June 20, 2018Brian Crum
Amazon recently introduced Fire TV Cube, the first 4K Ultra HD streaming media player with hands-free Alexa built-in that enables customers to easily control their TV from across the room. Customers in the US can enjoy Fire TV Cube beginning June 21, with pre-orders available now. The best part for Alexa skill developers is that in addition to the tens of thousands of channels and apps available on Fire TV Cube, most skills will work as-is on Fire TV Cube, and you now have the opportunity to enhance your skill’s experience on Fire TV Cube and other Echo devices with screens.
Fire TV Cube introduces new experiences across channels, apps, and Alexa skills, all built specifically to meet customer’s home entertainment needs. Fire TV Cube is a voice-forward streaming media experience powered by Alexa that makes it easier for customers to control their entertainment system, including TVs, sound bars, A/V systems, cable boxes, and more. We already offer Echo device integrations today with TV and entertainment devices – including device controls for TVs, AV receivers, and IR hubs as part of the Smart Home Skill API, and using the expanded features of Video Skill API to enable Alexa to navigate and control video content and services. Fire TV Cube takes voice control with Alexa one step further, allowing customers to browse the home screen, navigate detail pages, launch content, and easily control their entertainment setup using just their voice.
For most skills, customers will invoke your skill the same way they do today on Echo devices:
However, if there is a Fire TV App with a similar name to your custom skill, the Fire TV App will be the default result. To invoke your custom skill in this case, a customer would need to add “skill” at the end of their skill invocation. For example:
You do not need to make any changes to your existing Alexa skills; today most skills will work as-is on the Fire TV Cube. However, a visual interface can be a great complement to a voice-first user experience. Consider enhancing your skill’s experience on Fire TV Cube and other Echo devices with screens. The screen displays and interactions are created with templates and the display interface, and you can learn best practices and find technical documentation here. If you have already enhanced your Alexa skill for screen devices, we recommend revisiting the display interface and template references for custom skills or steps to build a smart home skill to ensure you are providing the highest-quality images and video that our devices with screens support.
We can’t wait to see what you create. To learn more about developing or updating your skill, check out these resources: