Published: Wed, November 20, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Amazon's Fire TV Blaster add-on brings Alexa control your TV

Amazon's Fire TV Blaster add-on brings Alexa control your TV

Amazon says it believes that voice is one of the most natural ways to control your TV and that it helps eliminate the need more multiple remotes.

The now-official Fire TV Blaster brings hands-free Alexa control to existing compatible TVs or soundbars; there's also control for cable boxes in the U.S., but Amazon's United Kingdom listing states that the gadget is not compatible with satellite boxes here in Blighty. As well ask barking at Alexa to "play Mr Robot" or "fast-forward 10 minutes", the digital assistant will be able to power on-off your TV, change the volume, or switch input.

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You can find the Fire TV Blaster on Amazon HERE. It won't work with Fire TV Edition televisions or soundbars, and in order to function correctly it needs to sit 1-2 feet away from the device you want to control and with the LED facing where you typically sit.

The Fire TV Blaster is created to be added to the mix when you're already using an Echo paired with a Fire TV. Amazon notes the following hardware is supported: Echos with Fire TV Sticks, the Fire TV Stick 4K and the 3rd Gen Fire TV. That last point relies on having compatible TV equipment, though I'm not convinced of the claim voice is more natural. Plus, many customers already own a Fire TV Stick or other Fire TV device, and just want to extend its functionality. If you need a TV Stick and Echo to make it work, Amazon is offering a bundle including the Blaster, a Fire TV Stick 4K, and an Echo Dot for $79.99, which is a saving of $54.98 over the cost of buying the three devices separately. The Echo device is required because the Fire TV Blaster doesn't have a microphone or speaker of its own.

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