Alexa has many skills and TV control is very much among them. However, what she can achieve will be largely down to the Amazon hardware (or other Alexa-enabled devices) you possess.
Unfortunately, Alexa isn’t magic and if you only own an Echo speaker, Alexa cannot control your TV. You will need at least a Fire TV Stick (all versions bar the first generation) but you’ll get the most control if you have a Fire TV Cube or a Fire Edition TV.
Later generations of the Fire TV Stick come with an Alexa remote control, which means you can press and hold the microphone button to bark your commands at her.
These are some of the things you can say:
- Alexa, watch The Grand Tour (or any other show on Prime Video)
- Alexa, play The Morning Show on Apple TV Plus
- Alexa, play horror movies
- Alexa, show me action movies on Netflix
- Alexa, search for Joe Wicks on YouTube
- Alexa, open YouTube
- Alexa, show me Tom Cruise movies on [app name]
Obviously, for any videos on services that aren’t Amazon Prime Video, you will need a current subscription, have the app installed and be logged in on your account for Alexa to be able to find and play those titles.
Disney+ is the latest streaming service to arrive on Fire TV devices.
Note that the YouTube app is only available on Fire TV devices, not on the Echo Show.
When watching a video, you can control playback with Alexa:
- Alexa, play
- Alexa, pause
- Alexa, go back 30 seconds
- Alexa, stop
- Alexa, next episode
- Alexa, go home
If you have a Fire Edition TV or Fire TV Cube, you can control more, including the volume, switch HDMI input and also change live TV channels. Those with a Fire TV Cube can only control supported set-top boxes, and in the UK, that list is extremely limited. You might find, though, that there is an Alexa Skill for your streaming device or set-top box that allows you to control the box.
Link your Echo with your Fire TV
If pressing and holding the mic button on your Alexa remote is simply too much hassle for you, then one option is to pair an Echo speaker with your Fire TV and use the Echo’s hands-free Alexa to control your Fire TV.
Note that the Fire TV Cube offers hands-free Alexa anyway, being a combination of Echo and Fire TV in one box. It also allows you to use Alexa to navigate virtually anywhere in the interface without the remote control. For more, read our Fire TV Cube review.
To link an Echo with a Fire TV, open the Alexa app on your phone, tap Settings and then scroll down to TV & Video.
Tap on Fire TV (if you have only one of them) and follow the instructions in the app. Finally tap Link Your Alexa Device and then you can use any of the commands listed above with Alexa on your Echo.
In the UK, you can also enable Skills to control the following devices:
- Sony Android TV
- Nvidia Shield TV
- Panasonic TV (certain models)
- Netgem TV
- YouView (Humax boxes)
- VSmart TV
- VIDAA Voice
- BT TV boxes
- TalkTalk TV boxes
Use CEC to make your TV switch to the Fire TV’s input
Most TVs support HDMI CEC, a function that automatically switches to a device when it turns on. Ensure this option is enabled by using your TV remote and looking through the menu settings.
On your Fire TV, go to Settings > Display & Sound and then ensure HDMI CEC Device Control is ON. Then, when you turn on your Fire TV by pressing the home button on the remote control, your TV should turn on and switch to the HDMI input that the Fire TV is connected to.
For more, check out 100 funny things to ask Alexa.