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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Q: How do I get started with AVS?
Start by reading Getting Started with AVS, 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 Designing for AVS.
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 (e.g. Amazon Music, Audible, etc.), 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.

UK and Germany

Q: Do AVS features vary by region?
Yes. See a high-level feature matrix on the AVS for the UK and Germany page.
Q: Do you have sample code available that demonstrates support for localization?
Yes, we have updated the AVS Java Sample App. Access it on the Alexa GitHub page.
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, or US?
Once an end user has registered their product in a supported country, 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.

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 device is directed to close the audio stream and turn off the blue light immediately.
Q: What directive is issued to the device when a false wake is detected?
A StopCapture directive is issued to the device instructing it to close the audio stream and turn off the LED indicator immediately.

SiriusXM

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: LC-AAC, HE-AAC
  • Bit Rates: 256Kbps (LC-AAC), 23/64/96Kbps (HE-AAC)
Q: My Alexa-enabled 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

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.

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