Amazon Alexa can now control DVRs for DirecTV, Dish Network

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon's Alexa just got even smarter. (Amazon)

A new addition to Amazon’s Video Skills API has enabled Amazon assistant Alexa to record TV shows on DirecTV, TiVo, Dish and Verizon services through voice commands. 

In a post on its Alexa developer blog, Amazon said the additions—supported by updates from the video service providers—deepen Alexa’s interface with video content and services, letting customers find and consume video content, launch apps and control playback “without lifting a finger.”

Now, a customer can say, “Alexa, record the Mariners game,” and their live TV provider service will set the recording. 

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“Customers are increasingly using voice interfaces as a hands-free way to manage their lives. By using Alexa’s built-in video content controls, customers on millions of Alexa devices only have to ‘ask' for your content and it's at their command,” the post said.

Launch capacity allows customers to launch apps and access commonly used menu and navigation shortcuts like Guide, Home and DVR. Asking, “Alexa, launch Prime Video,” for instance, lets you navigate directly to the Prime Video app and to move within a video provider’s interface.

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And state reporting helps service providers send updates reflecting customers’ video playback status, making possible for them to ask Alexa to pause, play or rewind.

“DISH customers love the convenience that our Alexa compatibility brings to their home entertainment,” said Niraj Desai, DISH vice president of product management. “With Amazon’s updates to the Video Skill API, DISH has the ability to deepen our Alexa integration and continue working toward providing our customers with a completely Hands-Free TV experience.”

“By integrating with Amazon’s Video Skill API, TiVo is making it even easier to control entertainment with your voice,” added Ted Malone, vice president of consumer products and services at TiVo. “Simply ask Alexa to change the TV channel using either the channel name or number. Pause, fast forward or rewind any of your live TV, DVR recordings and popular Internet streaming services."