LG Adds Alexa to 3rd-Party WebOS TVs
Amazon Alexa will soon be available on a wide range of smart televisions that use LG’s webOS platform. Owners of an LG Magic Remote will be able to speak to Amazon’s voice assistant to operate the TV and use it as a hub for asking questions and controlling other smart home devices as though the TV were an Amazon smart display.
LG is sharing Alexa access through the microphone in its Magic Remote, using its ThinQ AI and voice recognition technologies to integrate the device with Alexa on the television. To awaken Alexa, as opposed to the standard voice control of the TV, users have to hold down on the Amazon Prime Video button. They can then request Alexa shift channels and volume, stream music, and open apps on the TV. Alexa can also offer recommendations for things to watch, read out news headlines, and be used through the TV to turn on lights and otherwise control smart home devices. There are half a dozen TV brands included in the deal like Advance, Blaupunkt, Eko, JSW, Manta, Polaroid, RCA, Seiki and Skytech, plus another handful of design manufacturers. The feature will be activated later this year through an over-the-air update to the TVs.
“The addition of Amazon Alexa to the long list of webOS features will enhance the user experience and boost the value of our growing smart TV ecosystem,” LG head of content services Jung Sung-hyun said in a statement. “Bringing together the capabilities of Alexa with the convenience of webOS to third-party TVs is a win-win-win for TV brands, customers and developers.”
Smart Home Talk
LG has been trying out experiments and features for all kinds of smart home devices and tools. In January, the company showed off a refrigerator that would open and close using voice commands and previously offered both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for the kitchen appliance. Early last year, LG connected everything in its smart home ecosystem to the ThinQ platform and mobile app, but that hasn’t precluded looking for ways to make existing voice assistants part of the LG world. Similarly, Amazon’s new Fire TV and Alexa remote augmented the existing service significantly, including centralizing Alexa in the experience even more. Amazon is keen to make the voice assistant easier for other manufacturers to incorporate in their products, whether it’s supporting an Alexa custom assistant or simply providing better access to Fire TV with a car designed explicitly around the streaming service platform.