Voice technology enables users to control smart devices in their homes and is very popular nowadays. You can even control TV with Alexa. Other virtual assistants like Google's Home Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana are just a few on the market giving people hands-free control over simple everyday tasks like setting reminders and alarms.

Voice recognition systems allow us to interact with technology simply through speech. This technology originated on PCs but it has gained acceptance in business and consumer markets. The use of smartphones has opened up even more opportunities for voice recognition technology to be used in the home.

As uses for this technology grow and more people interact with it, companies utilizing this software have more information and data to add into the networks powering these systems, thus improving its capabilities and accuracy. Uses for voice recognition have grown fast as artificial intelligence, consumer acceptance, and machine learning have matured.

Consumers use this technology for different reasons including playing music, finding out weather and traffic information, setting reminders and alarms, responding to simple questions and requests, searching the internet, creating different lists, playing games, and shopping. The government is even looking for ways to use this technology for security purposes.

Voice recognition systems do make errors even though accuracy rates are improving. Problems arise due to background noises, words that sound the same but mean different things like here and hear. Also, differences in accents may confuse and yield wrong responses. This problem can be solved in the future by storing more contextual information but will require faster processors and more RAM than what is currently available. 

 

How Do You Use Alexa? 

Alexa is the intelligence behind Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Tap, as well as the voice assistant inside the Fire TV. Alexa is always up-to-date and lives in the Cloud. She learns your preferences and voice and has her own companion apps for iOS and Android devices. She is very smart and helps out with many things, but you can improve her performance by enabling skills. These are basically plugins allowing the user to do a variety of things and new skills are being added all the time.

However, Amazon gave her plenty of smarts straight out of the box including the ability to control your music, weather, news, alarms, the ability to give you directions, reading books, and controlling smart home devices with your voice - meaning you can control TV with Alexa. She can also answer questions from information available from Wikipedia and connect to your Fitbit allowing you to see how many steps you have taken during the day.

Although rather obvious, Alexa connects to a wide range of different smart home devices. Just activate and connect the relevant Smart Home skills in the interface and she can give you control to power everything from lighting to heating if you have the suitable technology in your home. Her possibilities are numerous and growing every day. 

 

What You Need to Control TV with Alexa

Losing the remote is just one instance where having the ability to control TV with Alexa can be useful. Quicker navigation of the TV's options and menus is another bonus to voice commands and the difficulty in using remotes for those less savvy is yet another way having control over the TV by voice alone is a lifesaver.  

In order to control TV with Alexa, you will need compatible devices and services such as:

  • Fire TV Cube
  • Fire TV Stick
  • A smart hub device
  • A compatible TV (LG, Sony, or Vizio) 
  • Logitech Harmony remote control system
  • Roku  
  • URC custom remote control system
  • Dish or DirecTV

How to Control TV with Alexa

To control TV with Alexa, you will need a compatible device like the Amazon Fire TV Cube. This gives Alexa control of your TV, your cable box, and other streaming equipment you have. The Fire TV cube comes with an instinctive interface, exceptional 4K HDR picture quality, and streaming apps like Hulu, Sling, and DirecTV Now.

You will also receive the Alexa remote for manual navigation if you don't feel like talking or Alexa doesn't find what you need. To control TV with Alexa using the Fire TV Cube you need to link your Alexa device to the Fire TV Cube using Alexa's app. Alexa does not work with every app. In addition to Amazon Prime Video, other apps supported by Alexa include Netflix, Hulu, NBC/NBC News, Fox Now, CBS, Freeform, STARZ Play, ESPN, Bravo Now, Crackle, PlayStation Vue, and Showtime/Showtime Anytime.


For Fire Tv Cube: 

  • Open the Alexa app and tap the menu icon 
  • Tap the music, video, and books option
  • Tap on the Fire TV option
  • Follow directions 
  • Tap on link devices to make sure it is confirmed

To control TV with Alexa using compatible TVs, there are steps for each that are similar with slight differences, therefore we will give steps for each brand.


