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Alexa’s New Voice-Controlled Logitech Harmony Makes Home Entertainment Setup Easier

By Edge Ison , Oct 26, 2016 06:43 AM EDT
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Alexa, Amazon's AI assistant, can now set up users' home entertainment systems with one simple command.

Amazon's voice-controlled personal assistant now works with Logitech's Harmony Hub, enabling users to control their home entertainment devices using just their voice. Using Alexa on an Amazon Echo, Dot, or other devices, users can control their televisions and change channels by issuing simple commands such as "Alexa, turn on the TV" or "Alexa, turn on Netflix."

Apart from starting Harmony activities, Alexa can now also be programmed to fire up a specific pre-arranged sequence involving the users' entertainment and home automation devices. Using Logitech's Activities, a user can say something like "Alexa, turn on my evening activity" and the bot will lower the blinds, dim the lights, turn the TV on, and switch the channel to HBO. All of these will be done according to a predetermined sequence.

While third-party skills that allow users control over Harmony activities have long existed, they have often required awkward phrases or complicated instructions. And while voice-controlled bots are already in many smart TVs and other audio visual devices from Samsung, LG, Google, and other tech manufacturers, Logitech's Harmony is the only one that will work with almost any home entertainment device, and even with some smart home products such as Philips Hue Lights and Nest's smart bulbs and fixtures.

Setting up Alexa Logitech Harmony skill is as easy as going to the Smart Home section of the Alexa app and selecting "Harmony". A Harmony Hub-based remote device is required for this skill to be enabled. For existing users, the feature is a free update.

Alexa may also be used in Amazon Music Unlimited , the company's answer to Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music.

According to Engadget, Alexa support will be rolled out in the U.S. sometime this week. It will be made available n the U.K. sometime in the coming months.

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