Post Publication Date: 11/27/18 – Those wizards at Amazon have been busy! This month they rolled out three new Alexa features: Pandora Premium support, Wake on LAN support and the new Alexa for PC Windows app.
Up until this upgrade Alexa device owners could only access the standard, free Pandora service from their devices, even if they subscribe to Pandora Premium. That meant no support for playing full albums or accessing Pandora Premium playlists.
With this update, Pandora Premium subscribers can stream their content through Amazon Alexa devices and third-party Alexa speakers that support Pandora (check the Alexa app under Alexa Preferences > Music to see which services are supported in your region). It’s now also possible to set Pandora as your default music service in the Alexa app.
Wake on LAN (WOL) Support
This is the feature that makes it possible for Alexa to turn non-Alexa devices that are connected to your home network, like television sets or home theater components, off and on using Alexa voice commands. For consumers, there’s no skill to enable and no need to buy a new Alexa device, but availability is up to the manufacturers of those non-Alexa devices because WOL is a feature they must add to their devices.
As of this writing, recent-model VIZIO, Hisense and LG TVs support WOL, plus of course all Fire edition smart TVs, and it appears to be one of those things that’s rapidly becoming standard in new television sets. You might be surprised to find your existing TV supports it as well: my 2012 model year Insignia TV offers WOL support by default, and I can now ask Alexa to turn that TV off or on.
If your TV is “smart” enough to support WiFi connectivity, Alexa should be able to discover it and add it to your list of devices in the Alexa app (go to Settings > Device Settings > Add (plus sign icon) to help Alexa find your device).
If you’re shopping for a new TV, receiver or similar network-aware device, if WOL is available it should be listed in product specifications for the device.
Click here to view LG’s help topic about WOL.
Click here to view Vizio’s help topic about WOL (scroll down to Power on Voice section). Vizio only claims to support WOL in their TVs released in 2016 or later.
Hisense includes details of WOL support in its user guides, which are available online in PDF format. Search on “Hisense TV user manual” plus the model number if you know it.
Alexa for PC
Owners of Windows 10 PCs can now add the Alexa Windows app to bring most Alexa functionality to their computers, whether they own a separate Alexa device or not. From Amazon:
The Alexa app for PC supports most of Alexa’s features and skills.
You can just ask Alexa to control your smart home devices, check calendars, create shopping lists, answer questions, read the news, set timers and more.
To check for the latest features and skills, open the Alexa app for PC menu, and then select Things to Try.
Tip: For more information about Alexa for PC features and compatibility, go to Amazon’s Alexa for PC page.
The Alexa for PC app is for Windows 10 devices is now available in the Windows Store in the U.S., U.K., and Germany. Support for more regions will be added in 2019.
Click here to view Amazon’s help topic about Alexa for PC on its US site. It appears the corresponding help pages on Amazon’s UK and Canadian sites haven’t been published yet.
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