TiVo Alexa control goes live this week

Chris Davies - May 14, 2018, 12:54 pm CDT
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TiVo Alexa control goes live this week

TiVo is getting Amazon Alexa integration, allowing voice control of changing channels, skipping commercials, and more. The support for Amazon’s assistant is rolling out to boxes this week, TiVo says, allowing anybody with a TiVo BOLT, Roamio, or Premiere to link their DVR with a supported Echo device.

That includes the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, or Echo Plus, TiVo says. Once the TiVo skill for Alexa is enabled, many of the features usually controlled with the DVR’s remote can be accessed by voice, instead. For instance, you can say “Alexa, watch CNN” and have the box automatically switch to that channel. Alternatively, you can ask for a specific channel by number.

TiVo’s support for third-party streaming apps can also be managed by voice, too. For example, you can say “Alexa, open Netflix” or “Alexa, open Prime Video” and have that load up. Of course, after that point you’re probably going to have to pick up the remote control to actually navigate through Netflix or Prime Video’s interface.

If shows are SkipMode enabled – certain content that supports commercial skipping on recorded shows – then Alexa can jump past the adverts, too. Even without that, there’s voice control over the basic navigation commands. You can play, pause, fast-forward, or skip back eight seconds with the “previous” instruction, all by voice. “Alexa, fast forward again” will increase the speed of the navigation, too.

Alexa can also open up the channel guide, and open the TiVo Home screen. Some commands will need “on TiVo” appended, mind, since the basics like “Play” and “Pause” could be confused with other Alexa skills.

Right now, there’s no sign of a TiVo with native Alexa support baked in. Still, it’s not hard to imagine something like that being in consideration. If it happens, however, it won’t be TiVo actually building the box. The company confirmed in its recent financial results call that it had finalized its transition out of the hardware manufacturing business.

Instead, it has signed a deal with “a major device manufacturer” that will be responsible for building new TiVo DVRs and handling most of the retail sales channels. Any boxes TiVo sells through its own site will be produced by that manufacturer.


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