Alexa’s ability to control DVRs is going to improve in the near future. Amazon announced today that it’s updated its Video Skill API so that Alexa can now start recordings, launch an app, or carry out playback commands. Multiple set-top box makers already have Alexa skills, including Dish, Verizon, TiVo, and DirecTV. They’ll be updating their skills, Amazon says, and some have already been experimenting with these new features.
Users will be able to say things like, “Alexa, record the Cubs game,” and the set-top box will plan a recording. They’ll also be able to tell the assistant to launch specific apps or services, like, “Alexa, launch Netflix.” Finally, they’ll be able to say, “Alexa, pause,” without having to explicitly name their set-top box. Some users have previously been able to use these commands, but the developers of these skills had to do additional work on their end to make it work. Now, other developers can implement them more easily. We can all shout at Alexa, even if our set-top box maker doesn’t want to do extra work. Anything that makes interactions with Alexa less painful is cool with me!