Amazon has announced a new bundle of features for its Fire TV lineup of streaming devices and the Fire TV Omni and 4-Series TVs. To start with, we have an all-new Smart Home Dashboard that will be home to all the connected devices in your house. You will be able to check the state of everything from smart lights to plugs and switches and control them with the remote. Amazon has designed a dedicated row for smart cameras to let you quickly view feeds.
You can also mark devices as favorites and access them from the Alexa companion app. The company plans to add support for smart home Groups and Thermostats early next year.
Earlier, you needed to use voice commands to control your smart home devices via Fire TV. With this update, you will be able to see everything on the screen, something you can currently do on Amazon’s Fire tablets and Echo Show smart displays. The Smart Home Dashboard for Fire TV will be available to users in the US and Canada.
Amazon also has a new Alexa Shortcut Panel for users in the US. It offers you quick access to “smart home controls, weather, news, and your video library” at the press of a button. The Alexa Shortcut Panel appears at the bottom of the screen when you press the Alexa button on the remote.
Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Fire TV Omni and 4-Series TVs get Alexa Home Theater
Amazon is letting users wirelessly connect their Echo smart speakers to their Fire TV devices and use them as speakers for immersive sound. You can do so not just with the Fire TV Omni and 4-Series TVs but also the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max. You need to plug the latter into your TV’s HDMI eARC port. The company calls this setup Alexa Home Theater. Sound from compatible connected devices such as “cable boxes, gaming consoles, and antenna sources” is routed through this setup. Amazon has provided instructions on setting up Alexa Home Theater here.
Additionally, Amazon is also rolling out Airplay 2 and HomeKit support on Fire TV Omni and 4-Series TVs. You will now be able to stream, share, and control content such as photos, videos, and music from your iPhone, iPad, and Mac on your Fire TV. With Homekit, you can also control the volume of your TV or turn it on/off using Siri.
Lastly, Amazon says videoconferencing app Zoom will soon work on its Fire TV Omni Series. You’ll need to plug in a compatible 720p-1080p webcam and you’re all set to place and receive Zoom meetings on the big screen. You can download the Zoom app through Fire TV. Saying “Alexa, find Zoom” will take you to the setup screen. Once everything is set up, you can simply say, “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting” to get started.
Zoom support on Omni TVs will be available in the coming weeks. The rest of the features mentioned above are now rolling out to customers. They should be available to all eligible Fire TV users over the next few weeks.
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