Verizon Announces Alexa Fios Integration for Cable TV Service
Verizon has announced Alexa Fios integration for its cable TV service. Comcast’s Xfinity cable TV service has included a voice remote capabilities since 2015 and DISH announced Google Assistant integration for 2018 so it was only a matter of time before Verizon added voice interaction features. Comcast chose to build its own voice assistant tailored to the entertainment viewing experience. Verizon decided to use Alexa which ties the company to a very popular consumer product that commands over 70% smart speaker market share today. The announcement, buried in a Fios forum discussion, states:
“We’ve teamed with Amazon to enhance the Fios TV viewing experience. Starting today, customers can use their Alexa-enabled devices to voice command and control their Fios Video Media Server (VMS) multi-room DVR set-top boxes (STB.
“When using Alexa with broadcast networks, it’s as easy as saying “Alexa, change to BRAVO” (a personal favorite.) Similar commands apply to fast-forwarding, rewinding, pausing and more. The icing on the cake is the ability to search by title, genre, actor or category.”
Going for Deeper Alexa Fios Integration
Set-up is done through the Alexa app. It is not clear whether the Alexa integration goes as deep as what Comcast offers, but this is a big win for Amazon. Set-top box integration bypasses the television altogether and overcomes an advantage of Google in that so many TV’s run Android OS and an easy onramp to Google Assistant. The integration offers a meaningful advantage of adopting Alexa over Google for families that use Verizon Fios. Verizon may offer Google Assistant integration in the future, but it is important for Amazon to have position in television today.