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Amazon Expands Fire TV Voice Controls

Amazon’s Alexa-infused streaming media players are getting even smarter.

The retailer’s voice command-capable Fire TV set-top box and Fire TV Stick are presently receiving additional capabilities via an over-the-air update.

The new skill sets include:

• video playback control, including pause, fast forward and rewind;
• universal search expanded to over 75 apps and channels, including Netflix;
• customized content with personalized viewing recommendations for subscribed services; and
• sports updates upon request.

“We’re making it easier than ever for customers to find their favorite content with universal voice search across 75 apps and channels, and a new, simple way to see recommendations from Netflix, HBO Go and HBO Now right on the home screen,” said Marc Whitten, Amazon Fire TV VP.

Added Netflix’s Scott Mirer, device partner ecosystem VP, “We are always seeking new ways to help connect people with stories they’ll love.”

Amazon says its Fire TV is now the top-selling streaming media player in the U.S. across all retailers, and that its Fire Stick dongle sibling is the most reviewed product ever on Amazon, with over 136,000 customer reviews.

However, a Parks Associates survey from May pointed to Roku’s set-top and Sticks players as the nation’s No. 1 streaming-media players, having been purchased by 30 percent of U.S. broadband households last year. Amazon Fire TV tied with Google Chromecast for second place in the survey, having each been purchased by 22 percent of households.