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AVS Frequently Asked Questions

Alexa Built-in

Q: What is the Alexa Built-in badging program?
See the Alexa Built-in product page for more information.
Q: How can I get the Alexa Built-in badge for my product?
See the Alexa Built-in requirements page.
Q: How do I launch an Alexa Built-in product with AVS?
Alexa Built-in devices must be submitted to Amazon for review and certification of media services prior to commercial distribution. Music and radio services are only available for Alexa Built-in devices and for mobile companion apps used to control and play music on Alexa Built-in devices.

See the Product Testing overview for more information.

Alexa Connect Kit (ACK)

Q: What is the Alexa Connect Kit, and how do I get it?
The Alexa Connect Kit (ACK) is a way for device makers to connect devices to Alexa without worrying about managing cloud services, writing an Alexa skill, or developing complex networking and security firmware. See the Alexa Connect Kit product page for more information.

AVS Device SDK

Q: What services and functionalities are available to developers with the SDK?
The [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] provides a C++ (11 or later) interface for the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) that allows developers to add intelligent voice control to connected products. It is modular and abstracted, providing components to handle discrete functionality such as speech capture, audio processing, and communications, with each component exposing APIs that you can use and customize for your integration. It also includes a sample app, which demonstrates interactions with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS).

For more information, view the AVS Device SDK GitHub page.

Q: How will developers get the updates to the AVS Device SDK?
The updates to the [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] will be published to the AVS developer portal and GitHub. Developers registered with the AVS developer portal will be notified about the SDK updates via email. The SDK documentation includes release notes with detailed information on new features and bug fixes and the best way to incorporate them into AVS products or projects.
Q: How does the SDK enable me to use new AVS features as they roll out?
AVS SDK will provide source code to implement current and new AVS features. Developers can use the source code as is, or modify it to fit their product needs.
Q: Who is the AVS Device SDK meant for?
The [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] is meant for all commercial device makers looking to integrate Alexa into their connected products. The SDK is available for these platforms: Raspberry Pi, macOS, Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS, Windows 64-bit, Android, and iOS (cross-compile).
Q: Is it mandatory for an AVS developer to use the entire SDK to develop device software?
No, it's not mandatory to use the entire SDK to develop device software. We understand that you have existing software architectures for your device that need to coexist with the Alexa integration. The [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] is designed in a way that you can either use it in entirety or use the modules that you need for your product.
Q: Does the SDK include support for third-party wake word engines, such as Sensory and
Yes. The [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] provides the necessary abstractions to make it easy to use any licensed wake word engine, including the ones from Sensory and
Q: Will SDK include support for third-party audio front ends such as Conexant and Sensory?
Yes. The [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] provides the necessary abstractions to make it easy to use any Audio Front End, including the ones from Conexant and Sensory.
Q: What are the targeted Linux and C++ frameworks for the AVS Device SDK? How is portability built in to the SDK?
The [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] uses C++ 11 and supports all generic Linux distributions. The SDK’s use of C++ 11 is the primary enabler for portability to different platforms. Additionally, the SDK provides an abstracted transport layer to ease the porting to different libraries. The Capability Agent API abstracts the platform-specific code from the SDK (e.g. audio player). All modules will have documented APIs which ease the replacement of these components with custom implementations.

Alexa Flash Briefings

Q: How are Alexa Flash Briefings sent?
Alexa Flash Briefings are sent by a SpeechSynthesizer.Speak directive and then the audio content is played via AudioPlayer.Play directives.
Q: Alexa says, "Here is your Flash Briefing from ," but the audio content doesn't play. Why?
If you're seeing this behavior in the Alexa app, go to your account, and make sure there is at least one active news source within Settings > Flash Briefing.

If you're seeing this behavior in your custom implementation, it's possible your implementation of AudioPlayer.Play isn't correct. See the AudioPlayer overview or AudioPlayer API reference for more information.

Another possibility is that you're not correctly parsing the data from the multipart stream.

Finally, you can check whether you're sending SpeechStarted and SpeechFinished events.

Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit (AMA)

Q: What is the Alexa Mobile Accessory kit, and how do I get it?
For more information, see the AMA overview.


Q: What is the certification process for AVS, and where do I find testing guidelines?
See the Product Testing Overview page for more information.

