Today we are happy to announce that the Alexa Smart Home Skill API entertainment device controls are available in the UK. Now customers can easily control cloud-connected TVs, AV Receivers, IR Hubs, and even connected speakers without invoking a specific skill. For example, a customer could simply say, “Alexa, turn on the TV,” “Alexa, fast forward,” “Alexa, make it louder,” or “Alexa, switch input to Blu-Ray.” You create skills that connect devices directly to the entertainment capabilities in Alexa so that customers can control your devices using their voice. Launching today are smart home skills with entertainment controls from Sony and Logitech Harmony. Other skills are coming soon.
Voice Control TVs, AV Receivers, and IR Hubs
We are making it easy and intuitive for customers to enjoy their content on any capable device, without needing to think about how devices are connected. As an Alexa skills developer, you can now give you customers the ability to use Alexa to control their home entertainment devices (power, channel, volume, inputs, and transport). Because the Smart Home Skill API taps into Amazon’s standardized Alexa language model, you don’t need to build the voice interaction model for your skill. Alexa will understand the customer’s speech, convert it to a directive, and send that directive to your skill adapter. Your skill adapter can then communicate with your device to act on the directive and send a response back to Alexa. These capabilities are now available to developers in the UK.
Here are some utterances you can leverage for your skill:
||Alexa, discover devices
|Power Controls (On/Off)
||Alexa, turn on/turn off TV
|Channel Change Controls
Alexa, change channel to [channel name] on TV
Alexa, change channel to [channel name] on Kitchen
Alexa, channel up/down on TV Alexa, next/previous channel on Bob's room
|Volume Change Controls
Alexa, increase/decrease volume on TV
Alexa, set volume to 100 on TV
Alexa, mute/unmute my TV Alexa increase/decrease volume by 20 on Kitchen
|Transport Controls (Play/Pause/Rewind/Forward/Stop)
Alexa, pause/resume on Bob's TV
Alexa, start over on TV
Alexa, previous(song/video/channel/photo) on TV
Alexa, next (song/video/channel/photo) on TV
Alexa, go forward on Kitchen
Alexa, rewind/fast forward on [channel name]
Alexa, eject on DVD
Alexa, load on BluRay
|Input Switching Controls
||Alexa, switch input to Fire TV on TV
How Companies Are Using the New Entertainment Capabilities in the Smart Home Skill API
Sony and Logitech have already created Alexa skills leveraging these new capabilities launching today.
- Sony has enabled customers in UK with its 2016 and 2017 4K HDR Android TVs* to simply ask Alexa to power on/off, change volume, change channel by number or name, switch inputs, and control content using Play and Pause. It has also enabled customers to change channel via Alexa by connecting their set-top box to the TV. Sony also enables controlling functions of devices connected to the TV via IR Blaster
- Logitech Harmony has created a Smart Home skill with entertainment controls. This provides customers greater control over their entertainment devices by supporting a more native way to play, pause, skip forward, change the channel, or control volume. Customers can use Alexa to control their TV, favorite media players, and speakers for a completely hands-free entertainment experience.
* Sony 2016 Android TVs: XD70, XD75, XD80, SD80, XD83 and ZD9 Series and 2017 Android TVs: XE80, XE83, XE85, XE90, XE93, XE94 and A1 Series
You can connect your entertainment device to Alexa by following these steps:
Register or log in to the developer portal.
- Create and name your skill in the Alexa Skills Kit by selecting the Smart Home Skill API.
- Configure your AWS Lambda function to use the Alexa Smart Home trigger.
- Add code that processes messages from Alexa to communicate with your entertainment device. To do this, you will select payload version 3 in the developer portal when you create your skill. Learn more.
- Finish registering your skill in the developer portal by providing skill descriptions, images, and account linking information.
- Enable the skill on an Alexa device and test it thoroughly.
- Submit for certification.
We look forward to seeing what you create with these new capabilities. To learn more about developing a smart home skill, check out these resources:
Build a New Skill, Earn Developer Perks
Bring your big idea to life with Alexa and earn perks through our tiered rewards system. If you need inspiration, consider creating a holiday-themed skill to get into the holiday spirit. Check out our promotions in the UK, Germany, and the US. Learn more about our promotion and start building today.