Smarthome remote: Amazon Fire TV works with Echo to control smart devices

Before buying a voice remote for your Amazon Echo, consider if a Fire TV might be a good addition for your house: You can use its remote to control smarthome devices through the Echo.

Aside from reduced prices for Cyber Monday, there's another good reason to consider buying an Amazon Fire TV; particularly if you already have an Amazon Echo: You can use the Fire TV voice remote to interact with Alexa.

Engadget noticed that Amazon updated its Fire TV help page, showing that the two devices can work together.

While you can use the Fire TV voice remote for to ask Alexa for information, the bigger benefit may be the smarthome device control.

For example, I keep my Amazon Echo in my second floor home office where I interact with it dozens of times each day.

But to work with the Echo downstairs, we have to use the optional add-on of an Echo Bluetooth remote.

And we do: When we're watching television downstairs, we often change the settings of our lights throughout the home.

With a Fire TV, we could do both: Watch various online content and control our smarthome by adjusting lights, setting the thermostat temperature and more.

Amazon Fire TV with Alexa integration.png

Of course, you can use the Fire TV integration for other purposes as well: Ask for the weather or travel conditions to a certain destination, for example, and the information will appear on your television screen. You can also view Wikipedia entries, see your Shopping List, play music or audiobooks and more.

If you have, or buy, a Fire TV, you'll need Fire OS 5.0.3 or higher running on it for the Echo integrations. Amazon says it also works with the less expensive and smaller Fire TV stick, provided you have the optional voice remote accessory.

While this development makes it easier to control smarthome devices through an Echo, I'd still like to see Amazon add voice commands to the Alexa mobile app for iOS and Android.

After all, the hardware accessories are simply Bluetooth devices that route audio commands wirelessly to the Echo and Fire TV. Phones are certainly capable of doing the same if the software allows it, providing yet another option to control the home, media content and information requests.