Cloud-based wake word verification

Q: What is a false wake?
A false wake is any utterance that unintentionally wakes an AVS product.
Q: What is the customer experience after Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification is implemented?
Customers will see the device initially light up. However, when it is determined to be a false wake, the StopCapture directive instructs the device to close the audio stream and turn off the blue light immediately.

Code-based linking

Q: I'm having an issue with code-based linking. Where can I find more information?
See the Code Based Linking guide for information.

Display cards

Q: Do I need to render all the JSON data received? 
You must render all the JSON data in line with the UX Design Guidelines and templates. This will ensure a consistent user experience across all Alexa products.
Q: Do I have to render every supported Display Card on my AVS product?
We encourage screen-based AVS products to render all available Display Cards, but you are not required to do so.
Q: Should I implement Display Cards even if my product doesn’t support music?
Even if your product doesn’t support music, there are other Display Card options for screen-based AVS products like to-do list, shopping list, calendar, Q&A and weather. These cards enhance the overall Alexa experience of your product and add more context to the responses.
Q: What are the screen types supported by Display Cards?
We have published the UX Design Guidelines and templates for TVs and tablets. Between these two screen types, you can cover a wide gamut of use-cases for different screen sizes and user interactions.
Q: If I build Display Cards and render them on my AVS product, will they appear in the Amazon Alexa App?
The Display Cards that you build for your AVS product will not appear in the Alexa app. However, the Alexa app will render similar data in a visual card that is optimized for the Alexa app.
Q: Will the updates to the API, template, or JSON payload be backwards compatible?
The API itself is versioned, and any template, JSON payload or data updates will be backwards compatible. We will be updating Display Cards for Alexa to support new domains, card templates, and additional data over time. When we do, we will update our documentation and communicate changes to you through appropriate channels. While we encourage you to take advantage of new capabilities, you won’t necessarily need to make changes to your device software as Amazon makes updates.


Q: How do I get started with AVS?
Start by reading [Getting Started with AVS][avs-getting-started], which details how to call the Alexa Voice Service cloud API from your device.
Q: What does my product need to integrate with AVS?
You can add AVS to any device with a microphone, a speaker, and an internet connection. Learn more about supported implementations with Audio Hardware Configurations.
Q: What can customers do with AVS on my product today?
Alexa includes access to information, music, audiobooks, news, weather, traffic and more, including any custom skills you create to differentiate your device using the Alexa Skills Kit. Today, your customers can:
  • Ask their device all kinds of questions, like math problems or facts about famous people, dates and places
  • Stay informed on the news with Flash Briefing, a customizable news feed that includes podcasts and headlines from sources like ABC News, Good Morning America, Fox Sports and more…
  • Play and buy music by artist, song, album or genre from Amazon Music
  • Explore Prime Music, which provides unlimited, ad-free access to over a million songs, hundreds of playlists and personalized stations – free with Amazon Prime
  • Enjoy podcasts, music and live radio from iHeartRadio
  • Listen to their favorite podcasts and live radio stations from TuneIn
  • Listen to audiobooks from Audible using their Audible or Kindle Unlimited subscription
  • Add items to their To-Do and Shopping lists
  • Get traffic updates for their daily commute
  • Check the weather in their home town or in other locations around the world
  • Access millions of Wikipedia articles
  • Check appointments or weekend plans in Google Calendar
  • Listen to jokes
  • Play Simon Says
  • Hunt for fun Easter Eggs, like "Alexa, I am your father"
  • Set voice triggers for recipes created in If This Then That (IFTTT)
  • Access new capabilities that you and other developers create using the Alexa Skills Kit
  • Use the free Alexa companion app (available on Fire OS, Android, iOS and desktop browsers) to easily manage music, shopping lists, To-Do lists and more.
  • Set timers and alarms.
  • Control volume, media playback (for example: Amazon Music, Audible, TuneIn, iHeartRadio), as well as manage timers and alarms using the Amazon Alexa app.
  • Get the latest scores and schedules for your favorite sports teams.
Q: Which smart home devices are supported by AVS-enabled products?
AVS customers can now control supported Wink, SmartThings and Insteon enabled devices. For a list of supported products, see Alexa Smart Home. For information about building your own skill, see Smart Home Skill API.


