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Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV

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Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« on: April 30, 2016, 07:35:14 am »
I have a handicapped son wheelchair bound that cannot use his hands. But he can speak clearly enough except he cannot say the word Alexia. Which is another subject thread how to change the name to something he can pronounce. But I purchased the Amazon Echo for playing his Audible Books.and to control the Amazon Fire TV. Why can't I tell The Echo to play a movie on the Fire TV? I expected this capability and very dispointed I bought a $180 paper weight. There is no way my son can operate the Fire TV remote. I've Googled for an answer and searched the Amazon Help site and found nothing.

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 08:43:25 am »
I have a handicapped son wheelchair bound that cannot use his hands. But he can speak clearly enough except he cannot say the word Alexia. Which is another subject thread how to change the name to something he can pronounce.

Have you read anything that came with your Echo or explored the app you used to set it up?  Your options for changing the "wake word" and how to do so are both covered in the setup procedure: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201601770

But I purchased the Amazon Echo for playing his Audible Books.and to control the Amazon Fire TV. Why can't I tell The Echo to play a movie on the Fire TV? I expected this capability

Why did you expect that?  It's not advertised nor otherwise claimed as a capability of the Echo.  That said, there is at least one way to control your Fire TV using your Echo, but it requires installing a 3rd party app named "Kodi" on the Fire device and enabling 3rd party Alexa "skill"on your Echo: http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=258165

Bear in mind that this will require a little work and possibly research by you to resolve any problems you might encounter in getting things set up.

...and very dispointed I bought a $180 paper weight.

The fact that the Echo doesn't do one thing...and something Amazon doesn't claim it does...hardly makes it a paper weight.  It's a very capable device, and you might find it extremely useful to your son if you begin exploring its ever-expanding integration with numerous so-called "smart home" devices, in addition to its information retrieval capabilities.

There is no way my son can operate the Fire TV remote. I've Googled for an answer and searched the Amazon Help site and found nothing.

Googling "using echo control fire tv" results in links to information on the Kodi app, as well as some other solutions people have hobbled together themselves  (based on things like the IFTTT service, etc.)

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 11:59:15 am »
Thank you all for the response. I didn't find Kodi  app when I was searching but I know what to look for now. I'm not totally happy that I have to use a 3rd party app and work at configuring it to get one Amazon device with the same OS to work with another Amazon device. That is very short sighted of them. I do hope they add that as a new feature upgrade sone day. In the meantime I will give it a try.

As to changing the wake up name for Alexia, last time I read these forums a few months ago there was a thread complaining you couldn't change it. I will look into that too.
Thanks all.

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2016, 01:28:27 pm »
I'm not totally happy that I have to use a 3rd party app and work at configuring it to get one Amazon device with the same OS to work with another Amazon device.

The Echo and Fire TV do not use the same OS, though that's not really all that relevant here anyway.  And although it doesn't help in your particular case, Amazon has added Alexa capability to the Fire TV and Stick.  You just need either an optional voice remote (for the TV) or mobile app (for the Stick) and you can voice-control those devices...though it requires the press of a button to activate.

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 01:51:37 pm »
The Alexa capability is not available for the original Fire Stick/box, it is only available with the subsequent newer devices.

Each Amazon device has its own support page.  The brief start up instructions are not enough instructions, you need the web page for support.  Here is one for the Echo, and there is another one for the Fire TV depending upon the model you have:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201399130

This is the link for all supported devices you have:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_bc_nav?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200127470

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2016, 08:32:10 pm »
you know there are voice activated remotes available.  also there smart tvs that have voice recognition.

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2016, 06:25:59 pm »
The Alexa capability is not available for the original Fire Stick/box, it is only available with the subsequent newer devices.

