"Alexa, dim the lights for movie night."
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The Amazon Echo is well-known for its smart home prowess. Since the device was launched, Amazon has steadily added voice control for smart home platforms including Philips Hue, Wink, SmartThings, and Insteon.
All of those voice control smarts are powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, which is built into the Echo. When Alexa was added to the new Fire TV streaming box, fans were thrilled, but the initial release didn't include smart home control. However, a recent update has fixed that glaring oversight.
The new features can be used with the updated Fire TV, as well as the cheaper Fire TV Stick. If you opt for the Fire TV Stick without a voice remote, you can still use voice control through the Fire TV Remote App on your smartphone or tablet.
According to Amazon, you'll be able to control devices like switches and lights, just like you can with the Echo. Naturally, Amazon provides a full list of compatible products, so you can buy them all (through Amazon, of course).
Alexa also works with the incredibly powerful IFTTT "recipe" service, which helps otherwise incompatible products interact. That means you can use your Fire TV to control a vast array of online services and apps not found on Amazon's compatible devices list.
One of the most welcome side-effects of the Fire TV's newfound smart home capabilities is that you can easily add voice control to another room in your smart home. The Amazon Echo only allows for one additional Echo Remote, but at just $50 for a Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote, it's now simple and relatively affordable to bring Alexa to any room with a TV.
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