If you spend a lot of time listening to music over streaming services like Spotify, Pandora or Amazon Music, chances are you're familiar with the hands-free playback that voice recognition software supports. Virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa enable people to control various home devices purely with voice commands.
While the music-playing applications of this technology continue to advance, there are plenty of other uses for it as well. That's good news for film lovers who‘ve grown tired of dealing with multiple remotes and menus just to watch their favorite movies in the comfort of their home. Here’s where voice recognition devices could drastically improve your home movie theater experience.
Virtual assistants making headway with video playback
Anyone who has an Amazon voice-assistant device like the Echo can find newfound freedom in the way they watch TV, stream music and operate their standalone media players. For example, if your cable provider supports the Alexa Video Skill app, you can sync your television or cable box to jump from channel to channel without lifting a finger. Just use any of Alexa's supported voice commands to change channels by name or number.
Do you ever struggle to wade through hundreds of channel listings to find specific variants like ESPN+ or HBO2? Voice commands save a lot of time spent tediously scrolling through an on-screen channel guide.
Other times, you might know precisely which show or movie you want to watch, but don't know what channel it's on or when it's playing. Again, Alexa comes to the rescue, allowing you to queue up specific titles or even search by actor or genre.
In today's fractured media landscape where people split their time between traditional cable services and digital streaming platforms, keeping track of what content is available on each app isn't easy. As PCMag noted, however, Alexa users can just say, "Play 'Big Trouble in Little China,'" and the virtual assistant will find the platform where John Carpenter's 1986 classic is available and queue it up.
You can even elevate your smart home experience when enjoying home theater by easily linking more compatible Amazon devices — for say, dimming the lights and closing the curtains in the room — through Amazon Scenes within the Alexa app. This ensures the mood you want to set is always right, and always easily controlled by your voice.
Combine voice recognition with high-quality wireless speakers
The one downside to relying on a virtual assistant-enabled device to play movies is the quality of the speaker. Amazon's hardware is great, but a speaker from a dedicated home theater brand is necessary to create cinema-quality audio. That's where Alexa-supported AV receivers and wireless speakers come in to complete your home audio environment.
The HEOS Home Entertainment skill includes a number of voice commands that will expand Alexa's capabilities and help you control various home theater components, without picking up a remote or getting off the couch. With your HEOS-enable device synced up with your Alexa device and the HEOS Home Entertainment skill, you can use your voice to perform the following actions:
- Switch between any number of AV receiver inputs, including DVD players, Blu-ray players or four different HDMI inputs
- Increase, decrease or mute speaker volume
- Switch back to streaming music with a simple command
New voice commands are frequently added to the HEOS Home Entertainment skill, so expect even more control over your home theater in the near future.
The perfect home theater experience blends cinema-quality audio and visual elements with the comfort and convenience of home. HEOS-enabled speakers and AV receivers bring these components together, giving you the best of both worlds.