“Alexa, fast forward to the bit where it gets good already.”
That’s just one of the commands (sorta) that you’ll be able give to a new range of Toshiba TVs announced at IFA in Berlin on Thursday. Amazon’s voice assistant will enable hands-free control of the televisions, provided you have an Echo or Echo Dot smart home hub within hollering distance.
Ranging in size from 43 to 75 inches, the TVs can be commanded to turn on and off, change channel or input, fast forward and rewind or adjust the volume. The hope is that it will simplify controlling your TV, but don’t throw your remote away just yet.
Toshiba is not the first TV manufacturer to integrate Alexa voice control. Element, Westinghouse and Sony currently offer Alexa-compatible televisions in the US. Meanwhile, adding a Fire TV Stick or box to any TV will also enable some Alexa control, as will the Wi-Fi versions of the Logitech Harmony universal remote. And Amazon’s open API (application program interface) effectively means that any other manufacturer can add similar features going forward.
With voice control increasingly prevalent in TVs, manufacturers must also make sure they are fighting hard across all fronts to earn that highly prized spot in your lounge. Toshiba’s Alexa-equipped TVs also come with 4K screen technology to allow viewers to enjoy the very best viewing experience, as well as upscaling tech to make the best of lower resolution content.
Toshiba’s Alexa TV range will be available toward the end of 2017 with prices starting at 399 euros ($474).
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