What you need to know
- Amazon announced that it's bringing more interactive features to several of the smart TV platforms it works with, including webOS and Fire TV.
- The first major announcement is that Alexa will soon be available on many third-party TVs powered by LG's webOS platform.
- The other major announcement is that the company has brought support for Apple's AirPlay2 and HomeKit protocols to two of its newest Fire TV Edition sets.
This week Amazon and its partners announced a range of new interactive features that will be rolling out to a couple of major smart TV platforms, including existing Fire TV Edition sets and current and forthcoming webOS-powered devices.
Amazon and LG are adding push-to-talk Alexa capability to new and existing webOS smart TVs. Once the update goes live, webOS TV owners will simply need to long-press on the Amazon Prime Video button and speak into their TV's Magic Remote microphone to access the range of Alexa capabilities. For example, users can ask Alexa to open apps like YouTube, suggest content from a particular genre, or even control their smart lights. Beyond LG, there is a list of other manufacturers that offer webOS-powered smart TVs that will get this functionality, including Polaroid, RCA, and Skytech. This webOS and Alexa integration will be rolling out via an over-the-air update later this summer into early fall in North America. Other regions like Europe and Asia will follow after that.
If you happen to be a satisfied owner of one of the best Amazon Fire TV Edition televisions such as the 2020 Toshiba 4K UDH Smart Fire TV with Dolby Vision or the 2020 Insignia 4K UHD Smart TV, your devices now have even more functionality, especially if you or someone in your home is an iOS user. The Verge spotted an announcement by Amazon on its Fire TV blog yesterday detailing the update, which should now be available to owners of those devices.
AirPlay2 is Apple's streaming/casting protocol that lets you send content from your iPhone to other devices like smart TVs and smart speakers, and HomeKit is Apple's robust smart home platform. It's not clear yet if, or when, these Apple-focused features will come to Amazon's own Fire TV Sticks like the Fire TV Stick Lite, or its Fire TV Cube devices, though we'd be surprised if that doesn't happen in the coming months.
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