This past summer Amazon rolled out its slick and boxy little Fire TV Cube; the device was notable because it combined Fire TV streaming with the Alexa digital voice assistant. Amazon is now expanding the capabilities of that device with Alexa now being able to navigate around inside apps allowing owners to use their voice to do things like select Netflix profiles, move up and down or move left or right inside menus, and to select items.
You may never need to pick up the remote again; anyone who tends to lose remote controls frequently will appreciate this option. The feature has been rolling out over the last few weeks, and that rollout happened without fanfare. Amazon says all Fire TV Cubes had access to the feature about a week ago.
Amazon says that it enabled Alexa voice control inside apps due to customer feedback; it says that feedback gave it a deeper understanding of customers, and they wanted to be able to use their voice to control more of the Fire TV home screen. Inside apps like Netflix and Hulu users can say “Alexa, go up,” “Alexa, move right,” or “Alexa, scroll down.” An Amazon spokesperson said that users could think of the new functionality like a “d-pad for your voice.”
Alexa voice navigation is supported in lots of apps that run on the Fire TV Cube, including Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, HBO Now, FOX Now, FXNow, ABC, FilmStruck, Boomerang, Tubi TV, Red Bull TV, Cartoon Network, and The CW. Amazon also notes that support for voice control with additional apps will be added regularly. While some might see this as a feature that has little value, there could be great value in this for those with limited control of their hands or poor eyesight.