This is not true. All FireTVs and FireSticks were upgraded automatically to FireTV OS 5.0.5 back in February/early March. This Update included all of the Alexa features that the 2nd generation FireTVs have. I have two first gen and one second gen FireTV and all have identical Alexa capabilities. They can basically do anything the Echo can accept for setting timers/alarms but they require a button press on the voice remote.

http://www.aftvnews.com/fire-tv-software-update-5-0-5-begins-rolling-out-to-1st-gen-devices/

Before you can expect the Echo to natively control the FireTV, I would expect the voice features on the FireTV to need to be upgraded from simple voice search functionality to voice control. Right now, you cannot tell the FireTV to play a specific movie even with its own voice remote. You have to say the name of the movie, select the text that corresponds with what you have said, then select the proper movie/app from the choices that appear, and then start it. You cannot start something, pause it, exit, FF, RW, turn on closed captions, or any other such functionality via voice control, so to expect an independent device to be able to do so is unrealistic. However, once the FireTV is capable of such automation, then it probably won't be too hard for the Echo to integrate with it and take over control via voice without the need for the remote.

A Harmony Hub can integrate with Echo. This would give you the ability to tell Echo (through IFTTT or SmartThings) to "Trigger Watch TV" and it will turn on all the needed devices, set the appropriate inputs, and such so your FireTV is ready to use. Conversely, you can tell it to "Trigger Turn Off TV" and it will turn off all the associated devices. However, you still cannot easily tell it to start a specific movie, turn the volume up or down, FF, Pause, Play, Rewind, Exit, etc.

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2016, 04:57:34 am »
I had heard about this upgrade, I got it, and I have seen no notice from Amazon what the heck to do with it on my gen1 Fire Stick.  No hints in Alexa app other than a notice that "Playback control not supported". So, what's the point? What can I do with it right now with an older Fire stick and no voice remote for it?  Does it have any utility that is new other than new software?

Offline dxguy

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2016, 08:19:24 am »
I have 2 first gen fire stick and 2 second gen with voice remote. Before the update the voice remote will refuse to pair with the first gen fire stick. Since the update I can pair the remote with both the first gen and the second gen fire stick. Both work identically with the voice remote.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2016, 11:04:38 am »
Yes, the second gen stick and set top box use a WiFi remote. The first gen uses Bluetooth. So the remotes were not interchangeable. The upgrade to Fire OS 5.0.5 added WiFi remote support to the 1st gen devices, effectively making the second gen WiFi remotes work on the 1st gen devices (1st gen Bluetooth remotes will not work on 2nd gen devices, however). They did this to simplify the ordering of replacement remotes - they no longer need to carry the Bluetooth remote as the WiFi remote will work with all devices and there will be no confusion to users as to which remote they need.

Because the 1st generation stick did not come with a voice remote, you would either need to purchase a voice remote separately, or you can install the free FireTV remote app on your phone or tablet (http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Fire-TV-Remote-App/dp/B00ODIASKC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462201209&sr=8-1&keywords=fire+stick+app) and use that to trigger the voice search feature or Alexa on the Fire TV. The 1st generation set top box did come with a voice remote, so no additional equipment needed.


Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2016, 02:35:30 pm »
Thanks for reminding me I had the Fire TV app installed on a Kindle HD tablet.  Yes, the interaction with Alexa works with the app.  I installed the app a long time ago and found I preferred using the remote and had forgotten about the app.  I just finished installing app on another Kindle, as well as iPhone and iPad. Had a few issues, and retries, and finally got all installed.

As little as we use the Fire Stick (prefer using other devices) the app will still get minimal use here.  Although, a house with no Echos will find app useful for Alexa.

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2016, 07:55:21 pm »
Ok, I need to see if this Amazon Echo is worth keeping for my handicapped son. He is 20 and cannot use a remote control. He has to yell for someone else to come change the channel or switch boxes or apps. We want him to be self sufficient. The idea of him being able to turn on and off his nightstand light is great. But not the primary purpose in his world.

1. I tried all three names, Echo, Amazon and Alexa. The Echo trigger word has only triggered twice after 200 tries in the last week and we completed the Training Session 5 times now. My son will scream it, whisper it, say it long and slow, say it fast, try a lower voice and a higher pitch voice. Only 2 times did the Echo trigger for my son. The funny thing is, he played the Roleplaying game kinda like ZORK. Called "The Magic Door". Echo described the scene and my son answers it correctly 90% of the time. He beat the game. Its the Trigger words that do not work.

