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Amazon is making it easier for cable companies to add Alexa voice commands

  • Amazon offering all developers the opportunity to teach Alexa interface with video content and services.
  • Dish earlier offered its customers the ability to control their DVR with Alexa.
Source: Amazon

Earlier this year, Dish introduced a new feature that let customers control their DVR using Amazon's Alexa. That meant being able to search for specific shows and load up apps like Netflix, all by using voice commands via an Echo or Echo Dot. Now, Amazon is offering up the same back-end functionality to all developers. Meaning — hopefully — that a lot more cable companies will add support for Alexa voice control in the future.

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Per Amazon's blog post: "Companies can now teach Alexa how to interface with their video content and services. This means you can now build experiences that allow your customers to easily find and consume video content without invoking a specific skill. For example, a customer could say, 'Alexa, play Manchester by the Sea' without specifying a provider or device. Through the Video Skill API, Alexa is aware of video devices and services your customer has or subscribes to."

It's potentially a very handy service, and offering skills like this shows why Amazon is ahead in the race to create the most functional digital home assistant. However, not many developers have taken the company up on the offer yet — just Dish in the US, and YouView and Netgem in the UK. Perhaps cable companies don't like the idea of the Echo acting as an intermediary with their customers?