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Release Notes (VSK Fire TV)

Release notes for VSK for Fire TV and Alexa Client Library are provided here.

VSK Fire TV Release Notes

The following tables provide release notes for the VSK for Fire TV.

Date Description
Sept 28, 2020 App-only integration released. App-only integrations provide a more efficient and simple way to integrate the VSK into your Fire TV app, allowing you to work directly in your app's Android code rather than configuring external services (e.g., ADM, Lambda, CloudWatch, IAM). With app-only integrations, a service on Fire TV called the VSK Agent routes directives from Alexa to your app by way of broadcast intents. A BroadcastReceiver in your app handles the intents. Based on the intents, you fulfill the user's requests in your app (often by retrieving or playing the requested content). To get started, see App-only Integration Overview.
August 10, 2020 New entity types. Three new entity types were added: Popularity, Recency, and VideoResolution. Entity types provide more detail about the type of request the user is making. In addition to including documentation for these new entity types, the documentation was updated to include entity types that were previously missing: (Channel, Episode, Director, ProductionCompany, and App.)
July 27, 2020 Doc navigation. Some documentation updates were made. VSK for Fire TV and VSK for Echo Show were split off into their own navigation, making them easier to view and navigate. Utterances were moved from the certification step to an Utterances Reference for easier navigation, with a Utterances Overview included as well to clarify different aspects of the utterances. Additionally, the list of supported utterances across every locale was updated with the latest confirmed implemented utterances in natural language understanding algorithms that Alexa uses. Versions were also listed for utterances.
May 21, 2020 es-MX beta. Support for video skills in es-MX (Spanish localized for Mexico) entered public beta. For more details, see Supported Countries.
May 13, 2020 en-AU support. Support for video skills in Australia (en-AU) entered public beta. For more details, see Supported Countries.
Mar 22, 2020 New Sample App. Released a new sample app that incorporates the VSK. For more details, see Step 2: Set Up the Sample Fire TV App for details, or go directly to the GitHub repo at sample-fire-tv-app-video-skill. Documentation related to the new sample app was also updated.
Feb 14, 2020 hi-IN support. Support for video skills in Hindu-speaking India (hi-IN) launched. For more details, see Supported Countries
Nov 23, 2019 Portal update. Developer Portal 1.1 Self-service Portal Release launched. For more details, see the section Developer Portal 1.1 Self-service Portal Release below.
Nov 12, 2019 fr-CA support. Support for video skills in French-speaking Canada (fr-CA) launched. For more details, see Supported Countries.
Nov 7, 2019 es-ES support. Support for video skills in Spain (es-ES) launched. For more details, see Supported Countries.
Oct 31, 2019 en-IN support. Support for video skills in India (en-IN), Japan (ja-JP), Italy (it-IT), and France (fr-FR) locales launched. Support for video skills in Spain (es-ES) entered public beta. For more details, see Supported Countries.
Oct 25, 2019 Auto-pairing. Options for self-service auto-pairing launched in the video skill configuration screens in the Alexa console. Documentation updates around this feature are still pending.
Sept 20, 2019 Alexa Client Library 1.4.5. Alexa Client Library version 1.4.5 released. This version supports a new interface called Alexa.KeypadController, which provides directives for scrolling and selection.
Sept 20, 2019 KeypadController interface. Documentation for Alexa.KeypadController Interface. This interface sends a SendKeystroke directive when users say scrolling and selection utterances.
Sept 15, 2019 Discovery documentation. Documentation for Alexa.Discovery Interface (FTV) and Alexa.Discovery Interface (MM). The Discovery interface sends a Discover directive to your Lambda to find out what capabilities your video skill supports. Based on the response, Alexa then sends directives related to your supported capabilities.
June 28, 2019 de-DE beta. Beta support for video skills in Germany (de-DE) launched. For more details, see Supported Countries.
June 27, 2019 en-CA support. Support for video skills in Canada (en-CA) launched. For more details, see Supported Countries.
May 2, 2019 en-GB support. Support for video skills in the UK (en-GB) launched. Support for video skills in India entered public beta. For more details, see Supported Countries.
May 2, 2019 Public doc release. First public documentation for VSK for Fire TV Apps released. Previously, this documentation was in a private Github repository. Also, to consolidate device implementation docs for video skills, the Echo Show docs were moved here.

For updates related to the Alexa Client Library, see Alexa Client Library Release Notes.

VSK Developer Portal 1.1 Self-service Portal Release Notes

Dev Portal 1.1 simplifies the manual backend configuration that field engineers had to do to pair video skills with Fire TV apps. With this release, when you configure your video skill, you can select a Fire TV app to pair with your video skill all on your own, without involving field engineers.

The release adds a new section on the video skill configuration in the Alexa Console called "4. Fire TV Support":

New section added in video skill configuration in Alexa Console
New section added in video skill configuration in Alexa Console

This section lets you choose the Fire TV app associated with your video skill.