2. Since Echo cannot control the the Fire TV box. So what's the point?

3. I was told in this thread that ""Trigger Watch TV" and it will turn on all the needed devices". To us that is of no use. All the devices are on 24/7. We just change Inputs on the Sony Smart TV.
We have:

Sony Smart TV
Fire TV box
Cox Cable Contour box ( its an HD cable box with 6 built in DVR's and 2 TB HD space.)
PlayStation 4 to watch Netflix, Hulu and Youtube and play games for my other son.

Offline dxguy

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2016, 08:26:13 pm »
By using Echo in combination with Harmony Hub and IFTTT you can voice control the TV to change channels, change volume, power on/off, and any other task that is normally controlled by an IR remote.

To set it all up isn't all that easy.  But it is much easier than say, SmartThings or a Raspberry Pi setup. It takes some trial and error. And even when set up correctly,  it isn't 100% reliable. However, it may be just enough to feel liberated.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2016, 09:15:59 pm »
Ok, I need to see if this Amazon Echo is worth keeping for my handicapped son. He is 20 and cannot use a remote control. He has to yell for someone else to come change the channel or switch boxes or apps. We want him to be self sufficient. The idea of him being able to turn on and off his nightstand light is great. But not the primary purpose in his world.

The Echo has many other capabilities (especially if you invest the time and money into home automation), with more being added all the time.  But of course only you and your son can determine which if these things is of real use to you/him.

1. I tried all three names, Echo, Amazon and Alexa. The Echo trigger word has only triggered twice after 200 tries in the last week and we completed the Training Session 5 times now. My son will scream it, whisper it, say it long and slow, say it fast, try a lower voice and a higher pitch voice. Only 2 times did the Echo trigger for my son. The funny thing is, he played the Roleplaying game kinda like ZORK. Called "The Magic Door". Echo described the scene and my son answers it correctly 90% of the time. He beat the game. Its the Trigger words that do not work.

I'm not certain what the issue is there.  One of the more impressive features of the Echo, and one of the most consistently positive bits of feedback given on it is its ability to reliably and accurately understand clear speech regardless of who is doing the speaking.  Not perfectly, of course, but far better than just about any other consumer-oriented speech recognition technology that's been available previously.  Both of mine as well as my sister-in-law's have no trouble at all understanding commands from different people, all with with different voices and accents, provided they speak clearly...and that includes reliably triggering on the "wake word" (which is "Alexa" for both of my Echos).

2. Since Echo cannot control the the Fire TV box. So what's the point?

See my first response.  You may well yet find the Echo to be a very useful tool for your son.

3. I was told in this thread that ""Trigger Watch TV" and it will turn on all the needed devices". To us that is of no use. All the devices are on 24/7. We just change Inputs on the Sony Smart TV.
We have:

Sony Smart TV
Fire TV box
Cox Cable Contour box ( its an HD cable box with 6 built in DVR's and 2 TB HD space.)
PlayStation 4 to watch Netflix, Hulu and Youtube and play games for my other son.

Much (though perhaps not all) of that can be tackled with a combination of the Echo and other home automation products.  But as I said previously, that requires some tinkering that, while it's all well and good for geeks like me, might not be your cup of tea.  Do you know anyone who is technically savvy when it comes to this sort of stuff who could maybe help you look into your options and then maybe help you get it set up in some way that would address at least the bulk of the issues in question?

Re: Disappointed Amazon Echo does not control.Amazon Fire TV
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2016, 10:55:56 pm »
To the OP:

Have you called Amazon Echo Support:  1-877-375-9365

Amazon likely has people to help those with disabilities, so be sure to speak with someone experienced in this kind of help.  Ask to be transferred to the advanced level of assistance.

Also, you might have a problem with your Echo if you are having so much difficultly with the wake word "echo". I have two Amazon Dots with that name, and they have no problem answering to that name.