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Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.

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Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« on: August 02, 2017, 10:01:33 pm »
I've looked all over and can't seem to find anything on this (which is probably a bad sign). I want to know how to use Alexa to navigate my Fire TV stick.

The problem I'm having is that the show I want to watch isn't responding when I say, "Watch such and such". I'm trying to play "Superman: The Animated Series" and every time I tell it to watch that, it turns on "Batman: The Animated Series". So I figured, "OK... I'll just go about it a different way". I say "Search for Superman" and it brings up three videos that match that description: two old Superman movies and the show I want to watch. Now I'm thinking, "OK... this is gonna work". But lo and behold, even though the video I want is right in front of my face, and can't navigate to it or start it. I can't even start the video that's already highlighted (one of the old Superman movies).

I've tried "go right" or "go down" or "select this video" or "start this video" and a billion other things, but there doesn't appear to be a command that actually allows Alexa to move through the Fire TV interface, which of course makes it absolutely useless for watching anything that you don't already know the name of (or that doesn't respond properly to its name). I tried browsing a category, but after it brings up the category I can only see the first four videos in that category on the screen, and there's no way to browse it any further, which of course makes browsing absolutely useless for anything other than the first few videos in that category.

So what am I missing? Or is this feature of very limited use, like it seems to be?

WATYF

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 02:39:14 am »
Yes, it is very limited use, although I had heard there will be more features soon.  Basically, even if they add more features I likely won't use it.  Don't need Alexa for everything!

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 08:00:19 am »
I agree with Mike... There are some things you just don't need alexa for anyway... I find it much easier and you already have the remote in your hand... to just navigate and make things happen with the remote. Since the Fire TV remote doesn't do anything except with the remote (with Alexa), I kinda think the Alexa app is not only useless, but a gimmick in that application... enticing people to buy something that really is lackluster. Fire TV and Fire Stick are OK anyway, for the money... Selling the voice control is literally redundant use of the same remote... and the voice version of it sucks pretty bad.
My Alexa environment includes :
1 Full Sized Echo
3 Echo Dots 2nd gen
2 Echo Dot 3rd gen, One with Clock
1 Echo Spot
Several Hue Lights with a single bridge
5 Fire Tablets (1 as a control panel in Kitchen)
One Ring Doorbell Pro
Also 4 cell phones with Alexa app installed!
You should see My Apple Device List!

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 02:52:42 pm »
I just don't see the point in allowing Alexa to control a very small aspect of Fire TV but not enough to actually use it fully. You can do a search, but can't pick one of the search results? What's the point of that?

And I would very much like to use Alexa for this because I hate the FireTV remote app. There is a big delay each time you wake your phone in order to use the app while it sits there and says "Reconnecting", so I was hoping Alexa would allow me to forego that piece of junk entirely. Apparently not.

WATYF

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 08:45:59 pm »
Why bother with the AFTV app?  The remote control works fine and quickly.

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 08:55:54 pm »
Again... Mike has a point... the remote it comes with works better than anything out there... and doing the controls with it is even easier than trying to voice navigate with the remote... It works... but the functionality is terrible for voice.
My Alexa environment includes :
1 Full Sized Echo
3 Echo Dots 2nd gen
2 Echo Dot 3rd gen, One with Clock
1 Echo Spot
Several Hue Lights with a single bridge
5 Fire Tablets (1 as a control panel in Kitchen)
One Ring Doorbell Pro
Also 4 cell phones with Alexa app installed!
You should see My Apple Device List!

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 08:38:13 am »
Well, first off, the entire point of Alexa is to use voice control for things that you would normally do with some other kind of interface. It's like saying, "Why bother with Alexa for playing music when you can just play it from your PC?"

Second, I don't like keeping multiple remotes laying around (more for my kids to break or lose). I have one remote that controls my cable/dvd/tv and that's it. On the occasions that I use Amazon to watch videos (which isn't very often), I just use the app.

WATYF

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 12:59:25 pm »
Then do what YOU want to do, and stop with all the negative chatter.  Gotta complaint?  Tell Amazon!

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 07:43:12 pm »
Interestingly enough, today I got the Alexa Email for the week, and it says you may now control your FireTV with Echo...

:::: Echo control of Fire TV::::
Now you can control any Amazon Fire TV with your Echo device. Let Alexa help you start a show, open your favorite apps, find a good movie to watch, control playback, and more. Learn more. Just ask:

Alexa, play The Last Tycoon on Fire TV.
Alexa, pause.
My Alexa environment includes :
1 Full Sized Echo
3 Echo Dots 2nd gen
2 Echo Dot 3rd gen, One with Clock
1 Echo Spot
Several Hue Lights with a single bridge
5 Fire Tablets (1 as a control panel in Kitchen)
One Ring Doorbell Pro
Also 4 cell phones with Alexa app installed!
You should see My Apple Device List!

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2017, 07:17:37 pm »
Just to fill in some blanks here, for those that don't know, the FireTV version of Alexa already has some limited control capability...

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=202104940

Why Amazon elected to hide these commands so well is anybody's guess...and here are 3 articles from the popular AFTVNews site that discusses the new capabilities...

http://www.aftvnews.com/alexa-devices-can-now-control-the-amazon-fire-tv/

http://www.aftvnews.com/how-linking-alexa-devices-to-the-amazon-fire-tv-fire-tv-stick-or-fire-tv-edition-television-works/

http://www.aftvnews.com/tip-use-sight-based-commands-when-controlling-the-amazon-fire-tv-through-an-alexa-device/

Now it's fun to play with, but it isn't quite up to replacing your remote yet. There are still a few bugs, hopefully to be worked on in future releases. For example, I haven't found a command yet to play the USA Network app, even tho I have it installed. It doesn't work inside every app, either - for example, changing channels on Pluto TV. I haven't tried this yet, but the voice commands likely can't invoke the various hidden modes yet, such as System Xray. I'd like to see it search your installed apps first before searching everything else. And as I expected, it won't invoke a sideloaded app like Kodi. Still it's a step in the right direction. 

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2017, 11:55:09 pm »
I am about to go watch a movie from my NAS on FireTV that is running Kodi.  I bet the AFTV would barf if I asked Alexa to find the movie and play it. Hey, give me the FTV remote!

Offline Jerome

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Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2017, 01:31:59 pm »
I am about to go watch a movie from my NAS on FireTV that is running Kodi.  I bet the AFTV would barf if I asked Alexa to find the movie and play it. Hey, give me the FTV remote!
Mike,
I was interested by the new Fire TV in order to, just like you, watch my movies stored on my Synology NAS thanks to Kodi.
Do you confirm that you cannot vocally launch a movie off the NAS with Kodi opening with one single command ?
If not, can you just vocally open Kodi and then you need the AFTV remote to browse/launch the movie ?
2 Echo (1st gen/3rd gen) - 4 Echo Dots (2nd gen/3rd gen) - 1 Echo Show 5 - 1 Google Home Mini | in France

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2017, 08:05:22 pm »
Is it possible to start a specific TV show, on a specific app?  For example, "play Seinfeld on Hulu".  When I tried that, it seemed to ignore the "on Hulu" part.

However when I tried "play Downton Abbey", it started playing the show, in the Amazon Prime Video app.  So somehow it knew to play that particular show, in that app.  Now I wonder, how do you let it know to play show X in app Y.

Re: Using Alexa to navigate Fire TV.
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2020, 07:45:42 am »
old message - but does anyone have a good list of the definitive commands that work with ALEXA and FIRETV?  Cant seem to find anything except some random youtube videos that do not discuss SELECT or PLAY very much at all.