Yes, another Alexa topic. I thought about adding this to one of them, but I thought it would get buried and was worthy as a separate point.
A couple days again, Amazon setup an integration between Echo and FireTV. That may be a little confusing since both use Alexa, but the idea is that you can give a command to an Echo to perform an action on a FireTv. Here are the basics of the new feature.
-Setup requires that you pair a specific named echo device to a specific firetv. I would assume that would typically be where you have both tv and echo in the same room. You can use certain devices that use Alexa, like an fire tablet, app, or another firetv, to control firetv. Makes senses as it would add complications and defeat the main value of the integration.
- Basic commands are to search, play, pause, resume, and launch an app. Additionally features are there for the Element TV with firetv built in.
- You don't need to denote your command to firetv. In other words, if you say 'Play Rogue One', it knows it's video and will play on the tv, not assume you meant music that it can't find. (I actually would prefer if it played both video and music through the fire tv)
- The search seems to be limited to Amazon sources. For example, searching for Rogue One will show you that it's available for purchase from Amazon, but won't show you that it's currently on Netflix. That was somewhat surprise as a native search on FireTV would show what's on Netflix.
- It doesn't look like you can perform actions on a firetv that wasn't directly linked, just by naming that firetv.
So what incite does this give to the Sonos integration?
- Amazon has been busy with integrations. People have been assuming that Sonos is the cause of any perceived delay in Echo/Sonos integration, but clearly Amazon has other integration concerns. I can see where Amazon may be more focused on it's own products first. It may also be that this integration is deemed as a better guinea pig than a Sonos integration. Are there other integrations higher on the priority list than Sonos?
- Again, regarding the complexity of the integration, this integration seems easier than Sonos. However, it just came out, when I imagine the need for it was decided probably back in Janauary, I'd guess. Somewhat shows that these integrations may not be as easy as customers like to think.
- I find it interesting that Amazon seems to be looking to control audio and video control in your home.
- The direct link between Echo/FireTV setup is probably what we'll see with Sonos. It's good to see that multiple links are allowed. However, I think Sonos will insist that the user control other non-linked sonos by naming the zone in your command.
- The fact that you don't have to specify 'on firetv' surely means that you won't have to do similar with Sonos. We were already told that, but I think this reinforces that.
- I really hope that the ability to search for the Sonos/Alexa integration is not limited to Amazon sources. This would be a big liability I think. I do not know if this search was limited intentionally or to get some form of search out immediately. I tend to think it was limited intentionally.