Q: What type of HTTP protocol connection does AVS support?
The Alexa Voice Service exposes an HTTP/2 endpoint and supports cloud-initiated directives, which allow you to access Alexa's built-in capabilities, such as timers and alarms, media transport controls, voice-controlled volume adjustment, and Amazon Alexa app integration. See Manage an HTTP/2 Connection with AVS for more information.


Q: Do AVS features vary by region?
Yes. AVS offers language and region-specific services to developers. See a high-level feature matrix on the AVS for International page.
Q: Do you have sample code available that demonstrates support for localization?
Yes, the [AVS Device SDK][avs-device-sdk] includes support for localization. Locale is configurable in the Sample App through the AlexaClientSDKConfig.json.
Q: Do the code changes simply retrieve and replace the AVS endpoint, or are there additional changes involved?
Besides updating endpoints, if you want to allow the user to change their language, you need to support the new SettingsUpdated event. For additional information, see Preparing for Internationalization.
Q: What happens when an end user travels to an unsupported region with an AVS device registered in the UK, Germany, India, Japan, or US?
Once an end user has registered their product in a supported country or region, the device will work in any unsupported region. However, the device will only be able to access localized content from where the device is registered.
Q: Are languages restricted by endpoint?
No. US English, UK English, and German are available on both US and EU AVS endpoints.
Q: Should users located outside of supported locales be allowed to use the service?
No, partners should implement logic in their OOBE to enforce supported locale restrictions. Further, the Amazon Alexa mobile application is not available for download in unsupported regions.


Q: What audio format do I need to support to enable SiriusXM on my device?
To enable SiriusXM, your product must support the following audio format:
  • Streaming Format: HLS
  • Container: ADTS
  • Playlist extension: m3u8
  • Codec Format: AAC LC, HE-AAC
  • Bit Rates: 256Kbps (AAC LC), 23/64/96Kbps (HE-AAC)
Q: My Alexa Built-in product already passed music certification—do I need to re-certify my product to support SiriusXM?
Yes, you will need to submit your device for certification to SiriusXM. Contact your Amazon representative for certification support or submit a request for certification here.
Q: Are all SiriusXM subscriptions available for streaming through Amazon Alexa?
No. Not all SiriusXM subscription packages allow for internet streaming. As of June 2017, streaming on Alexa is supported for the following packages:
  • SiriusXM All Access trial or paid subscription
  • SiriusXM subscriptions with streaming add-on
  • SiriusXM Internet Radio subscriptions

Smart Home device discovery

Q: Can I use an AVS built-in device to discover and control an IoT device, such as a Smart Home lightbulb?
Not at this time. Currently, only cloud-based discovery is supported by AVS. A custom Alexa Built-in device can discover devices via cloud-based discovery, but for now smart home device control won't work without an an Echo device.

If you discover the smart home device using an Echo, then you can control it using AVS. For more information, see Connect Smart Home Devices to Alexa or Forum Issue 45662.

SSL configuration

Q: I'm having an issue with my SSL configuration file. Is there a reference available?
See here for a reference ssl.cnf file (replacing country, state, locality with your respective info).


Q: What my client sends a SpeechRecognizer.Recognize event, an HTTP/2 500 status response is returned and I see this error "…Error reading entity from input stream…". Why?
Here are some things to try:
  1. Make sure that there aren't any non-UTF-8 characters in your HTTP request.
  2. Make sure that the SynchronizeState event and the Recognize event contexts should have all client component states.

See the Recognize reference or this Forum issue for more information.

Server-initiated messages

Q: What server-initiated messages are sent to AVS clients?
The only server initiated messages sent to Alexa Voice Service clients are some directives from the Alerts namespace, and interactions from the Alexa App.

Using AVS products in non-approved/approved territories

Q: What are the approved territories that I can use Alexa in?
Alexa can only be made available in the territories mentioned in the Approved Territories section of this page. While developers are free to distribute their devices globally, they must ensure that Alexa is only made available and marketed for sale in an Approved Territory.

Web and mobile integration

Q: How do I integrate AVS into websites and mobile applications?
See the AVS API overview for the AVS capabilities and requirements. Use this as a starting point for your custom implementation.

You can also leverage the AVS Device SDK for C++ as a reference implementation.