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Process Overview for Implementing the VSK for Fire TV

This integration tutorial will help you integrate a Fire TV video-streaming app with Alexa video skills using Amazon Device Messaging (ADM). Following this integration, you will be able to use your Echo or Fire TV voice remote to directly control your integrated Fire TV app. For a higher-level overview of the integration, see Video Skills Kit for Fire TV Apps Overview.

Video Skill and Lambda Overview

With Fire TV apps, Alexa listens for utterances from users and then converts the utterances into directives. A directive is a set of data and instructions, expressed in JSON, sent from Alexa to your Lambda function in the cloud.

For example, when a user says "Play Bosch," Alexa converts this into a search directive that has a specific JSON structure. Other types of directives include play directives, channel change directives, and more. Alexa does the work of mapping the user's utterances into the formal directives that can be processed programmatically.

The Video Skill API then delivers these directives to your Lambda code on AWS. Lambda is an AWS service that runs code in the cloud without requiring you to have a server to host the code. Your Lambda code can process the directives from the video skill. Your Lambda then sends actions to your app using Amazon Device Messaging (ADM).

Outcomes After the Integration

In the first part of the integration process, you'll set up a video skill, sample Fire TV app, and basic Lambda function as a quick way to test out the VSK implementation. This will give you a way to see the video skill in action with Alexa responding to user requests, all interacting with a Fire TV app to find and play video. You'll enable the following interaction on an Alexa-enabled device or app. After starting your app, assuming your video skill is called "Streamz", the following interactions will be supported:

User: Alexa, watch Big Buck Bunny

Alexa: Getting Big Buck Bunny from Streamz

User: Alexa, find Big Buck Bunny

Alexa: Getting Big Buck Bunny from Streamz.

User: Alexa, play

User: Alexa, pause

Interaction ends.

The sample app just has a few video titles in its catalog and doesn't support channel change or more advanced directives. In later steps in the integration process, you will customize your Lambda to handle the directives your app supports.

Integration Steps

The process for integrating the Video Skill API into your Fire TV app is broken into the following steps:

To demonstrate the integration, a sample Fire TV app is included that incorporates the Alexa Client Library, ADM, and has some other logic to parse messages and play matching catalog titles. The sample app is forked from Fire App Builder, a Java-based framework for building streaming media apps. You aren't required to use this sample app in the implementation steps — you could perform the same steps using your own app. The instructions will present options for both paths (either using the sample app or your real app).

Get Started

Go to the first step of the integration process by going to Step 1: Create Your Video Skill and Set Up Devices.