For LG TVs:

  • Launch the set-up TV for Amazon Alexa app on the TV home screen 
  • Follow directions and create an LG account or log in, then select your TV 
  • Go to the mobile setup guide page, then go to the Alexa App on your smartphone, enable LG SmartThinQ Alexa skill, then link accounts
  • Finish additional instructions prompted by the TV if necessary

For Sony TVs:

  • Open the TV control set-up with the Amazon Alexa app from the TV home screen  
  • Select or create your Google account, then give your TV a name  
  • Follow directions, find and enable the Sony TV Alexa app on your phone, then follow directions to link the TV and Alexa device  

For Vizio TVs:

  • Launch the Smartcast home screen  
  • Using the remote, press up, then click on the extras tab  
  • Select voice settings, then pair display  
  • Use a phone to visit dms.vizio.com/alexa and enter the pin number shown on the TV 
  • Once prompted, enable Alexa voice skills in the Alexa app on the phone, then link accounts and devices  

Another way you can control TV with Alexa is through your TV via the Logitech Harmony Elite, Harmony Hub, Harmony Pro, Ultimate, and Ultimate Home remote control systems. If you want to be able to turn the TV on/off in addition to the other functions, Alexa can do this through the IFTTT app.  


For the Logitech Harmony Remote Control System:

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone
  • Tap the menu icon  
  • From skills, search for Harmony 
  • Tap the Harmony icon  
  • Go to the select activities page to customize devices and commands you want to use 
  • At the bottom of the screen that says, "now for the fun part" click link account to finish  

 To Use the IFTTT App:

  • Install the IFTTT app on your smartphone, then open it
  • Tap the page icon on the bottom right of the screen
  • Tap Alexa, use the search box if it doesn't show up, then tap it and follow directions
  • Once placed on the services list, tap and scroll down to activate the TV on/off option
  • Follow additional instructions if needed

If you want to control TV with Alexa using Roku TV or the Roku media streamer, you can use the Quick Remote app for Android and iOS.


To use Roku TV or Roku Media Streamer:

  • Download and install the app on your smartphone
  • Follow directions on the Quick Remote app download page to link Roku and Alexa

Once linked, voice commands navigate the Roku menu system. The Quick Remote app works with both plug-in Roku devices and TVs with built-in Roku features. It can also be used with the Alexa app or Alexa enabled devices, so even if you don't own an Alexa device you can still control Roku via the Alexa app on your phone. You also have the option of using the Quick Remote keypad on your phone if you're not near your Alexa device.

The download and installation of the Quick Remote app are free and you get 50 free commands a month, however, if you want to use more you will need a subscription costing $0.99/month or $9.99/year.  

If you have a custom installed theater system with a TV, you can link Alexa via a Universal Remote Control (URC) Total Control 2.0 system. Using the URC and Echo device with the TV requires an installer to set up the link and they will also develop the command infrastructure needed to operate and access the TV's content. The choice is yours whether you want the installer to create the voice commands or you can tell them what to use and the installer will make them work within the Alexa platform.  

Control your TV with Alexa via Dish and DirecTV cable providers. For DirecTV subscribers, there is an Alexa skill you can use for controlling certain set-top boxes including Genie (HR44, HR54) and Genie Minis (C31, C41, C41W, C51, C61, C61K, C61W).


For Dish Satellite Boxes:  

  • Open the Alexa app on your smartphone 
  • Select the music, video, and books option
  • Scroll through the list to find Dish TV 
  • Turn on the Internet connection for Dish Hopper or Wally 
  • Go to the menu settings, then Amazon Alexa, and get the code 
  • Enter code  
  • Choose activate 
  • Select done when you see a confirmation message  

Conclusion

Image Source : unsplash

In conclusion, Alexa devices can serve as a hub for your home's entertainment and smart devices. The compatibility of Alexa and other voice technologies is being integrated into more and more products every day. Using voice commands to control your TV allows for faster menu navigation, getting you to your shows a lot quicker and using Alexa versus a remote control seems almost magical.  

Although voice technology is rather new, it is easily adopted by people of all ages. They can learn to use the voice-activated 'personal assistants' with no user manuals and the fastest growing base of users includes seniors and women.

Featured Image via Pexels

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