At this stage it’s probably easier just to list the tasks that Alexa and your Amazon Echo can’t do, such is the expanding reach of Amazon’s digital assistant. The latest smart gadgets to come under Alexa’s spell are selected televisions from US manufacturer Vizio.
The company has announced that its 2017 and 2016 SmartCast P, M and E-Series 4K display sets can be controlled via a new Alexa skill you install on your Echo – so you can’t bark out voice commands to the TVs themselves, but you can control them by talking to your Amazon smart speaker, once you’ve set up the skill.
Right out of the gate you can use the feature to turn your TV on and off, adjust the volume, and switch to a different input. Depending on which app you’re currently using on the television, you might be able to pause, rewind and fast forward playback too.
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The aim of the new skill is to make life more convenient for users, according to Vizio Chief Technology Officer Bill Baxter. Now you don’t even have to reach for the remote control to get your smart TV to do your bidding.
As we saw at CES 2018, voice assistants are a good fit for smart TVs: remotes are all well and good, but asking out loud for your favorite Netflix show beats five minutes of scrolling through a menu every time. You can expect to have just about every top-end TV come with some kind of voice assistant built-in in the future.
Amazon Alexa, meanwhile, now has tens of thousands of skills to its name, in addition to all the integrated things the assistant can do, like tell you the weather forecast or read out your calendar schedule. Here are a few of the most useful Alexa commands.