Lots of people yell things at their televisions. Nowadays, however, it’s a lot more likely that your television is going to talk right back.



Amazon on Tuesday announced that it is adding new features to its voice-activated app, Alexa, as it works with its Fire TV set-top box empowering the assistant to start videos, search for particular movies or television shows. You can even look up local restaurants if you need dinner after your binge-watching session ate up your lunch.

The company said that those features and others such as being able to have Alexa read you your Kindle e-books through your Fire TV would come in the “coming weeks.” (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.)

It’s also adding YouTube’s catalog of 4K content for streaming on the Fire TV.

Amazon’s clearly taking video more and more seriously over time, particularly with is recent announcement that it will take on Google’s YouTube by encouraging Amazon users to submit their own videos to its new Amazon Direct video platform.

But the retailing giant’s also got its eye on a much wider picture. This Alexa addition to the Fire TV actually pulls a few of the firm’s threads together its push into artificial intelligence through Alexa, its video expansion and its attempt to take a foothold in the smart home market. That sharpens a competition with two opponents, Google and Apple, which are also actively pursuing each of those areas.

None of them have woven it all together quite yet. A truly killer piece of hardware might have to successfully bring all three areas entertainment, smart appliances and voice control together, and make them compatible with a wide variety of products. Amazon’s Tuesday announcement, for example, didn’t include any mention of bringing Alexa’s smart-home control capabilities to Fire TV. Apple has meanwhile expanded its Apple TV set-top box to work with Siri and its own smart appliance operating system, HomeKit but there aren’t that many HomeKit compatible devices. Google is expected to go a slightly different route, by skipping the television (for now) and introducing an Amazon Echo-like speaker and voice-controlled home hub currently codenamed as “Chirp.”

Amazon’s latest announcement takes a tiny step forward for consumers looking to buy a Star Trek-esque voice-control system for their very own homes but, for most, it’s probably still not quite time to open those wallets.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)