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Video Skill API Reference Overview (Multimodal Devices)

Video skill directives are requests sent from Alexa to your Lambda function. The directives are JSON messages that contain instructions about performing a specific action, like playing a video. There are various directives with different names and payloads, indexed and linked below.

Capabilities on Multimodal Devices

As described in the Introduction, multimodal devices offer the following capabilities:

Search:

Search using criteria like VideoName, ActorName, GenreName, etc., by querying the content providers for content to display. Potential utterances include:

  • "Search for movies with Tom Hanks."
  • "Find 'The Big Bang Theory.'"
  • "Find 'The Big Bang Theory' Season 1 episode 4."
  • "Search for Interstellar."
  • "Search for comedy movies."
  • "Search comedy movies with Tom Hanks."

Browse:

Browse a watch list, video library, recordings, etc., on the device. Potential utterances include:

  • "Show me my video library."
  • "Show me my watch list."
  • "Show me my recordings."

Pagination:

Users may go to the next page of search results, or scroll beyond the viewable search results on the screen. Sample utterances:

  • "Next page"

Quick Play:

Search for movies, TV shows, recording, etc., using criteria such as VideoName, ActorName, or GenreName by querying content providers for the content to play on the device. Then, go directly into playback of that content (instead of showing search results, etc.). Potential utterances include:

  • "Play a movie with Tom Hanks."
  • "Play Interstellar." 
  • "Play a comedy movie."
  • "Play 'The Big Bang Theory'."
  • "Play 'The Big Bang Theory' Season 1, episode 6."
  • "Play a movie." 

Channel Navigation:

Play a live stream or recording of a channel for the user. Potential utterances include:

  • "Tune to CNN."
  • "Tune to ESPN."

Play from Search Results:

Play a video from the search results shown on the device. The user can play using voice or simply by tapping on an item on the screen. Potential utterances include:

  • "Play number 1."
  • "Play the second one."
  • "Select number 1."
  • "Select the second one."

Recommendations:

Search for recommendations by explicitly asking for them. Potential utterances include:

  • "Show me recommended movies"
  • "Open Amazon Video"

The utterance "Open Amazon Video" translates to searching for recommendations.

Landing Page:

Alexa renders a landing page for your content (analogous to an app home screen) when the user says to open the app. Potential utterances include:

  • "Open your app name."

When users say any of the above, Alexa converts these phrases into directives that it passes on to your Lambda function. The directives are described in the following section.

Directives Alexa Sends

Alexa creates directives for the customer phrases listed above and sends them to your Lambda.

Scenario Directive Description
Quick Play GetPlayableItems This API is called when the user requests to play a video on the device. You can search content based on the criteria in the request and return entity ID for the video corresponding to the request. Result returned from this API should favor videos that the user is entitled to play through their subscription (if applicable). If there are no videos for that request, then an appropriate Error Response code should be returned. 
Channel Navigation, Quick Play GetPlayableItemsMetadata This API is called to obtain additional metadata for results you previously returned through GetPlayableItems for a set of entity IDs. The metadata contains information required for playing the video as well as to render an appropriate prompt to the user. 
Search, Landing Page GetDisplayableItems This API is called when the user requests to search videos and view results on the device. You can search content based on the criteria in the request and return entity IDs for the videos corresponding to the search request. If there is no content found for the request, then an appropriate error response should be returned.
Search, Landing Page GetDisplayableItemsMetadata This API is called to obtain additional metadata for results you previously returned via GetDisplayableItems for a set of entity IDs. The metadata contains information required by Alexa to display the entity IDs as search results on the device. 
Browse GetBrowseNodeItems Search results on Echo Show can be merged into browse nodes with multiple layers. Users can choose to drill down on those grouped result items by clicking on them to see more results under that grouping. This API should return items that are part of the specified group in the directive.
Pagination GetNextPage This API is called when the user tries to view more results on the screen by scrolling than are currently displayed on the screen. This directive is called to dynamically fetch more results to show on the screen, once the metadata for those results has been fetched.