Although the changes in the video skill UI are minimal, enabling auto-pairing required a host of other changes as a result. Much of the documentation has been updated. The following updates were made:

Changes to the Lambda code

  • Previously, there was a basic Lambda function used for a quick start, and another Lambda function used when you start customizing the Lambda code with your skill. To simplify the configuration, there's now just one Lambda. (The basic Lambda that you previously pasted into the editor has been removed.) The Lambda previously contained in the sample-nodejs-vsk-with-adm.zip project is now the only Lambda you need to work with. Also, this project was renamed to firetv-lambda.zip.
  • The ADM registration ID is now retrieved automatically in the Lambda code. There's no need to initially hard-code the registration ID in the Lambda code and then later replace the code with a more automated method after auto-pairing.
  • To upload your Lambda code into Lambda in AWS, you now always generate a Lambda deployment package (zip file). You no longer paste code into the Lambda function editor.
  • The Lambda was updated to show the directive name in the first line of the CloudWatch logs. This helps you more easily identify the directive your Lambda receives.
  • A section of the endpoint code from the Discover.Response payload is no longer needed:
    "endpointId": "VSKTV",
           "description": "VSKTV is the default device used for video skills developed for Fire TV integrations",
           "friendlyName": "VSKTV",
           "manufacturerName": "Amazon"
    

Changes to the sample app:

  • In the sample app, the Alexa Client Manager enables Alexa immediately. This line, previously commented out, is now active: clientManager.setAlexaEnabled(true);.
  • In the sample app, when the Alexa Client Library is initialized, the skill stage is set to AlexaClientManager.SKILL_STAGE_DEVELOPMENT. Only after your skill passes Live App Testing and certification do you update this to AlexaClientManager.SKILL_STAGE_LIVE.
  • The sample app's version of the Alexa Client Library updated to 1.4.5.

Changes to processes:

  • Many of the previous instructions related to auto-pairing were removed.
  • When you create your video skill, you will do the bare minimum at the start — just getting the video skill ID. You will leave the other video skill fields and sections blank. Later on in the process (step 7), you will return to complete the other fields. Most importantly, in step 7 you will complete the new video skill section: "4. Enable Fire TV Support." This section lets you pair your video skill with a specific Fire TV app.
  • More setup is required before you can test out utterances with your sample app and see logs in CloudWatch. Previously, this utterance testing was available in step 2. Now you do the utterance testing in step 8.
  • You no longer need to use the Alexa app to manually discover your video skill, nor do you need to manually pair your skill by selecting VSKTV in the Alexa app. Discovery is automatic.
  • Previously, you would see catalog results for every catalog prior to auto-pairing your app with your video skill. Now that your video skill is paired with your app much earlier in the development process, you see only catalog results for the catalog associated with your video skill and catalog results for Prime video titles.
  • The sequence and order of the implementation steps has been updated, expanded, or otherwise adjusted in various places. More instructions were also added about how to go live after certification.

Alexa Client Library Release Notes

Release notes for the latest versions of the Alexa Client Library are provided below. For integration instructions, see Step 3: Integrate the Alexa Client Library.

Version 1.4.7

Released August 26, 2020

  • Removed Dagger dependency injection framework to prevent build conflicts and to not require consumers to declare it as a dependency
  • Update LWA SDK to latest to prevent build conflicts

Version 1.4.6

Released December 17, 2019

  • Enhance handling of package name to prevent cases where initialization order could cause it to be null
  • Prevent logging of package name
  • Don't resend discovery after 7 days if no relevant fields have changed

Version 1.4.5

Released August 29, 2019

  • Update discovered capabilities version for KeypadController to "version 3"
  • Only send status changed reports on status change

Version 1.4.4

Released June 12, 2019

  • Provides support for Fire OS 7. New Fire TV devices will run on Fire OS 7, so your app needs this version of the Alexa Client Library to support FOS 7 devices. Older versions of the Alexa Client Library are not compatible with FOS 7.
  • Includes fixes to bugs that will help drive a better experience to customers when using voice.
  • Enhances the security in the relationship between Alexa, Fire TV, and your application.

Version 1.4.3

Released Apr 19, 2019

  • Removed call to Build.getSerial() to prevent crashing.

Version 1.4.2

Internal release

  • Security enhancements.

Version 1.4.1

Released Feb 12, 2019

  • Fixed bug that could cause client library to retry failed events with no backoff.

Version 1.4.0

Released Oct 9, 2018

  • Starting with version 1.4.0, the client library supports international regions. The library takes into account the marketplace within which the user's Amazon account is registered, and then performs pairing with the "correct" regional Alexa endpoint based on the customer currently registered to the device.

    For this flow to work end-to-end, you must ensure that you have provided region-specific catalogs to your Amazon solution architect, or at least indicated that you would like your US catalog to also be available in specific regions. Once your skill is updated with these details, your users in international regions will be able to auto-pair and use voice with Alexa to control your app.