Controlling The Television

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JimInVA

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Our TV setup is somewhat complicated. We have Cable TV (Verizon FIOS) which feeds into Verizon's Cable Control Box. That feed is then routed to the Onkyo Audio Receiver (which allows me control of various other sources... ROKU, BlueRay, Bluetooth, etc.). I have the Universal Remote Control (came with Verizon's service) that allows me to turn on/off both the TV and the Cable Box with the push of one button. The Universal Remote also allows me to change channels... but I need the Receiver's Remote Control to take care of volume or the swap inputs. And then, if I swap to the ROKU, I need the Roku's Remote Control to manage that content. Darcey, unable to use her hands, is captive to my expertise in controls and my availability to actually make a change.


Yesterday, all that changed...


My new Amazon Fire Cube arrived, yesterday. I opened the box, removed the contents and read the quick start. It suggested that I hook it directly top the TV into one of its HDMI ports (cable not provided... but I had several already here). Instead, I disconnected the ROKU and plugged the Fire Cube into that HDMI cable. I then began the setup process.


I first selected the AUX port on the Receiver as that's where the Fire Cube was now connected. Powering on the Cube, it began to talk to me (there's an Alexa device in there) and displayed on the TV. The voice was coming out of the surround sound speakers as it normally would for anything else. In minutes, I had voice accessibility to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Firefox, Spotify (which should get me to YouTube... though I've not yet tried that) and a host of other free and fee based services.


Next, I began to work at adding in my Verizon FIOS TV service. I went to manage devices, add a cable source and followed the prompts to get it to recognize FIOS for my zip code area. It did take me about 15 minutes to experiment with input choices before I was finally able to get it all to work as desired (and that was only because the input names on my Receiver did not match the names used by the Fire Cube).


Now, either of us... BY VOICE ALONE... can:

  • Turn on/off the TV
  • Select the Fire Cube and its online content
  • Select any channel (by number or name) for Cable
  • Turn the volume up/down
  • Play music with Spotify
  • Ask Alexa questions or to play an Audio Book
  • And a whole slew of other tasks that we've yet to play with
Now, should I be in my office doing some work, Darcey no longer has to wait for my return to change the channel. Instead, she can say, "Alexa, tune to channel 503"... and a moment later, Ellen is playing. So very cool! :cool:


My best...


Jim
 

mpnatx

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That's fantastic Jim. I've been using my Roku, Amazon echo, and Tivo. Does the same. I would imagine that the Fire will have much more compatibility in the future.
 

MarieLaure

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Spot on a most important question. Thanks a lot
 

KimT

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I have four smart TVs. The HOA dues cover fiber optic cable and three DVR boxes. Three of the TVs have Apple TVs, Rokus and DVD players connected. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice for cable companies so it's AT&T. Everything, except the main router, is wireless. I have some Amazon Echo devices but they aren't interfaced with anything except Bose speakers. Beautiful sound and all voice activated.

I'll have to ponder your post, Jim. Right now the best feature I enjoy is being able to project anything from my iPad to the large 4K TVs via the Apple TV. For everything else I usually use the Roku.

Being able to do more with voice commands would be tempting. First, I have to call AT&T again about their slow signal. I actually paid an extra $22 a month for more juice but sometimes Internet is still a little slow or I have to reconnect to Internet on one or more device.

Thanks for your thorough explanation.
 

JimInVA

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We've been using the Amazon Fire Cube for almost a week, now. Darcey was concerned that her fading voice would not be strong enough to get Alexa's attention from 15' away with the TV sound up. But Alexa seems to pick up on her name quickly, and a brief moment later, mutes the sound that's being generated by whatever is being watched. So when Darcey continues with "Please tune to channel 513", Alexa responds with "Tuning to Cable Channel Five Hundred Thirteen, WVEC, ABC HD". No longer does Darcey need to call me in to change channels. No longer does she need to call me in to turn the volume up or down. No longer does she need me to turn the TV on or off. And at night, when I've got Darcey hanging from the Hoyer Lift as we head towards the stair chair, I say - "Alexa, turn off the TV" as I move past the family room.


Of course it still does all of the normal Alexa stuff... like adding items to my shopping list... checking the current temperature... playing a song... telling a joke... setting an alarm. YEP... WE'RE LOVING IT!



My Best!


Jim
 

mpnatx

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So glad the Fire is working so well! You can also change the command "Alexa" to "Echo". It may be easier for some to pronounce with less syllables.
 

Jrzygrl

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Just hooked up a Fire cube for DH. All hooked up with the TV, sound bar and Xfinity X1 cable.

He's been "exploring" for a couple of hours now. I also found a Fire cube forum run by Amazon. I know links are an issue, but if you Google "fire tv cube forum" you can find it.

Thanks Jim!
 

JimInVA

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Marty,


We already had an Amazon Echo... which Darcey uses to call me if I'm in another room. When I put the Fire Cube and the Echo in the same room, they'd sometimes fight each other for control. I removed the Echo but then determined that the Fire Cube couldn't make "calls". So I returned the Echo and renamed that device from "Alexa" to "Echo". So, now, Alexa controls the TV and Echo controls "dropping in" and "call" functions. Works great!


Jrzygrl,


I'm so glad that is working for the two of you as well as it has worked out for us. Sometimes technology really does make some things easier! :)


My best...


Jim
 

Jrzygrl

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Good idea on renaming one! We were talking about how to drop in. I also removed the Echo dot from the room that now has the Fire cube. Now I think I'll return it and do as you did.

Thanks again!!!!
 
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