. Viewers will be able to control their TV, play music, and show their doorbell and security cameras on compatible Sony Android TV models manufactured in 2016-2018.
The new app comes on the heels of an agreement earlier in the year that finally brought YouTube to Fire TV and Chromecast support to Prime Video. Hopefully, the decision will expand access to the Prime Video for more viewers. YouTube is scheduled to be available on Amazon Fire TV later this year.
After a few quick steps to install the app and set it up, you’ll be able to ask Alexa to show your security camera or play music. Execute the commands by saying, “Alexa, play music on my TV,” or "Alexa, show my security camera on my TV." You can also change the channel, adjust the volume, and control playback using commands like pause or play.
Viewers will be able to control their TV, play music, and show their doorbell and security cameras on select 2018 TV models from LG running webOS 4.0 TV operating system or higher.
Once you’ve got everything installed and set up, you can use voice commands to control your TV and other apps like Netflix, Hulu, and more. Just say, "Alexa, watch Awkward on Hulu.” Use Alexa to change the channel, turn the volume down, and control playback with commands like pause, play, and rewind.
Vizio stamped “works with Alexa” on select TV models manufactured in 2017-2018. Consumers can follow the directions to install the skill and set up the smart TV. Once it’s up and running, you’ll be able to ask Alexa to control your entertainment system by saying, “Alexa, play music on my TV,” or "Alexa, pause the TV." You can also change the channel, adjust the volume, and control playback using commands like rewind or fast forward.
If you don’t own any of the four smart TV models already compatible with Alexa, you don’t have to go out and spend a bundle on a new one. Roku is an inexpensive streaming device that gives you most of the functions of a smart TV.
You can use voice commands to control your Roku with Alexa. Ask Alexa to find movies and TV shows, launch a Roku channel app, and control playback using pause, fast forward, and more. Compatible Roku devices must run Roku OS 8.1 or above and be located in the U.S.
Alexa is a useful assistant that can do more than tell you the weather. After a few simple setup steps, you can use voice commands to control almost any recent model TV. If your television isn’t compatible, Roku will give you a limited set of functions. You might not realize how helpful it is to have hands-free control of your entertainment until you can’t find your remote or it gets disabled by a fluffy friend.
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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