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Matt Kruse avatar image
Matt Kruse asked

Amazon Fire TV - Now With Alexa!

The new Amazon TV Page at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U3FPN4U/ says it is "Now With Alexa". I wonder if other devices like the Fire TV will have the ability to install custom Skills? And will the API be expanded to show visual content? Maybe instead of cards we can return a url to display on the TV? I wish we had some visibility into the Alexa Roadmap. What do the rest of you think? Is there more potential for Alexa development beyond the Echo?
alexa skills kit
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jjaquinta avatar image
jjaquinta answered
Alexa depends on having cards, therefore they will find some way to either display the card on the FireTV, or else it will still display in the companion app. Absolutely, I think Alexa is designed to be well beyond the Echo. And that skills will transfer. Eventually I think you will be able to publish a skill, and possibly either restrict or omit it from different devices. Similarly device will probably be able to either support skills or not. I haven't really looked at the AVS libraries to be sure. My bet will be that FireTV will start off with no skill support, but that will then be added. And, yes, it is INCREDIBLY frustrating that we have no road map. How can we make business plans in the dark like this? Right now the field is so unpredictable that it isn't worth investing it, because there is no way to tell if you will ever get a return on that. The results is "gee whiz" skills, that people are doing for fun. If Amazon threw us a bone and give us some inkling to their thinking, that would encourage investment in their platform and lead to more serious skills. I expound on this a bit more in my latest blog, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/explaining-amazons-indifference-joseph-jaquinta But I conclude that just being a service provider is their business model, and is unlikely to change.
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M. Goodrich avatar image
M. Goodrich answered
fwiw, from an end user perspective what I'm waiting for is the ability to control my Amazon TV directly from my Echo. Sub-optimal to have a Echo sitting my living room but then having to walk over and pick up the remote to talk to my TV. But I assume this isn't too far away. Mark
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Mark E. Fogle avatar image
Mark E. Fogle answered
I think it's even more interesting that the Fire TV stick ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZVJAF9GG) has Alexa built in, if the voice remote is used. Seems like this would be great for anyone wanting to get into Alexa development without shelling out the money for an Echo.
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jjaquinta avatar image
jjaquinta answered
April came up with some very clever invocations to prove that Alexa is, at least, programmatically aware of FireTV at some level. https://www.reddit.com/r/amazonecho/comments/3laze1/new_fire_tv_tablets_now_available_for_order_fire/ I agree with her conclusions that it means that integration is going to happen at some point. Just like with all things Amazon, they aren't tell anyone when.
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April L. Hamilton avatar image
April L. Hamilton answered
Thanks for the shoutout, jjaquinta. :) The response I used to get, something like, "Sorry, I didn't find [name of Fire TV device] in April's profile," disappeared within a couple days of when I first discovered it. So it could be something from a development path that Amazon subsequently abandoned, or it could've been an unintended reveal on something they're still working on. I hope it's the latter. It'd be nice to have the option of using [i]either[/i] the Echo [i]or[/i] the Fire TV voice remote.
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James Chivers avatar image
James Chivers answered
I can confirm that although there's no explicit menu option within the Fire TV options to enable skills, as long as you enable them via the Alexa App on your phone/tablet/web app, they will respond when queried via the Fire TV remote. Tested my skills including TV Shows (what else, right?) and it works well (albeit we *need* cards!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2036up8eu8
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