Support for Alexa will extend back to Vizio TVs from 2016 which use the SmartCast platform.The march towards voice integration for household devices continues and US TV maker Vizio has announced that its SmartCast based TV models will now have improved support for Amazon’s Alexa leading to what the company says will be “a better user experience through enhanced voice control functionality.”
Up until now, the range of functions Alexa could be asked to perform was limited to powering TVs on or off, switching inputs and pausing/playing programmes - all very useful of course.
However, the Smartcast update brings enhanced functionality meaning that it is now possible to search for specific programmes, browse content to look for new films and shows, and launch certain apps - all with a voice command. The good news is that this isn’t just for owners of brand new Vizio TV sets, support will go back to SmartCast models from 2016 too.
Once the TV has been paired with an Echo device and the Vizio’s Alexa skill enabled, viewers can search for movies or shows by title, genre, or cast members simply by saying, for example, ‘Alexa, find the show The Office." SmartCast then displays pricing and video formats across multiple apps, helping users find the right content at the right price.
If viewers are looking for something new but are only have a specific genre or actor in mind, they can search for specific categories such as Comedies, Documentaries or films starring the actor in question. Additionally, apps for services such as Hulu or Prime Video can be opened using a vocal instruction for a more intuitive and hands-free browsing experience.
Bill Baxter, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO, explained, "At VIZIO, we are always looking for ways to enhance the entertainment experience and bring more value to our customers.” He went on, “We are thrilled to offer improved SmartCast features not only to new customers, but for current VIZIO SmartCast TV users as well. The timing couldn't be better with the excitement around fall TV premieres because the new Alexa features give viewers more ways to easily find the content they love."
Vizio is also looking to expand beyond just Alexa compatibility and soon more SmartCast TV models will also support Google Assistant, which can perform a similar array of control functions to Alexa, along with using voice commands to change picture modes and toggle closed captioning display for a more customizable entertainment experience.
Are there any US-based AVForums readers who have a SmartCast Vizio TV and who are looking forward to upgrading to the new Alexa functions? Let everyone know how you get on in the discussion thread.
Source: Press release
Image Source: Vizio
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