Channel Surf with Alexa’s New Video Skill API

Last week, Amazon introduced the Video Skill API which allows third-party developers to turn Alexa into a voice-remote for video services. Per the Alexa blog:

“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.”

Alexa, Entertain Me

I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that the Video Skill API is being rolled out a few weeks before the Echo Show ships. This new feature will allow developers to take full advantage of having a screen on the Amazon Alexa-enabled device. It will also allow Amazon to stay in the home entertainment race against Google, as Google Home already has native voice controls for Netflix and YouTube. Entertainment companies are already leveraging the new feature according to the blog, like DISH network, NetGem and YouView. Last month, DISH became the first television provider to give users the ability to navigate and digest content through Alexa-voice controls. Given the popularity of Alexa devices, I expect other entertainment services to soon follow, making the remote a thing of the past.