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Amazon is opening up Alexa voice commands to other video services

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If they implement it

Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

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.

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. Though only a few services have added Alexa integration, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why Netflix, Hulu, or other popular services could add it as well, so this might get more interesting in the future.