Alexa Fast Tips Friday: Mail Bag

It’s once again time for a Love My Echo Mail Bag post, sharing the questions readers are writing in to ask and my responses to them.

 

Got Some Splainin To Do

 

Q: Is this the right platform for suggesting Amazon Echo and Alexa product ideas?
No. Love My Echo is not an Amazon site, and I do not work for Amazon. However, Amazon has left a standing invitation for Alexa users to offer feedback via the Contact Us form in the Alexa app, and they really do read all of those messages and prioritize new products and changes to existing ones based on how many customers are asking for a given thing. Go to the Help & Feedback page in the Alexa mobile app or the web version of the Alexa app— you can access it at https://alexa.amazon.com — and fill out the form to submit your ideas and suggestions.

 

Q: Will Amazon ever sell the first-generation Echo again?
Doubtful. The first-generation version is no longer listed for sale on Amazon’s US or UK sites (with the exception of refurbished EchosUK readers click here), and all current Amazon product pages, images and marketing materials for Echo refer only to the second-generation Echo and the new Echo Plus.

 

Q: I heard I can control my TV with an Alexa device. Is that true?
It depends. In the US the Sony 4K HD Smart TV will be receiving Alexa support as a built-in feature via a software update that’s coming soon, and support has been there for other TVs for a while with the Logitech Harmony remote (UK readers click here) and Anymote (not available in the UK). There’s also a DISH TV skill, which controls the cable box but not necessarily the TV itself. Amazon’s own Fire TV devices can also accept Alexa commands, and they do it natively, without having to enable any separate Alexa skill.

As for other television sets and cable boxes, it seems like smart home is the wave of the future and the new normal for any TVs to be released in the future. Just as HD image quality went from being a nice-to-have luxury to a standard feature, the new standard for television sets is the “smart TV”. If you already own a television that’s classified as “smart”, meaning it can accept voice commands and receive software updates, it’s possible Alexa support will be coming via a software update but there’s no guarantee. Older television sets won’t be able to join the Alexa party because they don’t meet the minimum hardware and software requirements.

 

Q: Why can’t I control my Sirius XM account with Alexa? I thought Sirius XM was supported.
Sirius XM is supported, but only for All Access premium (paid) accounts.

 

Q: Where can I print out a complete list of all Alexa skills?
To my knowledge such a thing doesn’t exist and is never likely to, since there are over 23,400 Alexa skills as of this writing (in Amazon’s US Alexa skill store) and new ones are published every day. That would be a very long list!

 

Q: Can you help me set up my device, deal with technical issues, or assist with my Amazon account issue?
No. Again, this is not an Amazon site and I don’t work for Amazon, but you can get Amazon tech support to call you. Go to the Help & Feedback page in the Alexa mobile app or the web version of the Alexa app— you can access it at https://alexa.amazon.com — and fill out the form, then use the Contact Us option to have someone from Amazon call you.

 

Q: Where can I view a list of all the devices that have Alexa built in, or all the Alexa-compatible devices?
Amazon provides a page on its US site that lists all of its own Alexa devices, as well as non-Amazon devices with Alexa built in. In the UK, an Amazon site search on “Alexa built in” provides a listing of such devices available in the UK store. These are all devices that don’t require purchase or use of a separate Alexa device like a Dot or Echo, they have Alexa functionality built in.

Amazon also has a page on its site (UK readers click here) that lists all Alexa-compatible smart home devices.

 

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I’ve added my voice to the chorus of consumers and tech reviewers who feel the first generation Echo’s sound quality is superior to that of the new, second generation Echo. If you’ve held off on getting an Echo or purchasing a second one while awaiting the release of the second-gen model, you might want to hurry up and get your order in for a refurbished, first-generation Echo (UK readers click here) because once they’re gone, they’re gone: Amazon no longer manufactures the first-generation Echo. They’re going at a deep discount too, currently priced at $89.99.

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