Amazon to expand Fire TV voice search to third-party apps and services

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2014
Amazon on Thursday confirmed that Fire TV will add unified voice search compatibility with Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime this summer, extending the capability of the Apple TV competitor.



In AppleInsider's review of Fire TV, we noted that voice search, one of the platform's tentpole features, was held back by a distinct lack of compatibility with third-party apps and services.

To fix the issue, Amazon is working on deals with big-name content providers to integrate their full catalogs with Fire TV's unified search function, the company said. So far, the list includes music video service VEVO, Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime.

"We're excited and energized by the momentum we're seeing with Fire TV," said Amazon Devices Vice President Dave Limp. "Customers are telling us they love it, developers are building for it, and we're working hard to expand existing features and build new ones."

Voice search is one of Fire TV's major draws. The unit's remote control uses a built-in microphone to gather voice commands that are sent off for speech recognition translation in the cloud. Results are fed back to the set-top box in a roundtrip process that takes mere seconds, effectively negating the need for clunky on-screen keyboards.

Users can conduct searches from anywhere in Fire TV by pressing the remote's dedicated voice search button, but for now all returned content comes from Amazon's servers. For example, when searching for a movie available on both Netflix and Amazon, the box only display options from Amazon's store.

The company hopes to change that with the inclusion of third-party catalogs.

While the additions are a step in the right direction, Amazon has a long way to go if it intends to deliver a useful backend for what is actually a powerful feature. As it stands, voice search is just a fast and easy way to funnel customers into the company's own digital storefront. This may be great for Amazon Prime subscribers, but for those not dedicated to Amazon's ecosystem, the $99 Fire TV offers only marginal benefits over competing platforms like Apple TV and Roku.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Good, because that is a huge strike against it. I just hope it works the same way instead of each 3rd-party app requiring different commands for the same type of request.
  • Reply 2 of 12

    I'm impressed with the quality of speech recognition I've seen most new products have. I'm still remembering how bad they were in the '80s and '90s... and slow too... s l  o   w...

     

    The improvement in voice response is equally impressive.

  • Reply 3 of 12
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member

    I hope Apple blows their socks off. 

     

    Competition is good.

  • Reply 4 of 12

    I dunno. Amazon's not really known for hardware. They're best known for leaving "Amazon" branded shipping boxes at your door, which then get stolen by neighbors or passers by. Grrr...

  • Reply 5 of 12
    imemberimember Posts: 247member

    Looks another desperate attempt made by Amazon

     

    I love YouTube and Vimeo apps now that's a great implementation.. other like Amazon just do is copy and paste and adds some Siri features-like also AirPlay has Siri  

     

    iTV PrimeSense will destroy FireTv

  • Reply 6 of 12
    imemberimember Posts: 247member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pfisher View Post

     

    I hope Apple blows their socks off. 

     

    Competition is good.


    Agreed!

  • Reply 7 of 12
    The article spends half the time annoyed with what they just announced they're fixing.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    imemberimember Posts: 247member

    Please Apple add Starz Play to the box! so next time we can prevent good shows like Spartacus or Magic City from getting canceled

  • Reply 9 of 12
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,722member

    Rolling out the Fire TV with voice search only for Amazon's own content was asinine, though somewhat predictable.  Even the "fixed" version will silo voice search on a per-app basis.  What people want is to be able to simultaneously search across all content.

     

    Also predictable, they have intentionally made it difficult to search for just the free Prime content from the Fire TV, voice search or no.

  • Reply 10 of 12
    davendaven Posts: 548member

    I thought it was a novel feature when announced but then I realized I effectively have voice search on YouTube (haven't tried the others) on AppleTV when I use Apple's remote app on my iPhone. Just go to search, press the mic button, speak, press the done button and search. So basically Amazon is promising something for this summer that is already out there.... third party voice search.

  • Reply 11 of 12
    pmcdpmcd Posts: 395member
    imember wrote: »
    Looks another desperate attempt made by Amazon

    I love YouTube and Vimeo apps now that's a great implementation.. other like Amazon just do is copy and paste and adds some Siri features-like also AirPlay has Siri  

    iTV PrimeSense will destroy FireTv

    We really like our two ATV 3 devices but I must tell you that the Fire TV we've had for around a week is very neat. Apple has been hibernating with the Apple TV for so long that we just got tired of waiting. Have been in the Apple TV world since it first came out. It is very nice but it has become a bit staid. I don't know what it needs, but integration with cable companies is not the path I would have wanted ( if in fact that is happening). Maybe an App Store would be nice. Not sure. The current interface is weird and as they add more channels it gets stranger. Keep having to hide things. Something is not right with the ATV. It needs some major enhancements.

    Philip
  • Reply 12 of 12

    The company hopes to change that with the inclusion of third-party catalogs.

     

     

     

     

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